Dr. Nikole Kimes is Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Siolta Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based biotech company developing novel microbiome-focused precision strategies for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases. As the lead executive driving Siolta’s early-stage development, Dr. Kimes heads a talented team of scientists, blending microbiology, immunology, and bioinformatics expertise to leverage microbiome data for the improvement of patient stratification and development of precision microbial therapeutics. Read her full bio.

Interview with Nikole Kimes from Siolta Therapeutics

Q: What need is Siolta Therapeutics addressing?

A: Chronic diseases, including inflammatory diseases such as asthma, now represent the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Asthma alone is a global concern affecting over 300 million people with the greatest prevalence (10-20%) in westernized countries and an increasing rate of 50% with each new decade since the 1980s. These chronic diseases, although known to be affected by environmental factors, have no known cause and thus no cures. The current therapeutic landscape for chronic inflammatory disease involves the treatment of downstream symptoms with medications that have variable efficacy and the potential for serious side effects. As a result, the long-term quality of life is decreasing for more and more people.

Q: What are the products and/or services Siolta Therapeutics offers/develops to address this need?

A: Siolta Therapeutics is a clinical stage biotech company developing FDA-approved live biotherapeutic products (LBPs). This means we use live bacterial cells known to be important in maintaining human health to formulate innovative and safe drugs. In addition, we are developing diagnostics to identify the most appropriate candidates for treatment and for distinguishing those that respond to a given treatment from those that do not.

Q: What makes Siolta Therapeutics unique?

A: Siolta is unique for a number of reasons, including our systems perspective and our focus on prevention in addition to treatment. Siolta embraces the fact that the human ecosystem, like all living systems, requires complex microbial and host cellular interactions to maintain health. We use the developing microbiome of infants to inform our understanding of what health looks like from multiple perspectives, including microbial composition, metabolic function and immune modulation. We have since used this knowledge to develop our lead product, a mix of microbial species known to be important in the development of the infant microbiome over the first years of life and known to be depleted in infants that are at greater risk of developing disease (e.g, asthma) later in life. Because we are targeting the underlying cause of inflammation rather than the downstream inflammatory symptoms, we are also able to explore the idea of asthma prevention in addition to treatment.

Q: What is your role at Siolta Therapeutics and what excites you about your work?

A: As a founder, I have been with Siolta since its inception. This company very much represents my own personal passion for both impactful translational science and the integration of health back into our discussions of healthcare. As the CSO, I am the lead executive driving our early-stage development. I have the honor of heading a talented team of scientists, blending microbiology, immunology, and bioinformatics expertise to leverage microbiome data for the improvement of patient stratification and development of precision microbial therapeutics. Everything about what we are doing excites me! We are tackling difficult and complex biology through the integration of a multi-disciplinary approach and our systems perspective. Thus, we are fundamentally altering the way we approach chronic inflammatory diseases and helping to shape a whole new field of medicine. Not only are we developing natural and innovative treatments for established disease, but we are going after the very cause of disease making prevention our goal as well.

Q: When thinking about Siolta Therapeutics and the domain Siolta Therapeutics is working in, what are some of the recent breakthroughs that are propelling the field forward and how will they impact healthcare?

A: The genomic revolution that has occurred over the last three decades is fundamental to our current understanding of complex microbial ecosystems, including the human microbiome. The resulting advancements in our technology have led to increased awareness of the many implications these organisms have on our health. This revolution has also uncovered our unique microbial characteristics, highlighting the importance of more precise and individualized drug development.

Q: What are the short-term challenges that Siolta Therapeutics and its peers are facing?

A: One challenge within the field at the moment is unraveling the promise of the microbiome without succumbing to the hype. Siolta is performing rigorous science and pursuing an FDA-regulated path forward in an effort to provide legitimacy and validation to our work as well as the field more generally. Additional challenges include regulatory hurdles and scaled manufacturing processes. All of these challenges are characteristic of a new field, however, and the rapid advancement that we’ve witnessed over the last two years suggest they will be alleviated relatively quickly as the field itself matures.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PMWC audience?

A: One of Siolta’s underlying goals is to bring health back to the conversation when crafting our healthcare experiences. We want to raise the bar for drug development to address health through the prevention of disease in addition to treatment, and we aim to do this in a way that is aligned with precision medicine.

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Interview with Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD from HL7

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Interview with William Hearl From Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.

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Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 16th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 20-23, 2019. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

  • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • AI & Data Science Showcase
    • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
    • Clinical Dx Showcase
    • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
    • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
    • Digital Phenotyping
    • Diversity in Precision Medicine
    • Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Early Days of Life Sequencing
    • Emerging Technologies in PM
    • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
    • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
    • Gene Editing
    • Genomic Profiling Showcase
    • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
    • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
    • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Microbial Profiling Showcase
    • Microbiome
    • Neoantigens
    • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
    • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
    • Pharmacogenomics
    • Point-of Care Dx Platform
    • Precision Public Health
    • Rare Disease Diagnosis
    • Resilience
    • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
    • Wellness and Aging Showcase

Agenda highlights:

    • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
      • AI & Data Science Showcase
      • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
      • Clinical Dx Showcase
      • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
      • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
      • Digital Phenotyping
      • Diversity in Precision Medicine
      • Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Early Days of Life Sequencing
      • Emerging Technologies in PM
      • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
      • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
      • Gene Editing / CRISPR
      • Genomic Profiling Showcase
      • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
      • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
      • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Microbial Profiling Showcase
      • Microbiome
      • Neoantigens
      • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
      • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Point-of Care Dx Platform
      • Precision Public Health
      • Rare Disease Diagnosis
      • Resilience
      • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
      • Wellness and Aging Showcase
  • Luminary and Pioneer Awards, honoring individuals who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the field of Precision Medicine
  • 2000+ multidisciplinary attendees, from across the entire spectrum of healthcare, representing different types of companies, technologies, and medical centers with leadership roles in precision medicine
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