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Innovation and Research Park Welcomes Three Squared Biosciences, Focused on Gut Microbiome Solutions for Chronic Diseases

Ongoing expansion at RFU'sInnovation and Research Park includes the recent addition of 32 (Three Squared) Biosciences, which builds companies that leverage artificial intelligence to better understand the gut microbiome and uses that knowledge to prevent diseases.

32 Biosciences and its subsidiary companies, Gateway Biome and Covira, signed an agreement, effective Nov. 1, for space within the IRP. Covira had previously been a member company in the Helix 51 incubator.

A rapidly growing body of research shows that the gut microbiome — a previously unrecognized vital organ — plays a central role in neurodegenerative (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s), cardiovascular (hypertension, atherosclerosis), metabolic (obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)) and gastrointestinal (IBD, colorectal cancer) diseases.

32 Biosciences was formed to harness the full potential of Gateway Biome and Covira, spinouts from the University of Chicago.

“We want to support both companies as they move toward commercialization of their technologies,” said CEO Peter Farmakis, MBA. “This distinctive structure drives operational efficiencies and reduces risk, while maintaining scientific focus at Gateway Biome and Covira. We are thrilled to move into our new home in the IRP.”

Covira received notice in late 2022 of a $299,000 NIH Seed Fund Fast Track Award — with the potential for additional milestone payments — for the study “A novel, non-antibiotic, microbiome-directed agent to prevent post-surgical infection.” The company appointed Brian Yoor, former Chief Financial Officer of Abbott, as Chairman of the Board earlier this year, and continues to build the overall team.

Gateway Biome and Covira are rooted in the pioneering research of founders Eugene Chang, MD FACP, director of the University of Chicago’s Digestive Disease Research Core Center; Joe Pierre, PhD, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, UW-Madison; and John Alverdy, MD, FACP, executive vice-chair of the University of Chicago Department of Surgery, chairman of Covira’s Scientific Advisory Board and board member. The companies are translating their discovery science into novel health screening tools and microbiome-based therapies that modulate the gut microbiome to prevent diseases.

Executive Vice President for Research Ronald Kaplan, PhD, said the IRP’s latest tenant is evidence of the university’s commitment to expanding collaboration between academic research and the life science industry to improve prevention and treatment of disease.

“We have watched the rapid progression of 32 Biosciences companies Covira and now Gateway Biome,” Dr. Kaplan said. “We are pleased that they have ‘graduated’ from the Helix 51 Incubator into the IRP.”

Final buildout of 14,000 square feet of IRP wet lab and office space for bioscience-industry occupancy was completed in June — helping to meet the growing demand for wet lab space in the Chicago region and creating an environment where academic and industry scientists can work together to solve complex health challenges.

Posted November 27, 2023
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