DermBiont, a clinical stage therapeutics company dedicated to the discovery and development of live bacterial products for the treatment of skin diseases has closed an $8M Series A.
The funding round was led by Zola Global Investors, Toba Capital, and Viking Global Investors. The financing proceeds will be used to fund ongoing clinical trials and discovery. “DermBiont is building a world class research and development organization with deep and relevant experience to discover and develop first-in-class skin microbiome therapeutics,” said serial dermatology entrepreneur Mark de Souza, Ph.D., CEO of Chromaderm and Interim CEO of Wings Therapeutics, who also participated in the round.
DermBiont is leveraging skin microbiome therapeutics to treat the root causes of skin diseases and is seeking to change the existing dermatology treatment paradigm of primarily targeting the symptoms of skin diseases. The company is advancing its lead live bacterial product, DBI-001, in clinical trials for the treatment of fungal skin infections, beginning with interdigital athlete’s foot, moccasin athlete’s foot, and onychomycosis. In addition, the company has a discovery platform based on a library of over 5,000 microbes isolated from human skin and one of the world’s largest data sets of Nextgen sequencing of the human microbiome across healthy and diseased skin. DermBiont’s discovery platform and capabilities grew out of the company’s tenure at the Illumina Accelerator in 2018.
DBI-001 is composed of a human derived strain of Janthinobacterium lividum in an aqueous gel formulation. A single application of this live bacterium has been shown in two independent laboratories in three species of amphibians to treat and prevent the acquisition of a lethal cutaneous fungal infection. The original animal studies were performed by DermBiont’s Chief Scientific Officer, Rob Brucker, Ph.D. and Scientific Advisory Board member Reid Harris, Ph.D. “It’s gratifying to see observations about J. lividum made in amphibians now being translated into human clinical trials,” added Dr. Brucker. J. lividum has been found in soil, water, the human food chain, and as part of the normal human cutaneous microbiome.
“DermBiont strives to achieve aggressive but possible timelines. Our philosophy and approach to drug discovery and development have enabled DermBiont to initiate clinical trials in multiple significant skin diseases in less than one year after raising a $750K convertible note and kicking off our tenure at the Illumina Accelerator. We are grateful and excited by the support of our investors who have enabled our progress to continue with this round of funding” said Karl R. Beutner M.D., Ph.D. Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of DermBiont.
The company expects to advance new live bacterial products into the clinic through ongoing work in bench science and bioinformatics. Logical prioritization of indications, a holistic sample collection strategy, efficient selection and screening of candidate strains, and Nextgen sequencing data analysis have already led to multiple hits across different indications with no adequate therapeutic options.
DermBiont was co-founded in 2017 by Karl Beutner, M.D., Ph.D., Robert Brucker, Ph.D, and Nichola Eliovits. The company was incubated and funded by Olive Tree Capital until joining the 7th cohort of the Illumina Accelerator program in mid-2018.
About the Human Microbiome
The human microbiome is the community of microbes that inhabit humans most commonly on the epithelial surfaces of the gut, skin, respiratory tract, oral cavity, and genitalia. A healthy microbiome helps protect against bacterial and fungal infections as well as regulate the adaptive and innate immune systems.