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24 October, 2018 - 10:11 By Tony Quested

French dressing takes Microbiotica haul to £12m

A Cambridge startup at the heart of a new biomedicines phenomenon – the microbiome – has won £4 million of new investment from Paris-based Seventure Partners to take its early funding haul to £12m.

Microbiotica, based at the Wellcome Genome Campus, was only founded in 2016 but is already collaring a European lead in microbiome technology –  researching the body’s trillions of resident bacteria to improve diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of disease including enteric infections, autoimmune disorders, metabolic disorders, cancer and neurological disease.

Seventure Partners, a specialist investor in the microbiome, has joined founding backers Cambridge Innovation Capital and IP Group by committing the new £4m.

Microbiotica was founded to develop transformational technology developed at the Sanger Institute. The UK business reports rapid progress in developing a unique capability to culture, characterise and phenotype the majority of a patient’s gut bacteria, enabling the precise association of bacteria to function at clinical trial scale.

CEO Mike Romanos said: “The microbiome represents a paradigm shift which requires the re-evaluation of almost every aspect of biomedicine. 
“Microbiotica’s world-leading microbiome culture collection and reference genome database enable unprecedented precision of gut bacterial identification and provide the foundation for the company to develop its own pipeline of microbiome-derived therapeutics and biomarkers.”

Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO of Seventure Partners, added: “We have watched Microbiotica make dramatic progress in implementing its vision and believe the company has developed a powerful set of capabilities for biomarker and therapeutic discovery in the microbiome field.

“We believe that the company has the potential to become a global leader in this fast-growing area, led by a strong and ambitious management team with considerable depth of expertise and experience, and are excited to be involved in helping realise this potential.”

Microbiotica is commercialising ground-breaking research into the role of the human microbiome in health and disease and its application to medicine conducted in the Host-Microbiotica Interactions Laboratory at the Sanger Institute.

The company was founded by Dr Romanos, Dr Trevor Lawley and Professor Gordon Dougan, FRS. It has already engineered a strategic collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the field of inflammatory bowel disease as well as with University of Adelaide to develop a defined product for ulcerative colitis.

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