Pfizer and Roche invest in microbiome research company


Second Genome has raised $42.6 million in series B financing, with the help of round leaders Pfizer and Roche Venture Fund.

The San Francisco-based microbiome specialist will now put the money towards expanding its Microbiome Discovery Platform – a drug discovery platform that combines computational biology, genomics and phenotypic screening to identify causative factors in human disease – into further disease indications, specifically those relating to barrier function, insulin sensitivity, and immune regulation.

Some funding will also go towards human proof-of-concept studies of the small molecule inhibitor SGM-1019 in relation to the potential treatment of inflammation and pain in ulcerative colitis.

"The progress made by our team to date has allowed us to attract significant interest from a premier group of investors, including Pfizer Venture Investments and Roche Venture Fund," said Second Genome's CEO Peter DiLaura, "This financing will enable us to accelerate our efforts to scale our unique microbiome discovery platform and reach several major inflection points, including key milestones for the SGM-1019 clinical program and other therapeutic programmes."

Pfizer and Roche's investment in Second Genome continues pharma's recent interest in computational-genomics integration, following the recent unveiling of AstraZeneca's new 'integrated genomics approach' collaboration with Human Longevity, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Institute for Molecular Medicine, Finland. The AstraZeneca-led collaboration will take advantage of vast amounts of digital data and its integration with machine learning technologies to aid in novel therapeutic production. 

The funding round included the likes of new investors Digitalis Ventures, Adveq, LifeForce Capital, MBL Venture Capital, and Mayo Clinic, along with existing investors Advanced Technology Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Seraph Group, and Matthew Winkler, Ph.D. The combined investment total in the company now stands at $59 million.

As part of the new funding, Executive Director of Pfizer Venture Investments Elaine Jones and Head of Roche Venture Fund Carole Nuechterlein will join the Second Genome Board of Directors.

Marco Ricci

25 April, 2016