Alexander Maue, Scientific Program Manager
Delivering Next-Gen Microbiome Models
Today, owing to the continuous technological advancements and the resulting reduction in the cost of analysis, microbiome research, which focuses on the behavior, interactions, and function of microbial communities, has significantly evolved over the last decade. In light of this development, microbiome researchers can now better understand the applications of their findings in the realms of drug discovery and biopharmaceutics. As a result, many organizations in the pharma world are becoming increasingly aware how the microbiome may impact all in vivo models irrespective of therapeutic area, which is driving the establishment of a dedicated microbiome research arm. However, due to the resource-intensive nature of operating and maintaining a germ-free gnotobiotics center, there is still an unmet need in the marketplace for a cost-effective way to conduct state-of-the-art microbiome research.
Helping such firms overcome microbiome research-related hurdles with its over six-decade history in providing research solutions and industry-leading germ-free animal models is New York-based Taconic Biosciences. “Our strong foundation in providing scalable germ-free animal models and ability to derive new models allow us to develop transformative microbiome solutions for our clients,” says Alexander Maue, scientific program manager, microbiome products and services at Taconic Biosciences.
Founded in 1949 by Robert Phelan, Taconic Biosciences has since grown into a global corporation with over 1,300 clients in 50 countries. Over the years, the company has played key roles in several industry-defining endeavors, including the commercialization of germ-free mice, the establishment of the International Health Monitoring System, which is the only globally harmonized health standard system in the microbiome industry, the Global Alliance For Laboratory Animal Standardization (GALAS), contract colony services, and more. Currently, Taconic Biosciences provides the best animal model solutions for customizing, breeding, reconditioning, testing, and distribution to clients.
Discussing the core competencies of his company, Maue elaborates, “Our customer-centric approach, coupled with an unparalleled portfolio of microbiome discovery solutions, is the key to our success.” Often, when a client approaches Taconic Biosciences, the company first assesses the customer goals, and then develops a comprehensive solution in consultation with the client to ensure their research needs are met.
Our strong foundation in providing scalable germ-free animal models and ability to derive new models allows us to develop transformative solutions for our clients
Additionally, Taconic is the only company that offers customizable microbiota profiles where a client provides a microbiome of their choice, and Taconic Biosciences generates study animals with defined microbiota profiles. Alternatively, Taconic, through its TruBIOME offering, can maintain and breed animals with a customized gut microbiome. This exemplifies the company’s emphasis on building flexible research solutions with clients to help them make the most of the services, enhance their understanding of a model, and accomplish their goals.
Maue further attributes his company’s success to the nature of Taconic Bioscience’s offerings as they are designed to be used by scientists regardless of their own expertise in microbiome research or access to gnotobiotic facilities. For instance, in cases where a customer does not have the facilities to maintain their germ-free models in a gnotobiotic state, the company offers contract gnotobiotic husbandry services. “Rather than a customer setting up their gnotobiotics facility, we partner with them to ensure that they don’t have to worry about breeding germ-free animals and can focus all their efforts into research,” adds Maue. Taconic Biosciences is currently using its strong foundation in germ-free animals and custom microbiota association services as a launchpad for a Taconic Microbiota Repository that will become a catalog of relevant microbiomes that researchers can utilize as per their needs. The company has acquired licenses for a wild mouse-derived microbiota as well as altered Schaedler flora to become the first entries in its repository.
To highlight the efficacy of Taconic Biosciences’ offerings, Maue highlights his company’s early partnership with a biopharma organization, which led to the development of its now highly sought-after custom microbiota association offering. During this early work, the company worked with the client to create a microbiome research platform to facilitate the simultaneous evaluation of different microbiomes. After this project, Taconic Biosciences went on to develop a dedicated offering based on custom microbiota associations, which has assisted a multitude of firms in advancing research goals.
Presently, Maue is expanding Taconic Biosciences’ operations by further refining a platform that aids researchers in addressing reproducibility, increasing the nature of human predictive models, and evaluating therapeutics. “Microbiome effects likely significantly impact pre-clinical in vivo drug discovery. And through our portfolio, we want to allow all scientists, regardless of their area of expertise, to better access models that allow them to evaluate new microbiome-based therapies and control for unwanted experimental variability derived from microbiota,”