CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Synlogic, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of therapeutic microbes, today announced the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has joined Atlas Venture and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in the previously announced Series A funding round of the company, providing validation of the broad potential of novel engineered bacteria for therapeutic use. Along with developing its technology platform and proprietary therapeutic applications, Synlogic will collaborate with the Gates Foundation on applications relevant to the developing world.
"We are excited to work with Synlogic in such an encouraging area of breakthrough science," said Trevor Mundel, president of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Synlogic's technology platform could lead to new therapies for some of the most severe diarrheal diseases, the second-leading cause of death for children in developing countries."
Jim Collins Ph.D., co-founder of Synlogic, received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant in 2012 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while at Boston University, for his work engineering a probiotic bacterium to detect and kill cholera in the intestine. The Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations initiative funds innovative, early-stage projects that could one day save and improve lives in developing countries. Synlogic, in collaboration with Dr. Collins and Tim Lu M.D., Ph.D., of at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has expanded the breadth of this platform by developing applications addressing a range of high unmet medical needs both in the developed and developing world.
Concurrent with the financing, the company announced two additions to its Leadership Team. Paul Miller, Ph.D. has joined the company as Chief Scientific Officer and Alison Silva has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Miller is an experienced leader with extensive training in the field of microbial genetics. He brings more than 20 years of scientific, operational, and strategic drug discovery expertise from his tenure at several of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. Ms. Silva has extensive experience in regulatory affairs, clinical development, and manufacturing in the engineered microbial therapeutic space, including at Cequent Pharmaceuticals and Marina Biotech.
"Paul is an exceptional pharmaceutical leader and brings deep expertise to the Synlogic team as he directs the discovery and development of our portfolio of breakthrough therapies; Alison brings a wealth of regulatory and operational experience in bringing a therapeutic microbe into clinical trials," said Peter Barrett, Partner at Atlas Venture and Chairman of Synlogic. "Both join a talented and experienced executive team and will be great assets to the company as we grow our internal pipeline, while also supporting partnering activities for our next-generation technology."
Prior to joining Synlogic, Dr. Miller was Vice President of Infection Biology Research at Astra-Zeneca where he led a diverse team of scientists contributing to anti-infective discovery, development and translational research at the company's Boston R&D site. Previously he held a series of positions of increased responsibility at Pfizer, most recently serving as Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for Antibacterials Research where he was responsible for all antibacterial research activities through early clinical development, as well as collaboratively establishing R&D strategies for the disease area. He received his undergraduate degree in biology from LeMoyne College and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology for The Albany Medical College where he studied the genetics and bioenergetics of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis as a model development system. Following four years of post-doctoral studies on yeast molecular genetics at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Miller joined the Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research Division of Warner-Lambert Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Prior to joining Synlogic, Ms. Silva held the position of Chief Operation Officer, SLA Pharma, a GI-oncology focused biotech, primarily responsible for heading up their U.S. corporate and clinical operations in support of their pipeline of orphan drug candidates. Previously, she was the Vice President, Drug Development at Marina Biotech through its acquisition of Cequent Pharmaceuticals in 2010. At both companies, Ms. Silva was responsible for the chemistry manufacturing controls , regulatory affairs and clinical operations supporting the advancement of an engineered microbe for treatment of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. She is also the co-founder of The Orphan Group, a specialty rare disease consulting firm. Ms. Silva began her career in drug development in clinical operations in various positions at Pfizer, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Massachusetts. She holds a B.S. in Biology and Mathematics from Clark University, and a M.S. from Clark University and UMass Medical Center.
About Synlogic Inc.
Synlogic is a private, biotechnology company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts focused on delivering the potential of next generation synthetic biology to patients. Synlogic leverages the most advanced technology platform available for the creation of therapeutic microbes with the goal to make significant advancements in the treatment of disease. Founded in 2014, Synlogic is backed by world-class life science investors, including Atlas Venture, New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information, please visit http://synlogictx.com/.