Global biotech executive to boost microbiome drug development for Asia Pacific


Global biotechnology executive Thomas Mitchell has relocated to Australia to lead start-up BiomeBank, Australia’s first public stool bank and microbiome therapeutics company.

Mr Mitchell has relocated to Adelaide from Cambridge in the UK. 

Established in 2016 by co-founders and Adelaide-based gastroenterologists Dr Sam Costello and Dr Robert Bryant, BiomeBank opened its purpose-built laboratory in Thebarton in early 2020 to enable the quality-controlled donation of healthy stool from donors, to provide safe access to faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) material.

The company said its next stage is to develop multiple microbiome drug products. It said it expects to shortly gain TGA approval of their facility that manufactures a broad-spectrum live biotherapeutic product (LBP) for prevention of recurrent Clostridioides difficile with plans to expand it to other indications.

BiomeBank has provisional approval for use and supply of FMT, as a class 2 biologic, in Australia and is planning a submission to the TGA in 2021 for specific indications.

BiomeBank chair Dr Stephen Rodda said the new CEO appointment represents a significant milestone as the company looks to deliver for patients with debilitating gut diseases across the Asia Pacific region.

“Thomas brings strong expertise in microbiome drug development, having occupied previous leadership positions at both Finch Therapeutics and Microbiotica, key microbiome biotech companies in Boston USA and Cambridge UK,” said Dr Rodda.

“This is an exciting period for BiomeBank as we head towards TGA approval for our product, which will be used to treat unmet medical need in many indications across Australia with the potential for global expansion.”

South Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Caroline McMillen also welcomed the new CEO appointment. “I was thrilled to hear Thomas Mitchell accepted this position and was relocating to Adelaide, which is emerging as a magnet city, attracting talent from across the globe,” said Professor McMillen.

“I’m very much looking forward to the many innovations for gut health that will be made possible through BiomeBank with a passionate expert team at the helm.”

Mr Mitchell will be supported by chief medical officer Dr Sam Costello and chief technology officer Dr Sam Forster.

Mr Mitchell added, “It is an exciting opportunity to return to Australia and join a world-class team of microbiome experts to develop microbiome therapeutics. With BiomeBank’s talent and pipeline we are well-positioned to be a leader in the field.”