Microba Life Sciences (ASX:MAP), a precision microbiome science company, commenced trading on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on April 4th following the completion of an initial public offering (IPO).
The IPO raised $30.0 million and was supported by institutional, professional and retail investors. Bell Potter Securities Limited and Canaccord Genuity (Australia) Limited were Joint Lead Managers and Underwriters to the IPO.
NYSE listed synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA) invested USD $3.5m into Microba IPO, becoming a ~4% shareholder of the Company with which Microba also signed a therapeutic development agreement to identify single-strain, live biotherapeutics product (LBP) candidates against autoimmune diseases. The collaboration aims to build on Microba’s precision approach to LBP development with an in-depth evaluation of the company’s strains using Ginkgo’s high throughput, automated screening capabilities.
The Company’s strategy is to partner or license therapeutic assets with large pharmaceutical companies early in clinical development in return for upfront, milestone and royalty payments. The Offer will enable Microba to accelerate the growth of its Services and Therapeutics business and further develop its platform technology:
• Microbiome Services – Microba is an established leader in microbiome testing with over 20,000 test reports sold to date. New major distribution partnerships including SYNLAB (EU), Genova Diagnostics (US), and G42 (Middle East) accelerate growth with multiple products scheduled for launch.
• Proprietary Databank – a large, unique, proprietary microbiome Databank comprising of over 1.2 million microbial genomes. Microba’s Databank has enabled the Company to identify novel therapeutic leads not identified by others.
• Microbiome Therapeutics – Microba leverages its growing Databank through a repeatable Therapeutics Platform to develop novel microbiome therapeutics. Microba has established multiple therapeutic programs, including for Inflammatory Bowel Disease with a Phase 1 clinical trial planned to commence in late 2022.
“We believe the human microbiome currently represents a missing piece in the treatment of major chronic diseases, and as a result a number of microbiome-based therapeutics are progressing through clinical development globally”
said Luke Reid, CEO at Microba.
“Ginkgo’s high throughput screening automation combined with our novel data-driven approach to therapeutic discovery from the microbiome can potentially accelerate development of breakthrough new drugs for autoimmune diseases.”
Through this partnership, Ginkgo will provide high-throughput screening for Microba’s proprietary library of human microbiome-isolated strains, with the goal of improving treatment for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, psoriatic arthritis and certain autoimmune liver diseases. Microba plans to leverage Ginkgo’s high-throughput anaerobic culturing, multi-omics data collection and analysis, functional bioassay screening, and media and fermentation optimization capabilities to generate data sets that may help characterize potential therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses of the strains. The initial partnership combining Microba’s biobank and Ginkgo’s anaerobic development capabilities is expected to run approximately two years.
“Microba is doing truly innovative work during an exciting time for the field of microbiome science,”
said Jennifer Wipf, Senior Vice President, Commercial Cell Engineering of Ginkgo.
“We’re happy to welcome new partners like Microba as we apply our platform to more applications in the living therapeutics and microbiome space.”