The funding, co-led by Tencent and Flerie Invest, is considered the largest microbiome-related financing in Europe to date, and also includes participation from British Patient Capital, Cambridge Innovation Capital, IP Group and Seventure.
“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,” comments Carl-Johan Spak, Senior Adviser 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.”
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor therapy
One of Microbiotica’s two lead oral LBPs, MB097 is a blend of bacteria comprising nine key species from the signature predictive of patient response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor therapy.
The LBP has shown anti-tumour efficacy in a mouse model with the bacteria demonstrating multiple immuno-stimulatory mechanisms in human immune cell assays, leading to tumour cell killing in vitro.
Micorbiotica is also working on MB310, an LBP comprising a consortium of bacteria for the treatment of UC identified as being linked to remission in a UC faecal transplant clinical study.
“This major fundraise is a substantial validation of both our team and our world-leading technology,” comments Mike Romanos, Co-Founder and CEO of Microbiotica.
“We are fortunate to have the support from new and current investors who have recognised the importance of the microbiome’s therapeutic potential and Microbiotica’s unique capabilities.
“With this additional investment, we will be able to conduct clinical trials with our lead products in immuno-oncology and ulcerative colitis,” he adds.
“We will also expand our portfolio of microbiome-based products which have the potential to benefit patients globally.”
In 2018, the Cambridge-based firm began collaborating with Roche-owned biotechnology group Genentech in the hunt for new microbiome-based therapeutics and biomarkers for its inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) pipeline.
The multi-year contract uses artificial intelligence (AI) to hunt for biomarker signatures of drug response, new live bacterial therapeutics and novel targets for inflammatory bowel disease using Microbiotica’s gut microbiome Reference Genome Database and Culture Collection.
The deal is Genentech’s second in the microbiome space in the past month, after the firm previously paired up with Lodo Therapeutics to search for new medicines based on microbial DNA found in soil.
Commenting on the latest funding round, Robert Tansley, Partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said: “We are delighted to have seen the progress made by Microbiotica since our initial investment.
“Microbiotica’s unrivalled capability to culture and characterise all gut bacteria from patients at scale coupled with its suite of impressive bioinformatic and machine learning tools makes the Company a leader in the microbiome field.
“We are delighted to continue to support the company as it applies its platform to address important diseases areas with precision medicine.”