Novome Biotechnologies, a company specialised in engineering cell therapies to treat chronic diseases, has secured $43.5m in a Series B financing round.

New investors including University of Minnesota, Navian Investments, Colorcon Ventures and Touchdown Ventures participated in the financing round, led by Tencent.

In addition, existing investors DCVC Bio, 5AM Ventures, Alta Partners and Alexandria Venture Investments have also participated in the investment round.

The biotechnology company intends to use the funding proceeds to advance NOV001, its clinical hyperoxaluria candidate, through an ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial

Also, it intends to develop multiple Genetically Engineered Microbial Medicines (GEMMs) candidates for the potential treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Novome CEO Blake Wise said: “Novome’s recent accomplishments and this new funding should further advance and validate our platform’s capabilities and unlock additional pipeline opportunities.

“I am grateful for the strong support of new and current investors who share our vision of developing first-in-class therapeutically engineered gut microbes.”

GEMMs are commensal bacterial strains designed to colonise the gut at controllable levels to express the therapeutic transgenes or proteins.

The colonisation is maintained using a daily oral dose of a prebiotic polysaccharide that GEMMs are engineered to feed on to survive.

NOV-001 is an experimental combination comprising NB1000S, a recombinant live biotherapeutic product, and NB2000P, a botanically derived polysaccharide.

The ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial is the next stage of the NOV-001 Phase 1/2a programme.

It is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and early efficacy of NOV-001 in patients with enteric hyperoxaluria.

Hyperoxaluria is a metabolic disorder characterised by elevated urinary oxalate levels and is often linked to kidney stones, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and other serious diseases.

In November last year, Novome partnered with Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss drugmaker Roche to develop targets against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).