CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Flagship VentureLabs announced today the launch of Seres Health after two years of development in stealth mode and $10.5 million in Series A financing during that period from Flagship Ventures and other investors. Seres Health is a clinical-stage therapeutics company developing novel products to treat a host of disease conditions based on novel scientific findings related to the human microbiome. Seres has developed a unique understanding of the functional nature of the human microbiome and has used this knowledge to pioneer Ecobiotic™ therapeutics, the first class of agents that addresses the ecological nature of the microbiome.
Flagship VentureLabs, the innovation foundry of Flagship Ventures, began developing the technology platforms underlying Seres Health in 2010 after a three year exploration into the biology of the human microbiome – the microorganisms that exist in the human body. Seres is based on the recognition that, while the organisms of the microbiome vary greatly from person to person, the functional ecologies of a given state of disease or health remain the same. With this understanding, Seres can develop Ecobiotic therapeutics to reshape this biology and shift the microbiome to a state of health -- essentially causing the re-orientation of a diseased microbiome into a healthy one.
"We believe that Ecobiotics represent the future of microbiome-driven disease treatment," said Dr. David Berry, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Seres and Partner at Flagship Ventures. "The true underlying biology of the microbiome gives us a solid foundation from which we can develop safe and effective drugs using our proprietary Microbiome Therapeutics™ platform."
During its operation in stealth mode for the past few years, Seres built a significant platform and is now developing candidates for the treatment of infectious, metabolic, and inflammatory diseases. The company's lead candidate, SER-109, is currently undergoing clinic testing for use to treat C. difficile infection, a major cause of antibiotic associated diarrhea that leads to over 14,000 deaths per year in the US.
"Seres' ability to develop the first therapeutics that can catalyze a shift to health by augmenting the biology of the microbiome is truly unprecedented, setting the standard for a completely new approach to targeting microbiome-focused diseases," said Dr. Noubar Afeyan, Managing Partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, who is also a co-founder and on the Board of Directors of Seres.
Seres Health has appointed Dr. Roger J. Pomerantz, former World Wide Head of Licensing & Acquisitions, Senior Vice President of Merck Research Laboratories, as Chairman of the Board of Directors. "Dr. Pomerantz brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his remarkable career in pharma and biotech," said Dr. Berry. "We are thrilled to have him as part of the Seres team and count him among the many industry veterans and luminaries on the boards of Flagship portfolio companies."
Dr. Pomerantz previously served as Senior Vice President and Global Franchise Head of Infectious Diseases at Merck. Prior to joining Merck, Roger was Global Head of Infectious Diseases for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, responsible for all anti-infective agents worldwide, having joined Johnson & Johnson in 2005 as President of Tibotec Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Pomerantz has developed seven approved infectious disease drugs in important indications including HIV, HCV, and tuberculosis.
"I am very excited to be joining Seres, which is the only company I have seen focusing on microbiome-driven disease treatment that has the ability to successfully produce therapeutics," said Dr. Pomerantz. "Seres has the technology and deep scientific understanding necessary to target important diseases by reshaping the microbiome. I look forward to helping the company deliver on its great potential to impact the lives of millions of people affected by serious health issues."
Dr. Pomerantz will join company co-founders Dr. Afeyan and Dr. Berry as well as Peter Hutt and Werner Cautreels on Seres Health's board of directors.
About Seres Health
Seres Health is a clinical stage biotherapeutic company focused on discovering and developing Ecobiotic™ therapeutic products, novel drugs to treat important diseases by targeting the underlying biology of the human microbiome. Founded by Flagship VentureLabs, Seres is pioneering the first therapeutics that catalyze a shift to health by augmenting the biology of the microbiome. Current candidates span infectious, metabolic, and inflammatory diseases. For more information, please visit www.sereshealth.com.
About Flagship VentureLabs
Flagship VentureLabs™ is the innovation foundry of Flagship Ventures. VentureLabs has been creating innovative, game changing companies since its founding in 2000. It is the first institution dedicated to entrepreneurial innovation and parallel entrepreneuring, where the acts of technology invention and entrepreneuring are performed in concert by a team of world-class innovators and professional entrepreneurs. The VentureLabs team innovates, invents, iterates, founds and builds startups using a unique, systematic approach that results in the creation of best-in-class new ventures. More than 25 life science and technology startups have been created within VentureLabs, including recently launched Joule Unlimited, Midori Renewables, Moderna Therapeutics, and Pronutria. For more information, please visit www.flagshipventures.com/venturelabs.
About Flagship Ventures
Realizing entrepreneurial innovation is the mission of Flagship Ventures. The firm operates through two synergistic units: VentureLabs™ which invents and launches transformative companies, and Venture Capital, which finances and develops innovative, early-stage companies. Founded in 2000, and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Flagship Ventures manages over $900 million in capital. The Flagship team is active in three principal business sectors: therapeutics, health technologies and sustainability/clean technology. Flagship's portfolio ventures include: Accuri Cytometers (acquired by Becton Dickinson), Adnexus (acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb), Acceleron (NASDAQ: XLRN), Agios (NASDAQ: AGIO), BIND Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BIND), Hypnion (acquired by Eli Lilly), Morphotek (acquired by Eisai), Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT) and Tetraphase (NASDAQ: TTPH). Additional notable portfolio companies include: Affinnova, Joule Unlimited, and Moderna Therapeutics. For more information, please visit www.flagshipventures.com.
For Flagship Ventures: Rachel Brenner
SOURCE Flagship VentureLabs