Our story begins over a decade ago, when now-CEO Zack Abbott was working at an HIV research lab. There, he learned about how new, enzyme-based drugs could improve human health in profound new ways. However, he also learned that enzymes were so expensive to make that their scope was limited outside of serious drug development.
But what if we could make enzymes cheaper? What if, Zack thought, we could produce these powerful, useful enzymes directly in your gut using engineered probiotics? Then we could use this technology to solve a much wider set of problems!
Fast forward 7 years, a PhD, and some clinical trial design experience, and Zack had the expertise he needed to get things started. He founded ZBiotics in 2016, and today, that vision has become a reality.
Zack is the inventor of our proprietary technology and sets the vision for ZBiotics. Zack has a PhD in microbiology & immunology from the University of Michigan, where he enjoyed his research untangling complex and elegant webs of bacterial gene regulation. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, where he double-majored in immunology and classical art & archaeology, paid his rent in tips from bartending at the Bear’s Lair, and was on a national championship-winning Cal rugby team. Prior to starting ZBiotics, Zack worked in clinical trial design as well as researching HIV vaccines and pursuing novel antibiotics in both academia and industry. Zack was born and raised in Sacramento, CA, and he is hella proud of his Norcal roots.
John leads research and development at ZBiotics, with a focus on new product development. John has a PhD in organic chemistry with an emphasis in biotechnology from UC Davis. After his PhD, John was a postdoctoral scholar at Harvard Medical School and worked at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering as part of a multidisciplinary team working on engineering the human microbiome. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UC Irvine. Before joining ZBiotics, John launched Syntrophix, a DNA-design-as-a-service startup, and worked previously on technology for repetitive stress injury (RSI). John was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, and was raised on a sheep and beef farm. John plays guitar and is an avid wood-worker, often spending weekends in his wood shop crafting art and furniture. Most importantly, though, John recently became a new father with a beautiful baby girl!
Stephen oversees the operational, regulatory, and financial aspects of ZBiotics. Stephen holds a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, an MBA from the Wharton School, and a bachelor’s degree in political economy from Princeton. Prior to ZBiotics, Stephen's career focused on corporate real estate and new market entry for companies like Ben & Jerry's, Pfizer, and Unilever. Stephen grew up in southern California, where he developed a lifelong passion for food and cooking on his family’s avocado and lemon farm.
Kat runs marketing and growth at ZBiotics. Kat has a bachelor’s degree in product design from Stanford’s School of Engineering, a discipline that focuses on uncovering people's needs and creating solutions to meet those needs. Before joining ZBiotics, Kat built her professional career in video games, leading marketing teams and strategic vision on some of the industry’s most well-known brands, including Assassin’s Creed and Words With Friends. A touring vocalist in her past life, a painter in her free time, and someone known to occasionally dance with fire, Kat’s creativity is rivaled only by her passion for science.
At ZBiotics, we live by a core set of shared values: service to others, integrity, respect for science, and active citizenship.
They are the guiding principles for everything we do and a rubric for every decision we make. Exemplifying these values does not mean checking a box; it means forever pushing ourselves to live up to them.
We’re microbiologists, chemists, and researchers committed to using genetic engineering to improve people’s everyday lives in real, visceral ways. This product is just the beginning. We’re using the same technology to build new enhanced probiotics, each with their own specific function. Sound exciting? Check out our Careers page. We’re growing.