Gut check

French biotech company raises €6.2M for gut microbiome R&D

Jim Cirigliano
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BORDEAUX, France—French biotech company LNC Therapeutics announced that it has successfully raised €6.2 million (about $6.82 million) to advance its gut microbiome drug discovery platform. The company achieved the fundraising via a capital increase and non-dilutive funding.
The new capital increase of €4.9 million ($5.39 million) came from the company’s historic shareholders, which include French venture capital firm Seventure Partners and a new family office.
The €1.3 million ($1.43 million) in non-dilutive funding came from two sources. The company was awarded €500,000 ($550,000) in funding through a regional grant from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France, where LNC Therapeutics is headquartered, which funds innovation through regional grants. The company also obtained €800,000 ($880,000) from the French public investment bank BpiFrance as part of its Generation Deeptech plan. BpiFrance introduced the Deeptech program in January 2019 to support French start-ups developing breakthrough technological innovations capable of meeting actual major challenges and to make France more competitive, particularly in scientific sectors.
“We are delighted to have secured this funding, which shows the confidence that investors have in our unique technology and expertise,” said LNC Therapeutics CEO Georges Rawadi in a media release. “We are particularly proud to have been selected by BpiFrance to take part in its Deeptech program, which acknowledges the technological innovation developed by French companies such as LNC Therapeutics. We’re also grateful to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region for its support.”
LNC Therapeutics will use the newly raised capital to further its clinical development of Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBPs). LBPs are a new class of drugs that contain living organisms, such as bacteria, that are being used to treat diseases with major unmet medical needs. LNC Therapeutics is currently focusing its R&D efforts on the bacteria family Christensenellaceae. The company acquired an exclusive license from Cornell University for its Christensenella patent family in October 2018.
Christensenella is a genus of bacteria that was first described in 2012. Multiple studies have suggested that these bacteria, found in the gut microbiome, play an important role in human health and may offer benefits in treating obesity as well as metabolic and inflammatory bowel diseases.
The company will use the funding to advance its LNC01 program, which aims to develop LBPs based on a unique Christensenella strain to treat obesity and metabolic diseases. LNC Therapeutics intends to file an Investigational New Drug application and begin Phase 1 clinical trials in 2020.
The company will also use a portion of its new funding to continue its LNC02 program, which focuses on studying these bacteria and identifying new therapeutic applications via its proprietary research platform, deployed in June 2019. This platform is designed to hone LNC Therapeutics’ expertise by exploring the mechanisms of action and interactions between Christensenella bacteria and the host. The program includes researchers specialized in microbiology, cellular biology and molecular biology implanted at the Plateforme Technologique d’Innovation Biomédicale (PTIB), which is connected to the University of Bordeaux and the Xavier Arnozan hospital in Bordeaux, France. LNC Therapeutics intends to discover new therapeutic applications and to extend its product pipeline through this research and development program.
“We are more confident than ever that the gut microbiome can play a strong therapeutic role in human health. This is a quickly growing sector in which the research is progressing every day,” stated Rawadi. “With the introduction of our new R&D platform in early June and the licensing of patents relating to Christensenella’s therapeutic applications, LNC Therapeutics will actively pursue its strategy of developing the first Live Biotherapeutic Product based on the gut microbiome.”

Jim Cirigliano

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