Microbiome CNS upstart launches with $19.15M Series A

The Series A financing was led by Longwood Fund and Domain Associates.

Longwood Fund and Domain Associates have led a $19.15 million funding round for newco Axial Biotherapeutics with the aim of creating new treatments for an array of CNS disorders by harnessing the gut microbiome.

It starts life with exclusive, global rights to a new class of CNS biotherapeutics from the Mazmanian Laboratory at Caltech.

Axial said its focus will be to “translate these discoveries into a unique class of microbial-targeted biotherapeutics that could become breakthrough therapies for a variety of neurological diseases and disorders, including ASD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.”


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Its fundamental approach will come from leveraging the work of its scientific founder, Professor Sarkis Mazmanian, which uses the gut microbiome to help treat diseases and disorders of the central nervous system, specifically to build a microbiome discovery platform targeting the gut-brain axis.

The Series A financing was led by Longwood Fund and Domain Associates, with Kairos Ventures, Heritage Medical Systems and a group of “high net worth individuals” based in Southern California also taking part.

Venture partner at Longwood Fund David Donabedian, and former GSK and AbbVie vet, becomes the biotech’s new CEO and board director.

“I look forward to developing this world class science into treatments which have the potential to help patients where limited treatment options are available,” said Donabedian.

“There is mounting evidence that the gut microbiome is implicated in brain development and neurological health and we believe we are at the forefront of generating new avenues for microbiome-targeted therapeutic interventions in multiple neurological diseases and disorders.” 

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