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Synthetic biology start-up CC Bio has raised £890,000 ($1.2m) seed funding from Cambridge, UK-based CMS Ventures to accelerate development of its innovative approach to infection treatment and prevention.
The funding will be used to further develop CC Bio’s microbiome editing technologies, which harness potent enzymes derived from bacterial viruses (bacteriophage) to precisely seek out and destroy harmful and disease-causing bacteria. This precision medicine approach is expected to provide an effective alternative to antibiotic treatment of infections and microbiome-associated disease — as well as potentially preventing many such infections occurring in the first place.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) patients are set to be among the first to benefit from the CC Bio approach. “BV represents a major global challenge,” said Dr. Matthew Cummings, co-founder and CEO of CC Bio. “Many women face persistent and recurring episodes of the condition, which not only affects their self-esteem and confidence but also carries significant pre-natal health risks such as miscarriage and an increased STI risk. This funding will further develop our revolutionary technologies, offering effective alternatives to women who have been underserved by poorly functioning antibiotic therapies.”
Oral/vaginal antibiotic therapy is the current treatment for BV infections — but antibiotics fail to eliminate the bacteria responsible for BV and restore the natural vaginal bacterial community (microbiome).
Another initial target for CC Bio’s novel approach is cystic fibrosis. Additional developments based on the company‘s core platform technology may also prove a lifeline for sufferers of a whole range of other bacterial infections — and provide a weapon to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
“Science is beginning to piece together how the trillions of microbes that live on and in all of us — our microbiome — affect our physical health,” said CMS Ventures investment committee member Andy Clark, who is joining the CC Bio board as investor director. “CC Bio is operating at the cutting edge of this nascent scientific field, which has the potential to transform the lives of millions of patients whilst also reducing healthcare costs around the world.”
CC Bio was a winner of the LifeArc Accelerate@Babraham Award in 2020 for “most progressed venture” — part of an initiative to support ambitious early-stage life science ventures within the Babraham Research Campus community. The company was also a winner of the AstraZeneca StartUP Science Competition in 2019.