This one is going to be a marketing challenge

There’s a new company with a dream: Fitbiomics. They aim to make a probiotics sports drink.

FitBiomics™ is a sports biotechnology company spinning out of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. We utilize next-generation sequencing to understand what makes elite athletes unique. In particular, we’re sequencing the microbiome of elite athletes to identify and isolate novel probiotic bacteria for applications in sports performance and recovery. We are purifying these novel probiotics and commercializing as ingredients to disrupt the sports nutrition market and cater to the next generation athlete.

Oooh. “Disrupt.” When the revolution comes and we truly disrupt the system, the people who use “disrupt” to describe peddling overpriced water are going to be among the first against the wall.

But hey, here’s a better translation from corporate-speak.

Certain bacteria show up more often in the poop of elite athletes than in the poop of sedentary people. So researchers theorized that a probiotic elixir containing components of elite athlete poop could help boost athletic performance and become the next hot sports drink.

Yeah. That’s going to be fun, selling Poopwater, the drink of champions.

Note, however, that they haven’t actually done any science to back up any claims of benefit. The guts of people who produce lots of lactate through exercise contain bacteria that thrive on lactate does not in any way imply that Dennis Kimetto’s performance is driven by his well-honed, skilled, disciplined poop.

Also, Fitbiomics looks rather dodgy. It doesn’t actually exist.

The Fitbiomics website lists Scheiman as CEO and Church, his mentor, as co-founder. To be more precise, Scheiman could become the CEO… if Fitbiomics gets funded. You see, Fitbiomics is not actually a company, at least not in the eyes of Harvard and the Wyss Institute. I stumbled on that surprise when I asked Mary Tolikas, Wyss Institute Director of Operations, why I couldn’t find any official disclosure of a financial interest on the part of Scheiman or Church (as distinct from their informal personal declarations).

“There is no company. There is no licensing agreement. There are no IP [intellectual property] assets or financial assets,” Tolikas said. She added that if they do seal a deal, they will move their work out of the Wyss Institute. Wyss Institute Administrative Director Ayis Antoniou also told me by email that faculty are required to disclose their financial interests and move their work out of the institute when they execute a licensing agreement with Harvard. “Prior to the financial interest being created, there is no conflict in the research activities under way, and thus no need for disclosures,” Antoniou wrote.

So it’s a placeholder website, with 10 employees, that has no scientific data backing up their premise, but this is apparently what the big name scientists are doing nowadays, corporatizing their results before they’ve got them.


  1. ajbjasus says

    Sounds like nonsense to me, and PJ COmments about the corrolation between gut bacteria and athleticism cannot be evidence of a causative effect is well made. However I’m not sure that the lactate example is a good one as I don’t think lactate produced during exercise is excreted by teh gut in a healthy individual. I stand to be corrected.

    On teh subject of new age woo though, it appears Gwyneth’s jade egg is being taken to a whole new level :

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Healthy body. Produces many biomes.
    Does NOT imply those biomes produced the healthy biomes.
    Worth investigating the —correlation— to determine —causality—
    To often the two are swapped

  3. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Typo galore
    “…Biomes produce healthy BODY”
    “TOO often the two…”

  4. Cuttlefish says

    Marketing challenge? I had the slogan for this, years ago: “Eat Shit And Live!”

    It practically sells itself.

  5. steve1 says

    My Doctor tells me I need a Fecal mater transplant to rid me of a persistent c diff infection. He says it works nearly 100% of the time however the insurance company considers it experimental and wont cover it.They want about $8,000 up front for it. I am stuck with an ineffective antibiotic regiment. There is hope I will qualify for a fecal matter transplant study that would be free. There is also a web site called the that can walk you thru how to safely do your own home brew fecal transplant. The do it yourself fecal transplant doesn’t really appeal and may not be safe but maybe if I have to I will get up the nerve.

  6. doubtthat says

    Pretty clear there’s a big market opportunity, here. The world just doesn’t have enough ways to get diarrhea.

  7. cartomancer says

    I don’t know about their faecal matter drink, but their advertising puff is a very effective emetic and cure for low blood pressure.

  8. some bastard on the internet says

    Duth Olec #8

    Well, if Trump gets his way, we may have some delicious irony to go along with the revolution.

  9. blf says

    I’ve taught the kids to wash their hands

    Collect the wash / rinse “waste” water, homeopathetically dilute it (the kids can shake it for you), and sell for $profit$!

  10. devnll says

    So researchersMarketing Dept. theorized wildly guessed that a probiotic elixir containing components of elite athlete poop could help boost athletic performance and become the next hot sports drink.

    Fixed that for you.