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26 August, 2021 - 20:25 By Tony Quested

Bacteria blitzer CC Bio wins £890k to fast-track personalised cures

Award-winning synthetic biology start-up CC Bio has raised £890,000 seed funding from Cambridge-based CMS Ventures to accelerate development of its innovative approach to infection treatment and prevention.

The funding will be used to further develop CC Bio's groundbreaking microbiome editing technologies which harness potent enzymes derived from bacterial viruses (bacteriophage) to precisely seek out and destroy harmful and disease-causing bacteria. 

This precision medicine approach is expected to provide an effective alternative to antibiotic treatment of infections and microbiome-associated disease – as well as potentially preventing many such infections occurring in the first place.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) patients are set to be among the first to benefit from the CC Bio approach. 

“BV represents a major global challenge,” said Dr Matthew Cummings, co-founder and CEO of CC Bio. “Many women face persistent and recurring episodes of the condition, which not only affects their self-esteem and confidence but also carries significant pre-natal health risks such as miscarriage and an increased STI risk.

“This funding will further develop our revolutionary technologies, offering effective alternatives to women who have been underserved by poorly functioning antibiotic therapies.”

Oral/vaginal antibiotic therapy is the current treatment for BV infections – but antibiotics fail to eliminate the bacteria responsible for BV and restore the natural vaginal bacterial community (microbiome). 

Ultimately, more than 50 per cent of women experiencing symptomatic BV experience a relapse of the condition within six months of therapy.

“Our novel approach of highly selectively eliminating 'bad' bacteria from the wider microbiome holds the promise of not only effectively treating conditions such as BV but also potentially preventing them occurring in the first place or recurring,” said Dr Cummings.

“This technology has the potential to transform life for the millions of women around the world who suffer with BV, effectively addressing the most common vaginal infection of women of childbearing age.”

Along with BV, another initial target for CC Bio's novel approach is cystic fibrosis – a chronic genetic respiratory condition which affects tens of thousands of people worldwide. 

Additional developments based on the company's core platform technology may also prove a lifeline for sufferers of a whole range of other bacterial infections – and provide a weapon to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

CMS Ventures investment committee member Andy Clark is joining the CC Bio board as investor director,

He said: “Science is beginning to piece together how the trillions of microbes that live on and in all of us – our microbiome –­ affect our physical health. 
“CC Bio is operating at the cutting edge of this nascent scientific field, which has the potential to transform the lives of millions of patients whilst also reducing healthcare costs around the world.”

CC Bio was a winner of the LifeArc [email protected] Award in 2020 for 'most progressed venture' – part of an initiative to support ambitious early-stage life science ventures within the Babraham Research Campus community. The company was also a winner of the AstraZeneca StartUP Science Competition in 2019.

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