U.K-based Microbiotica, a discovery and development company focused on microbiome-based therapies, announced it has closed a £50 million ($67 million) series B financing round co-led by Swedish life science investor Flerie and Tencent, a global technology investing company. According to Microbiotica, the private financing is the largest investment round for a microbiome-focused company in Europe to date.
“This major fundraise is a substantial validation of both our team and our world-leading technology,” noted Mike Romanos, co-founder and CEO of Microbiotica in a press release. “We are fortunate to have the support from new and current investors who have recognized the importance of the microbiome’s therapeutic potential and Microbiotica’s unique capabilities.”
Proceeds of the latest round of investment will be used to advance the company’s two lead candidates MB097 and MB310 into Phase Ib clinical studies. Both candidates are Live Bacterial Therapeutics (LBTs) which are designed to manipulate the composition of the microbiome for a therapeutic effect.
“We will also expand our portfolio of microbiome-based products which have the potential to benefit patients globally,” Romanos added.
MB097 is a fully defined LBT comprising a consortium of bacteria at the core of Microbiotica’s clinical microbiome signature, which is predictive of patient response to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. MB310 is a fully defined LBT comprising a consortium of bacteria for the treatment of ulcerative colitis that has shown promising results in a fecal transplant clinical study. Both MB097 and MB310 are by the company’s highly accurate clinical microbiome profiling platform which links consortia of bacteria with clinical trial outcome data. These candidates have also been validated and mechanistically characterized pre-clinically through in vivo efficacy data and ex vivo human cell data.
Microbiotica is a 2016 spinout of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and is currently focused on developing microbiome-based biomarkers and therapeutics targeting both cancer and irritable bowel diseases (IBD). The company’s core, proprietary technology platform leverages comprehensive gut bacterial isolation; its Culture Collection and Reference Genome Database—which the company says is the leading database of gut bacterial genomes; and advanced bioinformatics and machine learning tools.
The newest investment comes as new sequencing tools and bioinformatics capabilities have improved to allow for a much more robust understanding of the microbiome and how the thousands of living bacteria interact with each other.
“There is ever increasing evidence that the microbiome plays an important role in human health and in multiple diseases, providing completely new therapeutic opportunities in biomedicine,” said Carl-Johan Spak, senior advisor at Flerie Invest. “We believe that Microbiotica’s world-leading platform, comprising their unique microbial genomes database, advanced microbiology and bioinformatics will lead to breakthrough results and transformational medicines in the microbiome field.”
Microbiotica has a range of partnerships and collaborations designed to further develop its platform. In 2020, it inked a deal with Cancer Research UK and Cambridge University Hospitals focused on immune-oncology and in 2018 it signed collaborations with University of Adelaide for ulcerative colitis and also with biotech giant Genentech.