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ROSEVILLE, Minn. (May 1, 2013) — William “Bill” McGuire, M.D., former chairman and CEO of UnitedHealth Group, has joined the board of directors of Rebiotix Inc.
The Roseville, Minn.-based biotechnology company is pioneering a practical and non-antibiotic treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) known as Microbiota Restoration Therapy (MRT). CDI has been linked to 14,000 deaths annually in the US, and has become the most common healthcare-associated infection in some parts of the country, surpassing Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. There are few evidence-based approaches to the treatment of multiple recurrent CDI.
“CDI is a major health problem with very significant implications in terms of morbidity, mortality and health resource utilization, and there are a lot of indicators that MRT could be a meaningful solution,” says McGuire, who joined the Rebiotix board of directors on March 1. “The company has re-engineered fecal transplants and has brought the technology far enough down the path that it’s not a pie-in-the-sky idea. There is the potential for real effectiveness here, and it’s quite novel as well. It is very exciting.”
Studies have shown that fecal transplant, the predecessor to MRT, is highly successful in curing recurrent CDI. However, it involves time-consuming donor screening and unappealing fecal sample preparation processes for the physician. MRT is designed to solve those problems.
The development of MRT has been spurred on by the Human Microbiome Project, a national research initiative which focused on the relationship between disease and changes in human microbial communities.
McGuire is best known for his tenure as chairman and chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group from 1991 to 2006. He joins Rebiotix CEO Lee Jones and two other board members: longtime venture capitalist and angel investor Erwin Kelen and medical device investor/entrepreneur and former Boston Scientific/Scimed President Michael Berman.
“Bill brings not only a phenomenal medical and scientific perspective to Rebiotix, but also world-class business experience,” says Jones. “His deep understanding of the healthcare system and his access to some of the very best people in theindustry will help us develop the company, our technology, and the evidence to support a commercial business.”
Rebiotix Inc. is a results-oriented biotechnology company revolutionizing the treatment of challenging gastrointestinal diseases, such as recurring Clostridium difficileinfection, by harnessing the power of the human microbiome. The Roseville, Minn.-based company is pioneering practical and non-antibiotic treatments that reverse pathogenic processes and restore healthy gut flora through the transplantation of live microorganisms. For more information, visit www.Rebiotix.com.