A biotech startup spun out of the Medical College of Wisconsin says it has discovered a new way to treat diabetes. Milwaukee-based Rose Biosciences was founded in January 2021 and is planning to open up its seed funding round this year.

While studying the relationship between metabolism and bacteria within the microbiomes, Dr. John Kirby, PhD and chair of Microbiology & Immunology at MCW, discovered a unique molecule that influences host metabolism. That molecule, named RB014, is found within bacterial communities in the human body and can influence metabolic rates within those communities.

“Current treatments for obesity focus on diet, exercise, and pharmacologic options that influence satiety or appetite. The problem with the current options is that they don’t address biological or genetic factors for obesity, and many of the existing medications have known safety issues and high costs,” said Dr. Kirby. “Our discovery of specific genetic elements that regulate metabolism will transform obesity care by harnessing the power of the bacteria within us.”

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