Metagen Therapeutics (President and CEO: Taku Nakahara, PhD; Headquarters: Yamagata, Japan; hereinafter referred to as “MGTx”) has announced a JPY 1.1B investment in its Series A funding as of April, 2023. MGTx has been accelerating its drug discovery and development work on intestinal microbiome-based therapeutics for various diseases. A government backed venture capital fund, JIC Venture Growth Investments (JIC-VGI), has joined as a new investor in addition to Fast Track Initiative (FTI), JAFCO Group, and Keio Innovation Initiative (KII), the existing investors. This brings the total amount raised to JPY 1.33B including MGTx’s current JPY 230M fund.
With this funding, MGTx plans to accelerate development and operation of an ‘intestinal microbiota bank’ along with research and development of an intestinal microbiome drug discovery program. The bank and the drug discovery program are the basis for social implementation of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT).
Background of Clinical Research
Research on intestinal bacteria has been making great progress over the years. Its relationships with various diseases such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, Parkinson’s disease, allergies, and more, are being recognized. With this significant advancement in microbiota research, FMT is now being utilized as a treatment and microbiome drug discovery tool around the world.
MGTx is currently promoting the social implementation of FMT in Japan by building an ‘intestinal microbiota bank’ which helps to connect patients in need of healthy intestinal microbiota with qualified donors. MGTx’s ultimate goal is to innovate microbiome medicine through reverse translational drug discovery for patients worldwide.
Use of Funds
1. Development and operation of the intestinal microbiota bank
- Development of registration system for intestinal microbiota donor candidates
- Operation of intestinal microbiota bank (in accordance with institutional guidelines) – Donor recruitment/online interview, donor eligibility evaluation, receipt of stool donations, manufacturing/examination/storage of intestinal microbiota solution
- Establishment of process regarding preparation and quality control for intestinal microbiota solution
2.Promotion of basic and clinical research for clinical application of FMT (such as joint research related to immune checkpoint inhibitors)
3. Research and development of intestinal microbiota drug discovery program (including probiotics)