ProDigest and CosmosID announce a winner for the ‘Gut Microbiome Therapeutic Innovation’ challenge

13 May 2021by Manoj Dadlani

The El Aidy lab from the Department of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology, University of Groningen, has won the GMTI challenge. Their submission titled “Role of anti-Parkinson’s Disease medication in enhancing bacterial overgrowth and community dynamics along the gastrointestinal tract” has been selected to benefit from a pre-clinical, gastrointestinal SHIME® study, including sample processing, strain-level ID and functional characterisation of the microbiome with the CosmosID platform.

May 19, 2020 6am GMT

GHENT, Belgium & ROCKVILLE, Md. – ProDigest and CosmosID announce today the winner of the GMTI challenge. The El Aidy lab from the university of Groningen, won the challenge with their submitted research plan to investigate the “Role of anti-Parkinson’s Disease (PD) medication in enhancing bacterial overgrowth and community dynamics along the gastrointestinal tract”. The project will be conducted on ProDigest’s gastrointestinal SHIME® platform. Upon intake of anti-PD medication, the shifts in the microbial saccharolytic and proteolytic activity will be measured, and the taxonomic and functional modulation of the gut microbiota will be assessed by sequencing and analysis with CosmosID’s industry-leading microbiome analysis pipeline.

“We were very enthusiastic about the response from companies and universities. We received almost 50 submissions from all corners of the world. The decision was not an easy one,” said Dr. Pieter Van den Abbeele, CSO of ProDigest and part of the reviewing committee. “The project submitted by professor El Aidy addresses the growing question of the role of the microbiota in the Parkinson’s Disease and of drug-bugs interactions. Combining the SHIME technology with our recent development of the ileal community will be key to properly evaluate those interactions. CosmosID’s microbiome analysis platform will provide in-depth taxonomic and functional analysis of the shifts in the microbial community.”

Manoj Dadlani, CEO of CosmosID, commented: “Professor El Aidy’s proposed study touches on two exciting areas of research; the Gut-Brain Axis as well as pharmacomicrobiomics. Studies like this are crucial for understanding how drugs are metabolised, the link between the microbiome and patient response as well as investigating prevalent gastrointestinal side effects associated with many medications in this area of medicine. CosmosID is excited to explore the compositional and functional implications of existing and novel PD medications.”

“I am very delighted to have received the joint SHIME/CosmosID pre-clinical study award,” said professor Sahar El Aidy “Together with the advanced microbiome sequencing technology at CosmosID, the highly developed compartmentalization of the SHIME in vitro model that ProDigest provides, would be ideal for us to study pre-clinical effects of anti-PD medication on the gut microbial community and how this, in turn, impacts the level of drug absorbed in the upper intestinal tract.

ProDigest’s SHIME® technology platform is an established, validated in vitro simulator of the gastrointestinal tract. The power of this technology relies on an accurate simulation of the full gastrointestinal tract with a proximal-distal segmentation of the colonic microbiota. Earlier this year, the SHIME has been further improved including a simulation of ileal microbiota to uniquely address the least accessible region of the gut. The SHIME is ideally suited for assessing the impact of various therapeutics on a diseased gut microbiota.

The CosmosID bioinformatics platform combines the world’s largest curated reference database of microbial genomes with proprietary analysis algorithms and machine learning tools to accurately and rapidly identify & characterise microorganisms within a metagenomic sample. By generating high-quality, standardised NGS data at CosmosID’s CLIA & GLP facility, new insight can be gained from studies utilizing metagenomics.

The El Aidy lab at the University of Groningen aims to identify which gut bacterial metabolites can improve or impair communication with the host gut-brain axis and effectiveness of drug treatments. Their systematic approach considers bacterial sensing of compounds, their metabolisation and communication with the host relying on those metabolites.

More information about offerings from ProDigest and CosmosID are available on the ProDigest and CosmosID websites.

About CosmosID

CosmosID®, based in Rockville, MD, provides solutions unlocking the microbiome through the use of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) and industry-leading bioinformatics solutions to achieve rapid identification and characterisation of microorganisms for pharmaceutical R&D, molecular diagnostics, public health, food safety, agriculture, and environmental applications.                 CosmosID’s 11+ years of expertise enables end-to-end support of microbiome studies including study design, sample collection, sample preparation, NGS, bioinformatics and interpretation support. Available online, CosmosID’s cloud-based metagenomics application offers user-friendly access to the world’s largest curated database for microbial genomics and independently validated to return metagenomic analyses at strain-level resolution with industry-leading sensitivity and precision. To learn more, please visit

About ProDigest

ProDigest is a CRO focused on preclinical gastrointestinal research. At the centre of each project is the SHIME technology, the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem. This unique in vitro gastrointestinal simulator accurately recreates the physiology of the host as well as the gut microbiota along the various regions of the colon. Food and pharma products can then be investigated for a multitude of research questions, ranging from delivery strategy and stability to functional and compositional modulations of the gut microbiota and the impact on the gut barrier. The SHIME provides mechanistic information that funnels product development and complement clinical findings. ProDigest’s expertise covers the investigation of prebiotics, probiotics, live biotherapeutic products, phages, APIs and other orally administered compounds. More information available at

Manoj Dadlani

Mr. Manoj Dadlani serves as Chief Executive Officer at CosmosID, Inc., the Maryland based provider of industry-leading solutions for unlocking the microbiome. Previously, Mr. Dadlani served as a partner at Applied Value Group, a management consulting and investment firm, and was co-founder and CEO at Rasa Industries, Ltd., a leading beverage manufacturing company. Mr. Dadlani has substantial experience in strategy, M&A, supply chain management, product development, marketing and business development. Mr. Dadlani received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biological Engineering from Cornell University. Services offered by CosmosID’s CLIA certified and GLP laboratory cover the entire workflow from study design to sample collection, extraction, library preparation, sequencing, data analysis and publication support. CosmosID’s cloud-based metagenomics application offers user-friendly access to the largest curated databases for microbial genomics, antimicrobial resistance and virulence data and has been independently validated to return metagenomic analyses at strain level resolution with industry-leading sensitivity and precision.