Leen Kawas Highlights the Importance of Microbiome Research

The Co-founder of Athira Pharma and one of the leading innovators in the process of developing drug candidate ATH-1017, Dr. Leen Kawas, has spent a large portion of her career in front of the public spotlight. More than just a successful chief executive officer and president, Dr. Kawas has put her efforts and time into leading innovation in new areas, most recently that of the microbiome of babies and its potential multigenerational applications.

Kawas has since founded Propel Bio Partners and is on a mission to spread the word regarding the importance of The Microbiome of Babies. This subject has fascinated scientists and venture capitalists alike.

To discuss her work with Propel Bio Partners, Kawas appeared on a podcast hosted by Sal Daher named Angel Invest Boston. Let’s explore this conversation while seeking to better understand Kawas and her role at Propel.

Venture Capitalists Generate Innovation

Dr. Leen Kawas has long been a member of the medical research field, first breaking into the industry with a successful run as Athira’s Chief Executive Officer from January 2014 until 2021. Kawas says that her work with Propel Bio Partners is part of a new venture fund most recently established in March 2022. Kawas says, “I transitioned into the investment world with the idea that we wanted to help entrepreneurs be successful.”

To help bring potentially life-changing applications to life, Kawas and Propel Bio Partners have worked steadfastly to scour the industry for areas of untapped potential. This would lead Kawas to work with the San Diego-based company Persephone Biosciences.

Kawas said during her podcast interview, “I think Persephone exemplified the type of companies that we’re looking for. They have firm scientific founders that are very pragmatic and focused on creating value for the patients and the investors.”

Entering the Probiotics Pipeline

Dr. Kawas has been excited about the work done at Persephone Bioscience because of its potential implications for the future. Specifically, Dr. Kawas and Persephone have been analyzing the biome of children. Kawas added, “This highlights how much interest there is in scientifically based infant probiotics. Here, Persephone understands the impact of C-section, vaginal birth, breastfeeding, and formula.”

During her appearance on the podcast, Kawas and the host went into detail on the potential benefits that the information could provide. “Persephone is starting with understanding the architecture, the cytokines that are important in having a healthy gut microbiome for infants and adults, and even patients.”

Outside of her work with Propel Bio Partners, Dr. Leen Kawas is an internationally recognized bioscientist. Dr. Kawas previously worked with Athira Pharma as their Chief Executive Officer, guiding the company toward multiple drug candidates before achieving its IPO.

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