The biotech blitz: Seres Health lands $65M for PhIII C. diff push

You can count Seres Health among the wave of biotech companies starting the year with a big new round of venture cash. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech--which has set out to make its reputation in the trendy new microbiome space--said today that it raised $65 million from Nestle Health Science.

That money is earmarked for putting its lead program, SER-109 for preventing the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection, into Phase III. And there's enough money for more pipeline work on other projects.

In addition, The New York Times is reporting that Nestle and Flagship Ventures--which founded Seres--plan to jointly start a new incubator that will set out to spawn new companies focused on nutritional therapies as Nestle digs deeper into biotech.

Seres CEO Roger Pomerantz

Seres was one of the 2014 Fierce 15 companies. Founded in 2012 with Roger Pomerantz as CEO, the biotech put a high premium on clinical development progress. As Pomerantz told FierceBiotech last summer, SER-109 posted some impressive results in a Phase I/II study for Clostridium difficile infection, curing 29 of 30 patients with no major safety issues. And as the drug is made up of human bacteria, Seres cut out Phase IIb in plotting a short cut to pivotal studies.

Along with the gargantuan $450 million raised by Moderna, the tally for new venture rounds in biotech for today's report comes close to $600 million, which easily stands as a 24-hour record for the industry. The news precedes next week's big JP Morgan meeting after two years of record IPO exits and a blitz of new venture funds.

"Nestle Health Science has identified the microbiome as an area of strategic importance for our emerging novel therapeutics practice and we expect that investing in an industry leader like Seres Health will help us reach our ambitions of addressing health conditions in the area of Gastrointestinal, Metabolic and Brain Health," said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestle Health Science. "With its mission to produce innovative microbiome therapeutics for patients, Seres is an ideal investment for us as we move forward our goals of shaping new approaches to health management."

- here's the release
- here's the story in The New York Times

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2014 Fierce 15 - Seres Health