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uBiome Raises $83M with Plans to Enter Drug Development


The company uses genomics and AI to improve health.

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The latest genomics company to score a big payday is San Francisco’s uBiome, which announced today the closure of an $83 million Series C financing round, a sum that is poised to push the business into drug discovery.

The microbial genomics innovator aims to “advance the science of the microbiome and make it useful to people,” according to uBiome. It uses precision sequencing and artificial intelligence (AI) to create wellness products, therapeutic targets and clinical tests, amassing a trove of more than 200 patent assets related to everything from sample collection and lab automation to computational methods.

>> READ: Lost in the CRISPR Hype, a Gene-Editing Giant Is Fighting Back

Not long ago, when uBiome was founded in 2012, it offered only a test to improve consumers’ knowledge of their microbiomes. From there, the company expanded to clinical laboratory testing — and this latest injection of funding puts uBiome in a position to grow once again.

“This is the next step in the evolution of uBiome,” notes Jessica Richman, Ph.D., the organization’s co-founder and CEO, in a press release.

That next step is drug research and development, an effort that will be aided by the company’s large microbiome database, existing patent assets and research partnerships, “not data sales,” uBiome says.

Bryan Johnson, co-founder of OS Fund, the venture capital group that led the round, says uBiome is suited for the task.

“uBiome is radically transforming what we understand and how we interact with the trillions of organisms that make up our microbiome,” he notes in a statement. “uBiome is the perfect example of the deep tech — hard science plus technology — that OS Fund focuses on, galvanizing groundbreaking ecosystems and new research opportunities to emerge.”

The company will also use the money to expand its product line, commercialization efforts and clinical profile.

In addition to OS Fund, uBiome received support from 8VC, Y Combinator, Dentsu Ventures and other investors.

The financing round boosts its total amount raised to $109.9 million, according to the startup tracker Crunchbase.

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