Innovation Through Scientific Research With Dr. Leen Kawas.

The human microbiome is an aggregate term to discuss all of the microbiota that exists within the human body. The human microbiome is pivotal to our overall health and happiness, and many studies and countless dollars have been spent trying to understand it.

Dr. Leen Kawas is the managing partner at Propel Bio Partners as well as the founder of Athira Pharma. Known for her work in biosciences, Dr. Kawas would rise to acclaim for her work developing a prominent trial drug at Athira. After departing from the company and taking its IPO public, Kawas settled into her role as managing partner with a goal of investing in life-changing outcomes.

Dr. Kawas and Persephone Biosciences

For Dr. Kawas, working as the Managing Partner at Propel Bio Partners meant empowering herself to reach out to companies that provided big solutions to even bigger problems. Dr. Kawas looked at and emphasized the importance of studying the microbiome of the infant baby. Kawas said of Persephone Biosciences, “They are creating infant probiotics that will help and empower mothers to make decisions that are the best for them and for the baby.”

Kawas went on to explain that, as a working mother, she was particularly close to the mission statement put out by Persephone. Kawas went on to say, “I’m a working mother, and I understand the stress on mothers. This is the product that I think represents a significant value. The market opportunity is there, and this is the first product in the pipeline.”

Kawas went on to detail how the infant probiotic will work to naturally enhance microorganisms that are already present in the infant’s body. The ultimate goal of the work will be to recreate a completely normal and healthy gut microbiome with the right balanced components within it.

Looking past just the microorganisms in the infant’s biome, Dr. Kawas was sure to explain the more profound impacts of the probiotic solution. Kawas said of the need for probiotics, “If you have this microorganism and it’s not expressing or doing what you want to do, it’s not going to help with anything.”

Kawas added of the work being done at Persephone Biosciences, “They actually enhance the microorganisms that are relevant to recover a normal gut microbiome to help with our autoimmune system and a magnitude of things.”

Dr. Leen Kawas believes that patience is a virtue, but that results are coming in the future. Kawas said, “They’re going through a methodical development plan. Persephone starts with understanding the architecture, the cytokines that are important in having a healthy gut microbiome for infants and adults, and even patients.”

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