Dispatches from IPA World Congress + Probiota 2018

Carbiotix launches world's lowest cost microbiome test

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Carbiotix launches world's lowest cost microbiome test
A new low-cost microbiome testing service — priced at between €9 and €19 per month — will make monthly microbiome insights possible for the mass market consumer, said Carbiotix CEO Kristofer Cook as he announced the service as part of his talk at the IPA World Congress + Probiota 2018 last week.

Speaking during a presentation on start-ups and innovation, Cook told congress delegates that the new service will be introduced next month at an introductory rate of just €9 EUR or €9 USD – with a full price service pegged at €19 EUR or $9 USD.

The Swedish start-up has already launched its first product offering – debuting a low-cost personalised prebiotic supplement service known as PersonalGut recently​.

Now the company has its eyes firmly set on expanding its gut microbiome analysis service and further rolling out its simplified Fibre Loving Bacteria (FLB) analysis tool.

“Our LoveGut product is essentially part of the offering with PersonalGut. All we've done is carve it out because with PersonalGut our approach was to take a first principles approach to developing a personalised dietary supplement. And within that process we optimised everything - from the supply chain to the manufacturing and the analysis process,”​ Cook told Nutraingredients. “But because of the cost advantages we created with that, embedded within our initial offering is the LoveGut service, which is just the microbiome analysis part.”

“When we carved out that we saw that we could actually offer it for a price that was about a quarter of the next most offering on the market today,”​ he said. “So that's where the disruption comes from.”

“In the sense that, where somebody could afford to do one microbiome test previously. They can now do four test over four months for the same price.”

Cook told delegates that a major benefit of multiple testing points versus more in depth testing services that can cost much more is that there is less room for error or acceptance of outliers as a result.

“If you look at the current offering on the market for microbiome tests, they are quite expensive - so the lowest cost test we have seen is around $70-80 USD, and they go up to maybe $300 USD per test,”​ Cook noted. “What we've seen also, is with home testing there is embedded error in these tests.”

He noted that some error can happen due to analysis equipment and methodology but also due to the nature of home sampling will always create error and outliers.

“So the only way to overcome those areas is to increase the frequency of testing and the only way to increase the frequency for a consumer is to bring to bring the price point down to a more palatable level,” ​he said – noting that by looking at proxy’s that exist in other ubiquitous monthly subscription services like Netflix or Apple Music, for example, the company knew it had to aim for a price of between $10-15 USD for a microbiome analysis.

“So our starting price is 9 EUR or USD, with a regular price of 19 USD/EUR. With the goal of that price coming down to nine again within three years,”​ Cook said.

“The idea there is that we are giving consumers the ability now to get insights into their gut health that were not available before. Providing an alternative that increases the frequency of testing, which eliminates a lot of these errors.”

The CEO added that by allowing consumers to see the impact on their gut health in this manner, th monthly analysis allows them to test different dietary and lifestyle changes.

“So if they want to change something by taking a prebiotic or probiotic or start a new exercise regime - they can see the impact on their gut microbiome.”

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