041: Colleen Cutcliffe, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of Pendulum: Microbiome-derived Medicine, Control Blood Sugar & Improve Your Sleep [Particularly Wake-Ups!]

Your gut health plays a big role in not only your health but your sleep! Our microbiome contributes to digestion, gut lining, metabolism, and ultimately sending signals to the brain for things like blood sugar levels and cravings. These then causing a roller coaster effect on your mood, performance, and sleep quality. Some factors such as food intake, stress, aging, and drugs like antibiotics can change the microbiome dynamic in your body, and sometimes causing it to disappear. Various strains of the microbiome are pivotal in metabolism that its absence can increase risks of pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. However, more drug intake to solve these problems can cause further damage to the microbiome. Therefore, Colleen Cutcliffe, Ph, D, created Pendulum Therapeutics, a medicine that has the efficacy of a drug but maintains safety like probiotics. The clinical trials have shown this to be effective in monitoring glucose levels for various types of people, which in turn, also improves their sleep quality.

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Colleen Cutcliffe, Ph.D., is co-founder and CEO of Pendulum Therapeutics, a biotech startup in San Francisco. The company’s mission is to fill the chasm that exists between unregulated supplements and prescription drugs. In this middle ground, Colleen envisions a future in which medicines are derived not from chemistry but one of nature’s greatest gifts: the human body’s microbiome.

The safety and effectiveness of the company's first microbiome-bolstering probiotic, Pendulum Glucose Control, is welcome news for more than 120 million Americans living with diabetes and prediabetes, struggling to control their blood sugar.

Colleen’s pursuit is personal. Her daughter was born nearly eight weeks premature, spending the first month of life hooked up to machines. Doctors loaded her up with antibiotics, which is the standard, often lifesaving, a protocol for preemies. But the antibiotics wreak havoc on babies’ microbiomes and could result in chronic conditions as adults [source]. Now 12 years old, Colleen's daughter already suffers from gut issues and food sensitivities that no one else in the family has.

There has to be a better way – therapies that spare the microbiome while treating chronic conditions – and Colleen is determined to forge a new path. Prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms are keen to help her: Sequoia Capital, True Ventures, and Khosla Ventures have invested $57 million since 2014.

Colleen received a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in biochemistry from Wellesley College. She completed her postdoctoral research at Northwestern Medicine’s Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Colleen lives in Menlo Park, Calif., with her husband, two daughters, and two rambunctious dogs.

In this episode, we discuss:

💊Colleen’s Background and Her Daughter’s Story Behind the Creation of Pendulum: A medicine that has the Efficacy of a Drug, but with the Safety of Probiotics to Control Blood Sugar Level.

💊The Effects of Antibiotics on Metabolism and Food Sensitivity.

💊Microbiome Mechanism of Action in Metabolism Problem and Sending Blood Sugar Signals.

💊A Decade of Research at Pendulum Therapeutics: A Product that Targets Microbiome Alteration.

💊The Process in Clinical Trials and Timeline of the Microbiome to Show the Effects.

💊The 2-way Street Relationship of Bad Blood Sugar Level and Bad Sleep.

💊What Includes in the Products of Pendulum Therapeutics: A Consultation Program with a Nutritionist to Pair Your Diet Preference with Pendulum Products.

💊A Blinded Self-Experimentation Journey by Colleen in Testing Her Own Product.

💊Gut and Brain Connection: How it Affects Cravings, Moods, and Daily Performance.

💊The Difference Between In-Store Probiotics and Pendulum is Knowing the Strains' Function, Not Just the Numbers.

💊Colleen’s Sleep Routine, Gratitude, and Turn Over Moment.

💊Akkermansia: The Latest Keystone of Microbiome Strain Discovery that You Could be Lacking

💊How to Get Microbiome Testing and More Information on Pendulum Therapeutics.

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