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Viome snags $87M Series C to fuel microbiome tests

Kimberly Chin
Aug 21, 2023
Illustration of bacteria forming the shape of a dollar sign.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Viome Life Sciences, a biotech company that analyzes the human microbiome, wants to bring its at-home, RNA-based diagnostic tests to more retail shelves.

Driving the news: To fuel this expansion, Bellevue, Wash.-based Viome closed an $86.5 million Series C.

  • The investment was co-led by Khosla Ventures and Bold Capital, with WRG Ventures participating.
  • The company has raised $175 million to date.

The big picture: The gut health testing market is estimated to reach $12.5 billion in 2025, per PitchBook.

  • Many startups zeroing in on the microbiome have emerged, offering personalization in consumer products such as skin care, hair care and nutrition.

What's happening: Viome's gut-health testing kit is rolling out to around 200 CVS locations nationwide and online.

What's next: Viome will shortly announce two acquisitions of companies in a similar space that "have very good science," CEO Naveen Jain tells Axios.

  • Acquisitions will be one prong of its strategy as Viome aims to launch "more and more personalized products," such as customized toothpaste, skin cream and shampoo, Jain says.
  • Viome acquired the personalized nutrition business Habit from Campbell Soup Co. in 2019.

How it works: The company's testing kits use mRNA sequencing technology and artificial intelligence to identify and analyze an individual's biomarkers for various chronic diseases and conditions.

  • These insights can then be used to provide nutrition recommendations and supplements.
  • The company has a robotic compounding pharmacy that creates supplements for each individual.
  • Jain says that all of Viome's data points are validated by peer-reviewed efficacy papers, and every single "score" about a person's body and symptoms aligns with Viome's large database of biomarkers.

Zoom in: Last month, Viome debuted its oral health test for consumers, which uses saliva samples to create personalized dental disease-prevention plans.

  • Next month, it will release an oral test that dental professionals can use with their patients.

The intrigue: The company received an FDA breakthrough device for accelerated review designation for its oral cancer test kit.

What they're saying: With the new funding, Viome can "keep building the applications on these platforms really, really quickly and iterate and get them out in the marketplace," Jain says.

  • "Our goal is to continue to personalize everything for everyday life," he says.

Of note: The underlying RNA sequencing technology comes from the Los Alamos National Lab, the government-backed research and development laboratory, Jain says.

  • The company's chief science officer Momchilo "Momo" Vuyisich is a Los Alamos lab vet, while its chief technology officer and head of AI, Guruduth Banavar, worked at IBM Watson.

Check out Viome's deal history in the Axios Pro Deals Tracker.

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