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International experts join inaugural IBD Advisory Panel

By 2022, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 Australians will be living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)[1].

Precision microbiome science company, Microba Life Sciences, has appointed three respected key opinion leaders in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to their IBD Advisory Panel to translate research into clinical outcomes for IBD sufferers.

Professors from Mount Sinai Doctors in the United States, Professor Jean-Frederic Colombel, MD and University of Miami Health System, Professor Maria Teresa Abreu will join with Australia’s own Associate Professor Jake Begun from Mater Health.

The trio will guide the company’s therapeutic programs to address major unmet clinical needs associated with IBD treatment.

The three renowned gastroenterology experts will provide insight to Microba’s research team on therapeutic clinical needs, translation of therapeutic candidates into and through the clinic.

The aim being to accelerate patient access to breakthrough new microbiome-based therapies to improve standard of care.

Harvard-trained, Associate Professor Jakob Begun is a world-renowned leader in clinical trials and research, specialising in the delivery of care and effectiveness of current therapies.

He is joined by US-based Professor Jean-Frederic Colombel MD who is an internationally recognised clinician and researcher in IBD, having made multiple ground-breaking discoveries in IBD genetics, risk factors and treatments. 

Professor Maria Teresa Abreu is a globally renowned expert in intestinal inflammation, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Her laboratory focuses on innate immunity, diet, and the role of the microbiome to improve therapies for IBD.

Microba CEO Blake Wills said the new advisory panel was comprised of a group of globally experienced gastroenterologists who would add critical value to the company’s mission of achieving important advancements in medicine.

“These three respected experts form our IBD Advisory Panel and their collective skills will support the development of novel therapies.”

CEO, Blake Wills.

“The calibre of Professor Colombel, Professor Abreu and Associate Professor Begun will assist us in developing much-needed novel treatments that will advance the care of patients suffering from the challenging symptoms of IBD.”

Associate Professor Jake Begun will lead the group as one of Australia’s top gastroenterologists, IBD Group Leader at the Mater Research Institute and Chair of the Gastroenterology Society of Australia’s IBD Faculty Executive Committee.

“Inflammatory Bowel Disease, both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a debilitating disease for many people and there remains a critical need for safe and effective therapeutics that will provide durable remission, improve the quality of life, and reduce the need for surgery or hospital admissions,” he said.

“Through this international Advisory Panel, we will aim to accelerate the development of our therapeutic candidates and inform future microbiome-based diagnostic tools through Microba’s human-first, big-data driven approach.”

Head of IBD Advisory Panel, Associate Professor Jake Begun.

More about the IBD Advisory Panel members

Associate Professor Begun is a world-renowned leader in clinical trials and clinical research focused on the delivery of care and effectiveness of current therapies. Based at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, he is a gastroenterologist who specialises in inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, microscopic colitis, eosinophilic disease and granulomatous disease.

With more than 13 years’ experience in his field as a Harvard Medical School graduate, A/Prof Begun has been involved with Microba since inception as part of the Medical Advisory Board.

Professor Colombel brings more than 30 years’ experience to the advisory panel as a Professor of medicine and gastroenterology and has established a comprehensive research and healthcare network dedicated to IBD.

His group has received international recognition for their work in identifying susceptible genes in Crohn’s disease, the potential role of certain bacteria in CD, and initiating many clinical trials to help improve therapeutic strategies in IBD. He has published more than 970 peer-reviewed papers and 30 book chapters, which makes him one of the most published gastroenterologists in the world.

He has been the president of ECCO, Chair of the International Organization of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and recipient of Sherman Prize in 2018.

Dr. Colombel is a Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and Co- Director of the Susan and Leonard Feinstein IBD Center, both of which are located in New York City.

In addition, he is currently the Director of the Helmsley IBD Center at Mount Sinai.  Prior to coming to New York, Dr. Colombel trained and practiced in Lille, France. In addition to Microba, Dr Colombel also serves as a paid consultant for other pharmaceutical companies that develop and/or manufacture treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Professor Abreu  was a resident at the UCLA Medical Centre and brings more than 25 years’ experience to the board as a gastroenterologist. She speaks English and Spanish and is an expert in intestinal inflammation, Crohn’s disease and IBD. Her laboratory focuses on innate immunity, diet, and the role of the microbiome to improve therapies for IBD.

She has practised at some of the top GI hospitals in the United States and now oversees a broad IBD research program as well as teaching program at the University of Miami Health System. Dr Abreu was the 2019 recipient of the Sherman Prize, recognising five of the nation’s preeminent IBD researchers, clinicians, scholars and healthcare providers.