Back to All Events

Commercializing the Microbiome – the Unseen Organ

  • LabCentral 700 Main Street Cambridge, MA, 02139 United States (map)

The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce New England proudly presents this collaborative event together with our organizational partner The German-American Business Council of Boston



UPDATE: The event has been cancelled.

The vast majority of your body’s bacteria reside in your gut. These bacteria (microbes), live inside and on any tissue of your body (including your gut), exerting a profound impact on your health and just about every bodily process. This is your microbiome.

Allergies, autoimmunity, depression and other inflammatory diseases are increasing at alarming rates and have all been associated with impaired microbiome health.

This evening will be all about the microbiome — how exactly does it influence our lifestyle and well-being? Why is it relevant in drug development and for which therapeutic areas does it have the most potential?

GABC and SACC-NE invites you to join us at LabCentral in the heart of Kendall Square’s innovation district, as we explore the significance of the microbiome and its commercial value. What is fact and what is fiction?

An impressive set of speakers from Big Pharma and rising new stars from the biotech startup world will talk about their vision for the microbiome.

Keynote Speakers

  • Alex Tucker, PhD is a microbiologist and synthetic biologist interested in efficiently domesticating and manipulating microbial systems. He leads a microbial engineering team focused on enzyme production at Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based synthetic biology company that uses a foundry model to engineer biology at scale. Ginkgo is currently developing more than 40 organisms via commercial partnerships for the production of small molecules, enzymes, and optimized microbes. Prior to Ginkgo, Alex developed gut microbiome engineering technologies as a postdoctoral associate at MIT and subsequently engineered probiotic therapies to treat metabolic disorders at Synlogic. He earned a PhD in microbiology at the University of Georgia and the University of Wisconsin.
  • Dean Falb, PhD is the Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Synlogic Therapeutics, a venture-backed start-up company in the human microbiome space. He was an advisor to Atlas Ventures around several of its emerging portfolio companies, and played a central role in starting Synlogic in 2013. Prior to this he was Vice President of Research and Development at Stryker’s Regenerative Medicine Division. There he led the development of a portfolio of Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) –based drugs and drug device combinations in musculoskeletal and tissue fibrosis indications and initiated multiple clinical development programs. Dean was Sr. Vice President of R&D at Praecis Pharmaceuticals where he led the discovery and development of peptide-based drugs in several therapeutic indications including Plenaxis, which was approved by the FDA for patients with prostate cancer. In 1993 Dean was hired as the fourth scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals where he started and led Millennium’s program in Cardiovascular Diseases. There he discovered the SMAD signal transduction family which functions downstream of BMP/TGF-beta receptors. He also led a large collaboration with Eli Lilly around the genetics and genomics of cardiovascular diseases. Before Millennium, Dean was a scientist at Immulogic Pharmaceuticals. Dean received his B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the lab of Tom Maniatis at Harvard University


  • Bernat Olle, PhD is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of ‎Vedanta Biosciences, Inc. which is developing a novel class of therapies based on bacterial consortia that modulate interactions between the human microbiome and the host immune system. He has been a member of the founding teams of several companies of the PureTech portfolio and served as a member of the Board of Directors of Vedanta Biosciences and Follica Biosciences.
  • Arpita Maiti, PhD. As Senior Director, External Science & Innovation (ES&I), Arpita is a member of the external opportunities (discovery to Proof of Concept) search and evaluation team for Inflammation & Immunology, at Pfizer, Inc. She also leads strategy and partnering efforts in the microbiome for Pfizer. ES&I is an externally-focused scientific team of PhDs / MDs, embedded within Pfizer research groups,that identifies late-breaking science forming the basis of innovative therapies, and drives related collaborations that deliver value to Pfizer, its partners, and patients. Deals for which Arpita was responsible include Evotec, Biorap and an investment in AnTolRx. Prior to Pfizer, she was Associate Director of R&D Alliance Design & Management at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Arpita got her start in biotech at Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, heading the Cell Biology & Drug Screening group. She trained as an immunologist and has a PhD and MSc in Immunology from UBC and a BSc from Trinity College, UofT. In addition to presenting at pharma innovation and microbiome conferences, she co-organized the 12 th World Congress on Inflammation held in 2015, and has served on the board of the Inflammation Research Association in numerous positions, including as its President (2012-14).
  • Philip Strandwitz, PhD is Co-Founder and CEO of Holobiome. He is a specialist in the microbiome, with a focus on the gut-brain-axis. Philip received his PhD in Biology under the guidance of Dr. Kim Lewis at Northeastern University, where he focused on cultivating unique bacteria from the human gut microbiota, as well as studying their ability to modulate neurotransmitters. He has since assembled a broad range of clinical and academic collaborators to further profile the link between the human microbiome and the gut-brain-axis. Philip has presented at numerous conferences, including those held by the New York Academy of Science, Keystone Symposia, and the American Society of Microbiology. He is now CEO as Holobiome, a company he co-founded to translate microbiome science into novel therapeutics to treat diseases of the central and enteric nervous systems. Holobiome announced an early stage research collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and Janssen Research & Development, LLC in early 2018, and is currently sponsored by Amgen for wet lab space at LabCentral in Cambridge, MA.
  • Azza A. Gadir, PhD is a postdoctoral scientist working on the Immunological mechanisms that underlie food allergy at Harvard University/Boston Childrens’ Hospital. She is specifically focused on understanding the role of the gut microbiome in disease pathogenesis. As part of her research, Azza is co-inventor of a patent for microbial consortia that can prevent and/or cure food allergy and is collaborating with industry partners to accelerate the discovery of microbiome-related immunotherapies for food allergy. In addition, she is serving as a scientific advisor for the startup, Adeo Health Science, a company focused on translating food allergy research into trusted products for parents. Azza received a PhD in immunology from University College London.


$45 Non-Members / $35 GABC Members / $35 SACC-NE Members


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Time: 6:00PM – 8:30PM



700 Main Street, North

Cambridge, MA 02139

A 70,000 square-foot facility in the heart of the Kendall Square biotech innovation hub, LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups.

Public Trans: Kendall T Station

Parking: metered street parking