Protocols

Thiel-backed Azitra raises $3M for skin microbiome R&D; Crushed by clinical failure, Aviragen launches strategic review

Travis Whitfill

→  Farmington, CT-based Azitra has raised close to $3 million in a Series A designed to fuel its research on microbiome therapies for the skin. Seeded by Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs, the company identified a strain of bacteria that can be used in lotions to treat conditions like eczema and staph infections. Bios Partners led the round. “The current approach of only addressing a disease’s symptoms alone is ineffective, and the microbiome is a nascent area of groundbreaking science that has enormous potential,” said Azitra co-founder Travis Whitfill. “That’s why we were passionate about launching a commercial organization that harnesses the power of the skin’s own microbiome to develop a new kind of dermatology treatment. Such treatments are potentially safer, more highly targeted, and work better with fewer side effects than what’s currently available for often intractable conditions.”

→ Cambridge, MA-based Sentien Biotechnologies closed a $12 million Series A investment round. The financing was co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund USA and BioInnovation Capital, and joined by Chiesi Ventures, MBL Venture Capital and Mass Medical Angels. The Series A round will be used to fund initial clinical development of Sentien’s SBI-101 for the treatment of acute kidney injury.

→ Atlanta-based Aviragen has begun a strategic review after a clinical failure left the biotech mired in penny stock territory. In back-to-back setbacks, Aviragen Therapeutics $AVIR said that its lead drug vapendavir flunked a Phase IIb in moderate to severe asthmatics with a rhinovirus infection. Everything is on the table, including a merger, in-licensing and an acquisition.

→ A new bill providing tax credits for contract research has been filed in the House of Representatives. The legislation, if ever passed, would benefit CROs.


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