Macrobiome Therapeutics is a company harnessing the therapeutic potential of hookworms and other parasitic helminths to develop drugs for the treatment of autoimmune and metabolic diseases.The company is based in tropical North Queensland, Australia, an area of enormous biodiversity. Macrobiome Therapeutics was founded by Professor Alex Loukas and Dr Paul Giacomin of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University, and brings together a number of leading international medical research teams to develop novel therapeutics that will inhibit chronic inflammatory and metabolic diseases with limited treatment options, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D).
The Macrobiome Therapeutics approach to drug discovery and development is underpinned by millennia of host-parasite co-evolution.
Parasitic worms (helminths) have evolved to survive in humans while causing minimal pathology. A successful parasite is one that takes what it requires from its host while causing minimal damage.
Hookworms are a prime example of such an exquisitely adapted parasite. Hookworms are one-centimetre long parasites that reside in the gut of their human hosts for many years, where they suck blood to gain the required nutrients to mate and produce offspring. While in the gut, hookworms secrete molecules that suppress inflammation, just enough to ensure that they are not flushed out by our immune system, but sufficiently potent to reduce inappropriate inflammatory responses such as those that underpin autoimmunity and allergy.
Macrobiome Therapeutics is developing novel therapeutics that will inhibit chronic debilitating diseases with limited efficacious treatment options, such as IBD and T2D. The team consists of researchers with expertise in parasitology, mouse and human immunology, drug discovery, protein production and purification, and clinical medicine (gastroenterology).