Funding round led by Sequoia Capital.
Microbiome therapy company Whole Biome is developing a product that has clinical efficacy but, essentially, the safety of a probiotic, according to CEO Colleen Cutcliffe. Along with co-founders Jim Bullard and John Eid, Cutcliffe has developed a technology for comparing deep sequencing data from different populations in order to create metabolic maps that indicate which microbes are missing in patients with certain diseases.
This information is then used to develop products that Whole Biome is calling “medical probiotics” –– products that have not received FDA approval but have proven clinical efficacy.
The first product it is hoping to commercialize (WBF-011) will be for people with type 2 diabetes. The company says it has data (not published) from placebo-controlled clinical trials that show that the treatment achieved a reduction in A1C and glucose spikes when taken along with the standard metformin regimen. This product supplies fiber-metabolizing microbes that people with type 2 diabetes theoretically lack and are important for triggering the GLP1 response, which is involved in regulating glucose and insulin. WBF-011 will be marketed as a medical food, which the company hopes will begin in 2020. Other products under investigation target irritable bowel syndrome and other disorders.
The company has attracted significant interest –– enough, in fact, to complete a successful $35M Series B financing round with Sequoia Capital leading in investment. Other participants included True Ventures, Khosla Ventures, the Mayo Foundation, AME Cloud Ventures and others.