Microba and Google Cloud use innovation and AI to level up gut microbiome testing
CEO of gut health testing specialists Microba, Blake Wills, presented at the Google Cloud Summit in Sydney last week to share how working with global powerhouse Google Cloud allowed the startup to combine expert scientific knowledge with high-powered analytics and machine learning capabilities.
In March this year Microba first announced it had turned to hyperscale computing from Google Cloud to expand Microba’s capabilities within Australia and overseas in the microbiome research and biotechnology fields.
Since Microba launched its customer test, Microba Insight™ in June 2018, over 10,000 samples have been pushed through their proprietary bioinformatics pipeline – Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™).
The collaboration with Google Cloud and Partner Max Kelsen has thus far reduced storage costs by 20 per cent, allowed for computing scalability up to thousands of CPUs when processing is required and down to zero when not, moved workload storage into cloud native architecture and reduced time for sequence run processing from 48 hours to under 12 hours.
Mr Wills said that working with Google Cloud allowed the company to bring the best cloud engineering talent together to optimise the use of Google Cloud services.
“The use of Cloud Storage for production pipelines and data storage is recognised as an important business requirement to keep Cloud Storage costs down for a small startup that relies heavily on using 100TBs of data,” he said.
“Microba has enabled thousands of customers in Australia to grasp a deeper understanding of their gut microbiome and provided diet-based interventions to make a positive change since launch.
“Microba has also assisted practitioners to use new insights and world-leading research to assist in making informed decisions for patient health.”
The world-leading biotech are building the world’s largest database of metagenomic gut microbiome samples and assisted health and lifestyle data using innovative technology.
Microba’s Lead Bioinformatician Dr David Wood said that as the database grows, Google Cloud’s machine learning technology will be used to identify increasing numbers of significant associations between specific microorganisms and genes which can accurately predict different disease states.
“Deploying artificial intelligence allows us to explore complex relationships between bacteria and human health, delivering promising leads for new diagnostic tools using the gut microbiome and AI,” he said.
“Providing computing at the scale and elasticity required by Microba was an exciting challenge for Max Kelsen, by leveraging Google Cloud Platform’s particular capabilities, including specific instance sizing and high throughput networking, and Kubernetes, we achieved a state that ticks the technical requirements at the same time as delivering significant cost reductions,” CEO and Co-founder of Max Kelsen, Nicholas Therkelsen-Terry said.
Colin Timm, ANZ Country Director of Google Cloud said, “Genomic data is growing significantly and we’re honoured to play a role in the work Microba and Max Kelsen are doing to accelerate breakthroughs in gut microbiome research.”
Microba’s MAP™ is up for the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Product Innovation in October 2019.
Read more about Microba and Google Cloud in this case study.