Skin disease biotech Azitra closes $2.9M Series A for microbiome work

Preclinical company Azitra has raised a small bag of cash in its Series A round as it looks to further its work using the skin’s own microbiome for new treatments in dermatology and skin infections.

The three-year-old Farmington, Connecticut-based biotech today closed a $2.9 million venture round led by Bios Partners, which brings its total amount of outside funding to $3.75 million.

Previous seed funding sources include Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs program that supports startups, alongside other nondilutive grants, including from the National Institutes of Health.

Azitra’s lead candidate, AZT-01, is a recombinant strain of a safe skin bacterium that secretes therapeutic proteins locally into the skin.

The big idea is that these bacteria, when applied topically on the skin, can colonize the skin and restore the microbiome, all the while treating the skin condition with therapeutic proteins.

Azitra says that the funding will allow it to push on with work for its platform across a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, atopic dermatitis, MRSA, rare genetic skin diseases and cosmetic applications. 

“The current approach of only addressing a disease’s symptoms alone is ineffective, and the microbiome is a nascent area of ground-breaking science that has enormous potential,” said Azitra co-founder Travis Whitfill.

“That’s why we were passionate about launching a commercial organization that harnesses the power of the skin’s own microbiome to develop a new kind of dermatology treatment. Such treatments are potentially safer, more highly targeted, and work better with fewer side effects than what’s currently available for often intractable conditions.”

The closing of its Series A comes on the same day that another microbiome biotech, Finch Therapeutics, penned a new deal with Takeda for research on FIN-524, a microbial cocktail for inflammatory bowel disease.