Solarea Bio raises $15M in series B funding round
The clinical-stage biotechnology company headquartered in Cambridge, MA, has secured $15 million in a Series B financing round led by S2G Ventures. S2G Ventures is an impact investment company that combines financial returns with positive long-term social and environmental outcomes.
The funding, which also saw participation from Bold Capital Partners, Viking Global Investors, and GG 1978 SICAF SIF, a closed-ended investment fund focusing on pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies, marks the first closing of the round.
Solarea Bio will be utilizing the capital for the commercial launch of two medical foods developed to address bone health and rheumatoid arthritis through food-derived microbial-based solutions, with the aim to reach the final stage financing target of $25 million.
Neal Bhadkamkar, general partner at Bold Capital Partners and board director commented: “The company's rich database and strain library positions it to introduce a stream of future products addressing other important health conditions. “It is heartening to see the evolution of Solarea Bio from its beginnings at the Illumina Accelerator.”
Illumina Accelerator, a business accelerator focused on creating an innovation ecosystem for early-stage genomics startups, welcomed Solarea Bio in 2017 in the accelerator's sixth funding cycle.
Founded in 2017, Solarea Bio's focus on the characterization of beneficial microbes found naturally in fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Most people are unaware of the staggering microbial diversity in fresh fruits and vegetables," said Gerardo V. Toledo, CEO and co-founder of Solarea Bio. “These microbes have not been well characterized, in part due to the technical challenges of purifying microbes from a plant matrix, but they are as diverse as those found in intestinal or freshwater habitats.”
The company has created a collection of food-derived microbes and a computational platform to uncover their genomic potential in reducing inflammation.
These microbes are transformed into rationally designed synbiotic consortia, known as Defined Microbial Assemblages (DMAs), which are combinations of food-derived microbes and prebiotic fibres that are designed to reduce inflammation.
The company's first product to launch is SBD111, a medical food designed for the dietary management of bone loss in postmenopausal women.
It previously exhibited significant bone maintenance in a mouse model of postmenopausal osteoporosis. The study reported that the product demonstrated a safety and tolerability profile comparable to placebo in healthy subjects.
The authors of the study concluded: “SBD111 at the level tested is safe for human consumption and that SBD111 microbes are able to pass through the intestinal tract, be identified in stool, and enrich microbial gene pathways related to bone health.”
Currently, an additional study is ongoing to demonstrate its effects on maintaining bone mass in postmenopausal women.
Solarea's second medical food product, SBD121, is aimed at aiding in the dietary management of rheumatoid arthritis and is scheduled to undergo a human study later this year.
Chronic inflammation is common in aging and is associated with health issues like osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and other inflammatory conditions.
The gut microbiome has been suggested as a regulator of the skeletal system, influencing immune responses.
Microbes in the gut produce substances that impact inflammation and immune mediators involved in maintaining bone balance.
The effect of intestinal flora on bone health can be mediated by metabolites. The intestinal flora can digest soluble grain fiber in the diet into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), lowering the pH of the gut, contributing to calcium uptake, and inhibiting the formation of osteoclasts, which are the cells that degrade bone and mediate bone loss.