Mi­cro­bio­me test mak­er uBio­me cuts 55 jobs to sharp­en fo­cus on drugs, part­ner­ships — CN­BC

Jes­si­ca Rich­man (uBio­me)

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A Cal­i­for­nia-based start­up called uBio­me, which maps the ecosys­tem of mi­crobes in the body to de­vel­op tests eval­u­at­ing gut and vagi­nal health, is re­port­ed­ly cut­ting 55 jobs from its 300-per­son work­force.

Found­ed in 2012 via a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign that raised more than $350,000 to fa­cil­i­tate a mi­cro­bio­me study, uBio­me has since at­tract­ed fund­ing from Y Com­bi­na­tor, 8VC, OS Fund and has hauled in more than $100 mil­lion in ven­ture cap­i­tal.

The com­pa­ny has laid off 30 work­ers in the Unit­ed States, and a fur­ther 25 over­seas, CFO Joel Jung and CEO Jes­si­ca Rich­man told CN­BC, adding that the lay­offs came about as the com­pa­ny fo­cus­es its re­sources on drugs and part­ner­ships with drug­mak­ers.

A num­ber of drug de­vel­op­ers such as Seres, Re­bi­otix and Vedan­ta are hop­ing to har­ness the in­sights gained from gut mi­cro­bio­ta to de­vel­op drugs. Glob­al­ly, hun­dreds of tri­als are un­der­way test­ing the po­ten­tial of fe­cal trans­plant ther­a­py — which in­volves the trans­fer of stool flush with healthy mi­crobes — in­to pa­tients suf­fer­ing from var­i­ous ill­ness­es from autism to obe­si­ty.

Mean­while, uBio­me — which counts a num­ber of lead­ing sci­en­tists from UCSF and Har­vard, in­clud­ing ge­neti­cist George Church, on its sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board — has re­leased a hand­ful of tests de­signed to gauge mi­cro­bial health.

Their first test — called Ex­plor­er — was de­vel­oped to help in­di­vid­u­als learn more about their mi­cro­bio­me us­ing DNA se­quenc­ing. Since then uBio­me has launched more tar­get­ed tests, de­signed to eval­u­ate gut health, vagi­nal health and the mi­crobes that may be im­pli­cat­ed in pa­tients’ flu symp­toms.

Last year, the com­pa­ny’s board re­ceived con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion when uBio­me re­cruit­ed for­mer con­tro­ver­sial No­var­tis CEO Joe Jimenez to the board via in­vestor 8VC.

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How Clini­cReady by Aus­tralian CRO Avance Clin­i­cal de­liv­ers pre­clin­i­cal project man­age­ment and sci­en­tif­ic and reg­u­la­to­ry ad­vice to get biotechs in­to clin­ic faster.

Avance Clinical has formed a dedicated scientific and regulatory affairs service, ClinicReady by Avance Clinical, in response to increased demand from biotechs for preclinical study management and scientific and regulatory advice to take their products to first-in-human trials.

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Minoryx will receive an upfront and milestone payments of up to $78 million, as well as double digit royalties on annual net sales 

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President Donald Trump and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn (AP Images)

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