The company plans to use the funding to support its various microbiome-based drug development programs in oncology, food allergy and bacterial infection.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of several organizations funding the latest round of financing for a company that is developing microbiome-based drugs in several indications.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Vedanta Biosciences said Monday that it had raised $27 million in a Series C round. In addition to the Gates Foundation, other participants include drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb, Rock Springs Capital, Invesco Asset Management, Seventure Partners and PureTech Health.
The company said it plans to use the funding to support development of its various product candidates, including the Phase I/II VE416 in food allergy and VE800, which is in a Phase Ib/II study combined with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo in advanced or metastatic cancers. The company also started a Phase II study of VE303 in recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.
According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the VE303 study was posted to the clinical trials database on Thursday. The company has another candidate, VE202, which it is developing under a partnership with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen division for inflammatory bowel disease, according to its pipeline page.
Vedanta contrasts its approach with fecal transplants or fractions as involving the development of bacterial strains that effect “robust and durable therapeutic changes” in patients’ gut microbiota.
A number of other companies developing drugs in the microbiome space have been raising capital as well. In June, Kaleido Biosciences raised $101 million in a Series C round that also included participation by Rock Springs Capital. And in September, San Francisco-based uBiome raised $83 million in its own Series C round. A report in June by Transparency Market Research forecast that the global human microbiome market could be worth nearly $1.9 billion by 2026.
The Food and Drug Administration has taken notice as well. In September, the agency and the National Institutes of Health cosponsored a workshop on microbiome-based products that included topics such as their safety and efficacy, strain selection and the regulatory framework for them.
Date: December 31, 2018