Atmo Biosciences gas-sensing tech aims to provide user-friendly diagnostic solution for gut disorders

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20 October 2022

Pictured: Atmo Biosciences CEO, Malcom Hebblewhite, holding the Atmo Gas Capsule which aims to play a critical role in diagnosing – and improving – gut health.

In 2020, gut health medtech Atmo Biosciences set out to demonstrate proof-of-concept for its gas-sensing technology – the Atmo Gas Capsule System* – supported by funding from MTPConnect’s BioMedTech Horizons (BMTH) program.

The Atmo Gas Capsule System, invented at RMIT University in Melbourne, is a world-first gas-sensing capsule that, when swallowed, travels through the gut, and detects gases in real time from known gastrointestinal (GI) locations. Clinicians hope to use these biomarkers to diagnose conditions such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

The gas-sensing technology addresses an unmet clinical need to interrogate and monitor the human gut’s microbiome function. Ultimately, this will allow better diagnosis and development of personalised therapies for GI disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), SIBO, inflammatory bowel disease and others.

Impacting tens of millions of people globally

Gut disorders impact tens of millions of people globally, yet many go untreated, as conclusive diagnostic tests remain elusive. The Atmo Gas Capsule System aims to provide an accurate, cost-effective, and user-friendly diagnostic solution for GI disorders.

SIBO is one such disorder that is difficult to diagnose. SIBO occurs when excess bacteria in the small intestine ferment undigested food, generating hydrogen as a by-product. SIBO is thought to be associated with a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including bloating and gas. If left untreated, SIBO can lead to serious complications like inflammation, autoimmune disease, nutrient deficiencies, and malnutrition.

Through its BMTH funding award, the Atmo Biosciences team benchmarked its diagnostic criterion against the two existing diagnostic methods for SIBO: hydrogen breath testing and the gold-standard jejunal aspirate. The preliminary pilot results showed a good correlation to the latter, while emphasising the poor outcomes offered by breath testing. While the outcome measures were strong, additional work is required to validate the diagnostic method in a diverse population.

First steps towards identifying large group of SIBO patients globally

According to Atmo Biosciences CEO, Malcolm Hebblewhite, the BMTH project has enabled the team to take its first steps towards identifying a large target group of patients living with SIBO globally.

“This initial evidence helps to strengthen our investment thesis to target conditions with unmet clinical needs such as GI motility disorders and SIBO,” said Mr Hebblewhite. “This program has allowed us to accelerate the development of our technology in a short period of time. The project has also increased our engagement with global key opinion leaders and clinicians,” he said.

In 2018, Atmo Biosciences signed a licencing deal with RMIT, securing the exclusive worldwide rights to commercialise the capsule. The capsule inventors are continuing to lead research and development at Atmo, together with a dedicated team of Atmo engineers.

Find out more about this BMTH project in our Atmo Biosciences Case Study!

*The Atmo Gas Capsule is currently an investigational device exclusively for use in clinical investigations and is not available for sale.