Biology company Viome Life Sciences has raised $54 million in pre-series C convertible funding to research aggressive cancers and chronic diseases and, ideally, come up with early-stage diagnostics and therapeutics for those ailments.
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Most people know Bellevue, Washington-based Viome from its consumer-facing product, a kit packaged in a sleek black or white box, in which customers can place biological samples—blood and stool—the company can test to offer a slew of individualized recommendations about how to change one’s diet and supplement intake to feel better or age more gracefully.
But in its recent funding round, the company is focused more on its work to advance its mRNA technology and AI platform as well as its partnership with biopharma company GSK to conduct clinical trials and develop therapeutics to target health issues like Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic diseases and mental health conditions.
Viome founder and CEO Naveen Jain hopes one day the platform can help detect a long list of cancers in their earliest stages, including pancreatic, bile, breast, head, neck and shoulder cancers, among others.
“We thought ‘What are the diseases that we can diagnose early, where we can have a significant impact on humanity?’” Jain said in a recent interview. “Obviously, cancer is one of those. I lost my dad to cancer, so it was really meaningful to me to be able to do something about it.”
Already, Viome’s partnership with GSK has proven fruitful: The pair got Food and Drug Administration breakthrough device designation for its platform to screen for early-stage oral cancer and throat cancer. The two companies also recently announced a clinical validation trial to develop new therapeutics for some cancers and autoimmune diseases.
The recent round brings Viome’s total raised funds to more than $125 million. Its returning investors include Khosla Ventures, WestRiver Group, Glico, Physician Partners and Bold Capital Group. Ocgrow Ventures joined the list of investors this round and its founder and CEO, Harish Consul, will become a board observer for the startup.
The startup’s work will “help solve the root causes of so many chronic diseases to benefit all humanity,” Consul said in a statement. “Viome is rapidly scaling to become a global leader in the longevity space to promote better health outcomes today and for our future generations with exceptional innovation.”
Although Viome doesn’t offer any COVID-19-specific diagnostics or treatments, its sales grew during the pandemic as people around the world thought more deeply about their individual health, Jain told Crunchbase News.
The company recently relocated its laboratory operations to a 25,000-square-foot location in Bothell, Washington, that has given Viome space to grow its capacity and expand to 15 new countries (Australia, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden). It is currently able to get test results back to customers within two weeks.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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