Microbial genomics company uBiome has raised $83m in series C funding to expand world’s largest human microbiome database and advance product portfolio, including drug discovery & development.
OS Fund led the round, with participation from 8VC, Y Combinator, Dentsu Ventures, and additional new and existing investors.
The microbiome plays a vital role in every aspect of health – it has been correlated with a wide range of conditions and can provide insights into predispositions to diseases ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to metabolic disorder to cancer.
uBiome combines its patented proprietary precision sequencing with machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop wellness products, clinical tests, and therapeutic targets.
uBiome’s mission is to advance the science of the microbiome and make it useful to people. The Company has over 200 patent assets, including seven issued patents in the United States relating to sample collection, laboratory automation, computational approaches, and molecular techniques, as well as diagnostic signatures and therapeutic targets.
It has the largest human microbiome database, with over 250,000 samples (the largest in the world by 25x), projected to grow to more than one million samples next year.
uBiome co-founder and CEO Jessica Richman said: “This is the next step in the evolution of uBiome. We started with a simple wellness product to help people understand their microbiomes, expanded to clinical laboratory testing in 2015, and are now poised for expansion.
“This financing allows us to expand our product portfolio, increase our focus on patent assets, and further raise our clinical profile, especially as we begin to focus on commercialization of drug discovery and development of our patent assets.”
The Company’s commercial products include SmartGut, a doctor-ordered stool test that identifies microbes in the gut for patients with chronic gut conditions such as IBD, IBS, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis; SmartJane, a doctor-ordered women’s health test that genotypes all 19 clinically relevant strains of HPV, identifies four common STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and mycoplasma genitalium), and surveys more than 20 vaginal microbes associated with bacterial vaginosis and other conditions; and Explorer, a consumer product to understand the role that food and lifestyle can play in gut wellness.
uBiome has partnered with more than 200 research institutions around the world, including the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California, San Francisco, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford University, and the University of Sydney.
Proceeds of the financing will be used to:
- Enhance and expand the Company’s product portfolio
- Leverage insights gained by building largest microbiome database to expand into drug research and development using pre-existing patent assets and industry research collaborations, not data sales
- Accelerate and expand commercialization of SmartGut, SmartJane, Explorer and other clinical tests under development, including companion diagnostics
- Begin commercialization of biopharma molecules and live biotherapeutics based on mining of existing IP
OS Fund co-founder Bryan Johnson said: “uBiome is radically transforming what we understand and how we interact with the trillions of organisms that make up our microbiome.
“uBiome is the perfect example of the deep tech — hard science plus technology — that OS Fund focuses on, galvanizing groundbreaking ecosystems and new research opportunities to emerge.”
Source: Company Press Release