uBiome, a San Francisco, CA-based microbial genomics company, raised $83m in Series C financing.
The round was led by OS Fund, with participation from 8VC, Y Combinator, Dentsu Ventures, and additional new and existing investors. In conjunction with the funding, Joseph Jimenez, the former CEO of Novartis, joined uBiome’s board of directors to support therapeutics development.
The company intends to use the funds to:
– enhance and expand its product portfolio
– leverage insights gained by building a large 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
Founded in 2012 by Jessica Richman, Ph.D., CEO, uBiome combines its patented proprietary precision sequencing™ with machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop wellness products, clinical tests, and therapeutic targets.
Its 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.
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 a large human microbiome database, with over 250,000 samples (the largest in the world by 25x), projected to grow to more than one million samples in 2019.
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.
The company also opened its new therapeutics headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, both to support its new drug discovery and development efforts.