INDIANAPOLIS — Ascus is pioneering Endomicrobial Ecology, an emerging science harnessing the natural diversity within an animal’s microbiome to improve animal health and performance. Integrating recent advancements in DNA and RNA sequencing methods with breakthrough methods of computational analysis, Endomicrobial Ecology fingerprints the specific microbes naturally residing within an animal’s gastrointestinal system and identifies how the microbes function and interact to influence health and performance.
Based on this proprietary discovery platform, Ascus scientists have uncovered novel microbial strains, native to the animal, with a clear health and performance benefit. The goal of Ascus scientists is to use this enhanced understanding of an animal’s microbiome to develop products and services that improve the overall health and performance of animals.
The Study of Endomicrobial Ecology Leads to De Novo Discovery
“There is a tremendous demand for more natural products that help solve some of the most important problems within animal systems,” said Mike Seely, CEO and co-founder of Ascus. “We believe that identifying the right microbes from the ground up represents the next wave of innovation for our industry.”
The animal health and nutrition community has long sought natural approaches to supplementing the beneficial microbes existing within an animal’s microbiome. However, the science essential to understanding the specific functions and interactions between microbes within the animal have only recently become available on a cost-effective scale. Ascus combined high throughput sequencing methods with proprietary computational methods to illuminate the inner workings of an animal’s microbiome.
Starting in dairy cows, Ascus curated the largest dairy rumen microbe data set in the world to identify 50,000+ unique microbial strains from more than 4,500 dairy cow rumen samples. Analysis of these samples allowed researchers to identify a core set of common microbial strains distinguishing high performing dairy cows from their lesser performing peers. Researchers then analyzed the relationships between these microbes and how they affect dairy cow functions and health.
Biology Focused Innovation
The insights resulting from de novo discovery research in Endomicrobial Ecology are building new tools to manage animal health and performance. According to Dr. William Weldon, chief operations officer at Ascus, Endomicrobial Ecology allows these new products to support the animal with solutions tailored to the animal’s natural biology.
“There is no other technology or product that uses novel beneficial microbes derived from the animal’s own GI system to improve gastrointestinal health and performance,” Weldon said. “When used as the basis for feed supplements, the science of Endomicrobial Ecology is distinct from other additive technologies currently used in animal health and nutrition.”
Applying Insights in the Field
Following animal validation trials around the globe that show improvements in dairy cow health and performance, Ascus will introduce the first endomicrobial feed supplement based on Endomicrobial Ecology following regulatory approvals starting as early as 2018. In addition to helping dairy producers and dairy nutritionists optimize their herds’ health and performance, Endomicrobial Ecology also addresses consumers’ interests.
“Today’s consumers are increasingly interested in how their food is raised,” said Dr. Mallory Embree, co-founder and chief scientific officer at Ascus. “Because this science is based on the animal’s unique microbiome, the innovations developed using Endomicrobial Ecology provide a naturally safe and highly effective approach to supporting animal health and performance.”
About Ascus, Inc.
Ascus Biosciences, based in San Diego with commercial operations headquartered in Indianapolis, is focused on discovering, developing and commercializing first-in-class endomicrobial products for the animal health and nutrition industries. Founded in 2015, Ascus is pioneering the emerging science of endomicrobial ecology to illuminate microbial communities within animals and the role they play in overall health and performance. Ascus has a broad pipeline of all-natural, endomicrobial products in development across livestock and companion animals. Galaxis is their lead product and will launch as early as the first half of 2018 in select international dairy markets.