One of the most common hospital infections, Clostridium difficile, also known as “C. diff,” inflicts debilitating symptoms, affects over 500,000 Americans each year, and kills almost 30,000 of them. When antibiotics don’t work, a Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) can be used to send an army of good bacteria into your gut to crowd out the infection. Patients feel better within hours 90 percent of the time! FMT works in just the opposite way antibiotics do. Where antibiotics wipe out infection, FMT overflows the area, leaving the infectious bacteria with nowhere to hide. Until 2015, doctors would administer an FMT via a colonoscopy or endoscopy tube, an invasive but effective medical procedure.
Design a way to deliver poop in pill form.
Fecal matter is not the easiest thing to encapsulate. It’s 70 percent water; when you put it into a gelatin capsule, a traditional shell for drugs, the capsule melts from the inside out.
I created MEM Tech (Microbial Emulsion Matrix Technology), which is an emulsion where a hydrophobic (water-hating) liquid acts as a small "fence" around the hydrophilic (water-loving) bubbles of poop.
After the initial design and development, I worked with manufacturing technicians to scale and standardize the operating procedures.
To see my process in detail, click here.
I increased access to Fecal Transplants by developing and launching a poop pill to treat patients with C. diff infection.
Over 250k pills have been made using my method. To date, the pill I designed has treated over 2,000 patients with C. diff and has been used to study the effects of FMT in 25+ clinical trials including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), immunoncology (I/O), and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).