Carbiotix’s latest funding round point to closer ties between the gut and pharma

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Swedish-based Carbiotix continues to build on its gut health testing activities, having closed its latest funding round, bringing the total raised to date at €1m over the past 4 years.

The personalised nutrition firm, which focuses on gut health solutions and microbiome therapeutics, has come a long way since its inception back in 2015 from offering prebiotics, to recently adding low-cost gut health testing services.

“Our plan is to raise an additional round in the second half of the year to support Carbiotix microbiome therapeutics development activities as we prepare for clinical studies in 2020,” ​said Kristofer Cook, CEO of Carbiotix.

“We believe that the data we have generated from our latest study and continue to collect through our low cost gut health testing services will result in high efficacy microbiome modulator therapeutics.”

The four-month study, which began at the end of last year, has enrolled 600 people to look at the impact of increased soluble fibre consumption on gut health, measured using the firm’s Fiber Loving Bacteria (FLB) index or gut health metric.

The study intends to demonstrate the application potential of the StudyGut platform, by dividing participants into four groups: high blood sugar, joint pain, gastrointestinal distress and acne, with three sub-groups consisting of a control, moderate and an elevated dose of soluble fibre.

Microbiome metabolic profile

While the study results are expected soon, Cook said along with its AXOS soluble fibre, isolated bacterial strains and novel delivery mechanisms, the microbiome modulator therapeutics created could address rare and leading metabolic and chronic conditions by optimizing each person’s microbiome metabolic profile.

“It is now time to realize this potential by pursuing rare disease therapeutics as far as we can and partnering with leading pharmaceutical companies to address leading diseases," ​he said.

Carbiotix, which closed its first external seed financing round at the beginning of 2019, revealed that a second pre-seed financing round raised €450,000 Euros. Participating in that round were the current owners as well as a local business angel.

News of Carbiotix’s activities is one example of the convergence seen between the microbiome, nutrition and pharma in which the industries form ever-closer ties in their overlapping areas of research and business.

Only last week Chr. Hansen applied its microbiome expertise in the pharma arena as the firm entered a collaboration​with Lonza to produce live biotherapeutic (LBP) products to address a range of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular conditions.

Last month, French-based LNC Therapeutics revealed details of its efforts in developing a drug candidate targeting the gut microbiota and its role in energy metabolism and the onset of obesity and metabolic disorders.

Microbiotica and Genentech

Other health conditions such as acne, psoriasis, allergies and gastrointestinal ailments were the focus of an agreement​​ between UK-based Microbiotica and Roche-owned biotechnology group Genentech.

The two firms agreed to pool resources in the hunt for new microbiome-based therapeutics and biomarkers for its inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) pipeline.

Inked in June last year, the deal looks to harness artificial intelligence (AI) to hunt for biomarker signatures of drug response, new live bacterial therapeutics and novel targets for IBD.

The deal is Genentech’s second in the microbiome space in the month, after the firm previously paired up with Lodo Therapeutics to search for new medicines based on microbial DNA found in soil.

Further signs of the microbiome’s lucrative opportunities and the interest shown by venture capitalists (VC) are realised in the form of Health for Life Capital II (HFL II) - Seventure Partners’ microbiome-focused fund.

It announced its first close after raising over €200m in finance. According to Seventure Partners, the new fund has attracted new investors including a US-based global food ingredient provider.

Previous investors from the first fund (HFL) that raised €160m have included Danone and Novartis.

The heightened interest in gut health innovation and food tech mirrors events observed in the retail industry​ where supermarkets are teaming up with private health care companies to offer information on food and diet in order to compile personalised nutrition regimens.

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