Donors may receive up to $1,200 per month
A for-profit biotech company based in Massachusetts is expanding into Tempe, Arizona, and it needs the community’s poop.
Seres Therapeutics, which will establish a new 11,845-square-foot donor collection facility in Tempe, is working on a treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection that requires a constant supply of healthy human poop.
“Everyone has to do their business”, the company’s website says. “Make sure yours does some good”.
Seres Therapeutics collects the stool through a program called GoodNature, which invites “donations” of stool from local citizens aged 18 to 50, however, “donors” are actually compensated for their efforts. They can earn any from $25 to $75 for each poop donation.
According to officials with Seres, a publicly listed business that operates GoodNature stool collection programs in Irvine, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass., donors may receive up to $1,200 per month for their time and poop. However, the company highlighted that not everyone who chooses to give will be eligible.
Healthy people must have regular bowel movements, with ages from 18 and 50, be of normal weight, not smoke, and have no history of gastrointestinal disease or alcohol or drug misuse. Individuals who are pregnant are likewise ineligible to donate.
According to Alex Murray, the company’s vice president of manufacturing and supply chain analytics, Seres Therapeutics chose Tempe after a national search for a third GoodNature stool collection site.
“We looked for folks based on lifestyle and demographics, mainly in terms of age, general fitness level, and culture in the area”, Murray said. “As we went out to visit a shorter list of different opportunities, being really close to Arizona State University, the level of activity and innovation in public health in the community just made a really good fit”.
Potential donors are subjected to a series of tests. Company officials must ensure that the donors’ microbiomes contain the microorganisms required for the Seres treatment, among other things.
Ideally. According to Murray, the company is looking for frequent donors who are willing to visit the location many times per week to donate their stool. The Tempe location will exclusively be used for the GoodNature program and there will be no manufacturing activity.
Seres’ therapy does not involve fecal transplants, which is another reason why individuals provide stools. A fecal transplant is a procedure in which a healthy person’s feces is transplanted into the gastrointestinal tract of a sick person, usually with Clostridium difficile (C. diff.).
Seres, on the other hand, analyses human feces and puts them through a manufacturing process in order to develop an oral microbiome treatment for the cure of persistent C. diff infections. Murray noted that healthy stool contains bacteria that can repopulate the patient’s intestines and potentially prevent diseases like C. diff from returning.
C. diff is a bacteria that causes severe diarrhea and can be fatal in those who are on antibiotics. C. diff is expected to cause about half a million infections and nearly 30,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Seres treatment has been under development for about a decade and has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but Murray said that is the goal. Officials at the company claim that their therapy has already shown potential in phase 3 of the clinical trial.
The poop payouts are an added bonus and because they participate in the program long enough, some donors have received up to $10,000 in a year, according to Murray.
Most people who donate their stool to GoodNature, on the other hand, appear to be driven by the purpose of using a network of healthy donors to help patients in need, he added. Donors, according to Murray, are people who are passionate about helping others.