Malin backs another microbiome upstart as Artizan breaks out of ‘covert’ role

Richard Flavell

The hot R&D field centering on the microbiome has spawned yet another biotech upstart

Artizan Biosciences, a spinout from the lab of Yale’s Richard Flavell, has emerged from a brief covert stint under the radar with two prominent backers and a plan to tackle inflammatory bowel disease as its first of many targets.

Based in Durham, NC with labs in New Haven, CT, Artizan is helmed by James Rosen, a former InterSouth partner who had handled VC investments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Malin says it bagged a 32% equity stake in Artizan after joining Hatteras Venture Partners in a Series A.

Malin didn’t say how much it paid for that stake, but Artizan filed a Form D last October noting that it had raised $3 million of a planned $5 million in seed cash.

James Rosen

“Artizan Biosciences is a new biotechnology company — operating covertly for a while, but looking forward to sharing more soon,” noted Rosen on his LinkedIn page.

The microbiome has been attracting tens of millions of dollars in investment cash over the last couple of years, funding startups like Axial. Seres is the furthest along in the clinic, with plans for a do-over after a failed Phase II raised doubts for everyone in the sector.

They’re investing in new technology out of Flavell’s lab that claims to be able to distinguish “certain pathogenic bacteria” that plays a big role in digestive ailments. And the same science, they add, can be used to treat diseases as diverse as obesity, CNS diseases and lung disease.

Said Flavell in a statement:

“Our goal to build Artizan into a sustainable, highly innovative and potentially disruptive biotechnology company that, with tangible clinical progress, will offer new therapeutic options for patients suffering from a wide variety of diseases. We intend to be a leader in the microbiota-driven inflammatory diseases space, which is both broad and far reaching.”

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