Holobiome Wins USD 1 Million in Research Funding from CSB to Advance Microbiome: Solutions for Pain


Japan’s Corundum Systems Biology to Sponsor New Microbiome Research Project

Cambridge & Tokyo, October 27, 2021 – Japan’s Corundum Systems Biology Inc. will contribute USD 1 million to support a new 2-year research project that US life sciences startup Holobiome Inc.will launch. Holobiome’s proposed project will assess the gut microbiome’s role in regulating pain sensitivity, paving the way for potential microbial therapies, consumer goods, and/or diagnostics that aim to address pain in a broad range of people, such as those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease and neuropathy.

The project sponsorship follows Corundum Systems Biology’s June 2021 seed stage capital investment in Holobiome. Holobiome was established in 2018 to advance human microbiome science beyond academia, with a particular focus on the relationship between the human gut and the brain. Recent research by Holobiome and by its scientific advisors has implicated microbial influences on modulating neurotransmission along the gut-brain-axis. 1,2,3

“Recent evidence suggests the microbiome plays a role in regulating pain sensitivity and the inflammatory response, says Holobiome’s Dr. Philip Strandwitz. “For example, experiments in mice have revealed an impact on neuropathic pain, such as the finding that both the anticancer effect of chemotherapy and the pain it induces are influenced by the gut microbiota.4,5

“While these associations strongly implicate the microbiome in the etiology of pain in its many forms, we have yet to elucidate the mechanisms driving the observed effects and the path to consistent and scalable therapeutic interventions.”

This project will enable Holobiome to engage in a comprehensive assessment of the gut-pain axis, which has the potential to generate novel microbial therapies for pain and other disease associated with inflammation, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Additionally, this project will increase Holobiome’s speed of discovery for future indications.

“The future of microbiome therapeutics will be precision, and this project will drive that future,” Dr. Strandwitz says.

This project will leverage in-house resources such as Holobiome’s“Microbiome Atlas,” which is a proprietary library of human gut bacterial isolates representing nearly all known members in the human gut microbiome. The project will also draw on Holobiome’sunique expertise in designing techniques and protocols to grow “unculturable” bacteria from multiple ecosystems, which has yieldednovel genera and species unavailable in public strain banks.

“The Atlas and the facilities used to create it gives Holobiome a unique edge to conduct large-scale testing both readily and flexibly,”says Hidehiko Otake, CEO of Corundum Systems Biology. “Leveraging this invaluable asset drives momentum and vitality into Holobiome’s research, where results are gained with speed and precision, factors that consistently amaze us. We envision that the outcomes from this research will bring leaps in understanding the microbiome’s role in regulating pain and are very much looking forward to its success.”

Holobiome Inc., was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by three expert microbiologists with the goal of advancingmicrobiome science beyond academia: award-winning specialist in the field of human microbiome, Dr. Phillip Strandwitz, who serves as CEO; his PhD advisor Dr. Kim Lewis, a University Distinguished Professor of Biology and Director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center at Northeastern University (NEU); and fellow NEU alumni and specialist in antimicrobialdrug discovery Dr. Mike LaFleur. (https://holobiome.org/)

Corundum Systems Biology, established in Tokyo, Japan, in April 2020, comprises business advisors, investors and analysts who recognize microbiome science as a critical field for unlocking next-generation life science technologies that can enhance human health and quality of life. The company offers support in microbiome advancements globally through support in development of new business, development of biometric database and data analysis platforms, and grant-giving to facilitate and accelerate R & D. (https://www.csb.co.jp/)


  1. Strandwitz, P. et al. GABA-modulating bacteria of the human gut microbiota. Nat Microbiol, DOI:10.1126/science.aat5236.(2018).
  2. Indigenous Bacteria from the Gut Microbiota Regulate Host Serotonin Biosynthesis. Cell 161, 264-276, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.047 (2015).
  3. Kaelberer, M. M. et al. A gut-brain neural circuit for nutrient sensory transduction. Science 361, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5236 (2018).
  4. Iida, N. et al. Commensal bacteria control cancer response to therapy by modulating the tumor microenvironment. Science 342, 967-970, DOI: 10.1126/science.1240527 (2013).
  5. Ramakrishna, C. et al. Dominant Role of the Gut Microbiota in Chemotherapy Induced Neuropathic Pain. Sci Rep 9, 20324, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-56832-x (2019).


In the US

Holobiome Inc.
One Kendall Square
Building 200, Suite 001
Cambridge, MA 02139

In Japan

Public Relations,
Corundum Systems Biology Inc.