Startups, Venture

Food-sourced microbiome drugs get $101M megaround for Flagship’s Kaleido

Mining food for safer sources of chemistry, microbiome startup Kaleido has closed a $101 million megaround to push its pipeline through the clinic.

Noubar Afeyan

The company, founded by Flagship back in 2015, is tackling rare genetic disorders, metabolic disease, oncology, and other disease targets. And it’s got four programs already in early-stage clinical trials. Kaleido says its trials are rapidly advancing thanks to two factors: its R&D engine lets the company study the human microbiome in a lab setting, and its compound library includes “sources of chemistry predominantly found in foods, significantly reducing safety concerns.”

“We believe Kaleido has the potential to break the mold of traditional therapeutic product development,” said Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, in a statement. “In just three years Kaleido has conducted 10 human clinical studies, produced a robust pipeline and assembled a world-class leadership team.”

The company’s pipeline includes two Phase II trials in hyperammonemia, a metabolic issue characterized by excessive ammonia in the blood.

Kaleido noted a key difference between its research and others in the field. To date, companies developing microbiome drugs have focused on adding or subtracting bacteria to influence the microbes in the gut. Kaleido, instead, is “developing novel chemistries to systematically drive functions of the microbiome organ.”

Interestingly, this megaround included sovereign wealth from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a fund owned by Emirate of Abu Dhabi whose main source is financial surplus from oil exports. Other investors in the round included  Fidelity Management and Research Company, Invus, and Rock Springs Capital, along with Kaleido’s founder, Flagship Pioneering.

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