Lumen Biosciences closed a $16 million Series B funding round that will support the development of its three clinical programs aimed at C. difficile, norovirus and traveler’s diarrhea.
The funding round was co-led by new investor WestRiver Management and returning investor Bioeconomy Capital, with additional participation from existing investors Avista Development, Columbia Pacific, Lumen’s founders, and Seattle-area angels. The Series B brings Lumen’s total equity to $68 million. In 2017, the company raised $11.2 million in a Series A financing round and also secured an additional $1.8 million from a U.S. Department of Energy grant.
Funding from the round will be used to support the development of its three clinical programs, including its most advanced asset for traveler’s diarrhea, which is in Phase II. The asset, LMN-101, is a cocktail of neutralizing monoclonal antibody-like protein biologics designed to bind and neutralize the primary causes of traveler’s diarrhea: the bacterial pathogens Campylobacter jejuni and enterotoxigenic E. coli, according to information on the company’s website. Lumen completed a Phase I study with LMN-101 and anticipates moving into Phase II in 2021.
Lumen aims to bring its norovirus candidate into the clinic and is completing in vivo efficacy studies for its Clostridioides difficile asset.
Lumen Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Brian Finrow said the company’s “rapid progress” into clinical studies “reflects the power of our unique drug development environment to find solutions to treat and prevent common diseases that afflict hundreds of millions around the world each year.”
In addition to moving its assets forward in development, Seattle-based Lumen also commissioned its dedicated cGMP manufacturing plant, which is currently manufacturing approximately 3 kg of drug material per week for the company’s clinical and pre-clinical programs, sufficient for all of its planned clinical development programs.
Lumen’s approach to drug manufacturing includes the genetic engineering of spirulina, a type of blue-green algae, which the company claims allow for the “rapid and low-cost mass production of new biologic drugs at a small fraction of the cost of traditional batch-fermentation technologies.”
George Montgomery of WestRiver Management, said the company’s innovative technology platform allows it to generate a sustainable pipeline of novel therapeutics addressing major unmet needs.
“The rapid progress that Lumen has achieved in target identification, development, and manufacturing is remarkable, and we are pleased to support Lumen’s mission to expand the use of its biologic drug technology into new treatment areas that were previously blocked due to biologics delivery challenges or cost and scalability issues,” Montgomery said in a statement.