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Pivot and Progress

The Microbiome Pivot


Kumar

Jan. 1, 2019

What drives Leucine Rich Bio? What is it that we really want to do?
Were the questions that kept coming back to me…
And the answer always boiled down to healthcare.

“Health care” and not “Sick care”.

When we started the company, we wanted to provide the necessary answers to solve healthcare problems. We developed databases and algorithms. We crunched data and simplified complex interactions to meaningful actionable points. All this led to our expanded capabilities of looking at complex problems in biology and we did not limit ourselves to healthcare alone. Over 4 years we processed, analysed and reported over 100 terabytes of data for customers from 10 different countries.

And then came the pivot!!

I was nervous. I had to go up to my colleagues and tell them about the pivot. How we were going to stop all other projects and concentrate on “one wellness product”.

Why?

Because deep down all of us cared about human health. We cared about staying healthy and when it came to human health our passion produced creativity. But I was not sure whether my colleagues sensed my inner passion. I was nervous.

I gathered everyone.
I knew we would fail if everyone did not participate enthusiastically.

Let’s pivot around the microbiome”, I said.

The room was silent with few glances at each other.

Team Leucine Rich Bio is known for many things, silence is not one of them. Raucous laughter with vociferous discussions is how team meetings usually go. Ask the people in the next building. This time was different though!!

“What’s pivot?”, asked one.

That’s when it dawned to me that I was talking in ‘start-up lingo’ to a bunch of ‘scientists and techies’. My 1-minute monologue on pivot was met with bombardment of ideas and solutions. We were going to pivot around the microbiome and all of us were backing it. All 22 of us. (More about this collaborative spirit in my next blog).

This was a great moment for us. We were not going to just churn data, we were going to have positive impact on everyone’s health.

Our health is impacted greatly by the microbiome. The human microbiome is defined as the collective genomes of the microbes (bacteria, bacteriophage, fungi, protozoa and viruses) that live inside our body. In simple words it’s the different kind of microbes living inside and on our body. Some estimates suggest that there are more microbes in our body than human cells. Given the sheer volume of the microbiome, it must have a significant influence on our body.

Of these, 90% of the microbes reside in our gut. The gut microflora is influenced by nutrition and lifestyle. So, in essence, what we eat and how we live shapes our microbiome, which in turn influences our health.

Below is a complex graph showing the different species of microbes found in different parts our body.

We had started working on the microbiome in 2015. The very first sample we analyzed looked at a few hundred microbes. We now look at around 1,40,000 microbes. We have identified close to 10,000 different species of microbes. Usually we see anywhere from 800 to 2000 different types of microbes in an individual.

I’ll let you read that sentence again.

“800 to 2000 different types of microbes are present in an individual’s gut”.

Each of them have millions of copies. Just fathom the impact that it might have on us. This impact has been shown by different academic labs around the world. As we delved into the science, we realized the impact is even greater.

To top it off, the solution is simple. Nutrition.

Our mission from the beginning was to bring about a paradigm shift to Health Care from Sick Care. We strongly believe the microbiome is the way forward to achieve our mission and the technology that we have developed is on par if not better than the rest.

We pivoted around the microbiome so that we could leverage our expertise and passion to provide everyone with better health. Better health is not a moonshot, it is as simple as including an extra food item in your diet.