Dr. Manuele Biazzo is currently co-founder and CEO of The BioArte Limited (Malta) and of SienaBioActive (a spinoff of the University of Siena). He has a research background build up in large Companies such as Novartis (vaccine unit) and he has been Director of Research and Development at the Institute of Cellular Pharmacology over the past 7 years.
Doctor Manuele Biazzo gained his PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Industrial Biology from the University of Bologna in 2013 and his Master's in Business Administration from the Anglia Ruskin University in 2017 and a Master's in Clinical Nutrition in 2022 from University Niccolo’ Cusano.
He is skilled in pharma-biotech and vegetable extracts drug discovery/development/production with >10 years of experience in R&D strategy, operations, management, and team leadership. He has expertise in all phases of traditional pre-clinical drug discovery from target validation to drug candidate nomination, with particular emphasis on infectious disease and microbiome.
One of his recent development with The BioArte team is SkinDuoTM the first worldwide product for acne-prone skin using what The BioArte called ‘’ our microbial self’’. Actually, the product is a combination of topical and oral probiotics that have shown incredible properties.
Good day, Manuele! It is a privilege to have you with us today! I'm excited to start this interview with you, and our main curiosity is: how did your interest in molecular biology develop? What factors influenced you to continue developing yourself in this direction?
Good day! Thank you for having me today. My interest in molecular biology began during my undergraduate studies in biology. I was fascinated by the intricate processes that occur at a molecular level in living organisms and how these processes play a crucial role in their overall functioning. I was particularly interested in how this understanding could lead to advancements in medical research and disease treatment.
All of these things were happening without us noticing it! How it was possible to create a plasmid and insert it into a bacterium, to let the bacterium produce insulin without being able to see what was done? How it was possible to make something that was considered harmful, an essential tool to provide insulin? As I delved deeper into the subject, I became increasingly impressed by the power of molecular biology techniques in solving complex biological problems. This motivated me to pursue a Master's degree in biotechnology, where I was able to apply my knowledge and develop new skills in the field. Throughout my studies and research experiences, I have been exposed to the impact that molecular biology can have in shaping our understanding of the world and improving human health. This, combined with my passion for the subject, has continued to drive me to further my expertise and contribute to the field. Let's talk a little about clinical nutrition. How would you describe your experience as an expert in this field?
Well, I will not define myself an expert in clinical nutrition, but as an expert in a ‘’microbiome-based diet’’. Everything we are doing is based on re-shaping the microbial profile that has been changed due to different conditions. Dysbiosis will be linked to several diseases, so we started from the beginning, we addressed dysbiosis first of all. In order to address the dysbiosis you need a proper analysis, and we developed the most sensitive and specific microbiota test available in the market currently, where we reach species level at affordable costs (and not only genus level). One way to improve our ‘’microbial self’’ is through diet. I have gained a comprehensive understanding of the role of diet and nutrition in maintaining health and preventing disease. I have experience working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and with a range of health conditions, designing personalized nutrition plans that meet their specific needs as ‘’holobiont’’.
The term holobiont refers to the concept that an individual organism is not a solitary entity, but rather a symbiotic community of different species living together. This includes the host organism and its associated microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. The holobiont operates as a unified system, with each component affecting the function and health of the others. This holistic perspective has led to a deeper understanding of the importance of the microbiome in maintaining health and preventing disease. Additionally, having all the analysis performed at The BioArte will speed up the assessment of the patients by analyzing laboratory results, and monitoring patient progress to ensure that their nutrition goals are being met. Overall, my experience in microbiome profiling has allowed me to make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of our patients and has reinforced my passion for this field
What do you think about the methods being used to cure COVID-19 in the context of the current global health situation, based on your skills in pharmaceutical biotechnology?
As a pharmaceutical biotechnologist, I believe that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been truly remarkable, from a scientific point of view. In terms of communication a bit less in my opinion. The speed at which new treatments and vaccines have been developed and made available to the public is a testament to the advancements in biomedical research and technology. In terms of treatments, several antiviral drugs have been approved for emergency use, including remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies. We had the privilege as The BioArte to collaborate with Aptar Pharma to develop a formulation for a nasal delivery of a potent monoclonal antibody developed by the MAD lab team directed by Prof. Rino Rappuoli. We had the chance to visit Prof. Rappuoli in Siena and discuss our preliminary results.
These drugs have shown promising results in reducing the severity of illness and the duration of hospital stays for infected individuals. Additionally, the development and rollout of vaccines has been nothing short of historic. The use of innovative technologies, such as mRNA vaccines, has enabled the production of highly effective vaccines in record time. These vaccines have already had a significant impact on reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives. However, I also recognize that the current global health situation remains challenging and that there is still much work to be done to fully control current and future pandemics. In three words, how would Manuele describe himself? Was he inspired by any successful people in his career, Manuele?
To describe myself in three words, I would choose: knowledgeable, dedicated, and innovative. As for inspirations in my career, I have been influenced by many successful individuals in the field of pharmaceutical biotechnology and molecular biology. Some of these individuals include Rino Rappuoli, who is a pioneer in the field of vaccine development and a leader in the biotech industry, and Craig Venter, who is renowned for his contributions to the Human Genome Project and his work in genomic medicine. Their groundbreaking work, visionary thinking, and relentless pursuit of scientific excellence have been a source of inspiration for me and have driven me to pursue a career in the field. You and the Biotech team have developed what is known as "our microbial self" through technological advancement. We would like to learn more about this.
"Our microbial self" refers to the concept that the human body is not a single entity, but rather a complex ecosystem made up of multiple species of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms. These microbes play an important role in maintaining health and preventing disease. The development of SkinDuo, a product in the biotech field, has advanced our understanding of the human microbiome and its role in skin health. SkinDuo utilizes cutting-edge technology to analyze the skin microbiome and provide products for maintaining a healthy skin microbiome. By offering insight into the unique microbial communities present on an individual's skin, SkinDuo allows users to take a proactive approach to skin health and address imbalances before they lead to skin issues. SkinDuo™ is a unique product developed by The BioArte that combines a topical mono-dose serum and a food supplement to target both gastrointestinal health and skin homeostasis.
The product is one-of-a-kind in the market as it is the first to feature live topical lactobacilli, a preservative-free water-based serum, and a combined approach with an oral probiotic to address acne-prone skin. The gut-skin axis has been extensively studied, and SkinDuo™ addresses imbalanced skin by assisting in rebalancing the gut microbiota and addressing dysbiosis, which can lead to local and systemic inflammation and affect the physiology of the skin. The topical treatment has proven its ability to decrease local inflammation and reduce sebum production. The combined use of a topical treatment and an oral probiotic makes SkinDuo™ a unique approach to maintaining skin health
What piques our interest is your next major project. What is your next big career move?
My next big career move is to continue driving the growth of The BioArte. We have already achieved so much in just three years of operation, and I am incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished. Our patented technology, which is capable of identifying species-level in any sample with an accuracy of over 98%, has the potential to be expanded into a number of different fields, not just related to the microbiome. For example, it could be used in the fields of infectious diseases and food safety.
Additionally, we have established the Institute of Microbiome and Applied Science, which serves as a hub for disseminating all of the knowledge and expertise that we have gained from our research projects. Our goal is to educate and inspire the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals, and I am thrilled to be able to play a role in this important work. We will soon be launching summer camps for our followers and I am excited to see the impact that these programs will have. Our goal is to provide hands-on, interactive experiences that will give participants a deeper understanding of the microbiome and its role in our health.
By exposing more people to the world of microbiome research, we hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals to pursue careers in this exciting field. Overall, my next big career move is to continue to drive the growth of The BioArte and to ensure that our technology and expertise is used to make a positive impact on the world. Based on your experience and education, what qualities, in your opinion, distinguish a great leader?
A great leader possesses several key qualities that set them apart from others. Based on my experience the quality that a leader must have are: Empathetic - A great leader has the ability to understand and connect with people. They are able to build strong relationships, foster collaboration and trust, and create a positive and inclusive work environment.
Visionary - A great leader has the ability to see beyond the present and develop a clear and compelling vision for the future. They are able to inspire others to work towards a common goal and create a roadmap to success.
Strategic thinker - A great leader has the ability to think strategically and make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their organization and stakeholders. They are able to assess risks and opportunities and develop effective solutions to complex problems.
Passionate - A great leader is passionate about their work and has a genuine desire to make a positive impact. They are driven to succeed and inspire others to do their best work.
Finally, we'd like to send a motivational message to all young people who want to have a successful career in this field.
To all young people who are passionate about pursuing a successful career in the field of biotechnology, my advice is to never stop learning and growing. Continuously educate yourself on the latest advancements and technologies in the industry, and strive to understand the deeper principles behind them. In this field, it's important to have a strong foundation in the sciences, particularly biology and chemistry, but don't overlook the value of interdisciplinary studies. Understanding the social, ethical, and economic implications of your work is just as important as the technical skills you bring to the table. Another key quality for success in biotechnology is creativity, and now you can understand why we named our company The BioArte.
This field is constantly evolving, and being able to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions is essential. At the same time, it is important to have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work well in a team. Finally, be persistent in pursuing your goals and don't be afraid to take calculated risks. Biotechnology is a field with many exciting possibilities, and by being proactive and dedicated, you can make a real impact and create a successful career for yourself. Once you will have a solid knowledge, you can contact us to be admitted at the Institute of Microbiome and Applied Sciences 😊 I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with us today, Manuele!