Microbiome is big business

Investment in microbiome companies has soared in recent years. An article in the Wall St. Journal documents the rise, but what does it mean?

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I read an interesting piece about the amount of venture capital funding raised by microbiome companies over the last 5 years.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

From 2011 through 2015, venture funding in microbiome firms soared 458.5% to $114.5 million, while overall venture investment grew 103.4% to $75.29 billion. This year, microbiome investment has surged again despite a decline in overall venture funding. The $616.9 million raised for microbiome companies to date so far in 2016 is more than all of the venture investment in the microbiome space in 2011 through 2015 combined.

Already this year, US based Microbiome companies have raised over $600 million and we are only 3/4 through 2016.

This, coupled with the National Microbiome Initiative announced by the White House this May hold a lot of promise for microbiome research. I suppose one of the main questions is how efficiently can basic research be translated into commercial products? While this is something that can be done quickly in theory, it could be dangerous to rush, given that new layers of complexity we discover with the release of every new microbiome paper.

That being said, such a huge governmental focus and injection of cash is a great sign that the importance of the work we do is being recognised outside the lab.

Wall St. Journal Article


White House Announcement


Ben Libberton

Science Communicator, Freelance

I'm a freelance science communicator, formerly a Postdoc in the biofilm field. I'm interested in how bacteria cause disease and look to technology to produce novel tools to study and ultimately prevent infection.