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10 January 2018

ClostraBio develops taste for seed funding

The food allergy medicine spinout from UChicago has been backed by the institution itself in a $3.5m seed round.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

ClostraBio, a US-based developer of food allergy medicines spun out from University of Chicago (UChicago), raised $3.5m yesterday in a seed round that featured the university.

Individual investor Joe Mansueto and two unnamed family investors, whose children have food allergies, also provided capital.

Founded in 2016, ClostraBio is developing a pill-based therapy to restore a strain of gut bacteria called Clostridia that is thought to stop allergens entering the bloodstream. The approach was tested on mice during an early set of preclinical trials.

The cash will go towards additional animal testing with the intention of bringing its therapy closer to the clinical trial stage.

ClostraBio was co-founded by Jeffrey Hubbell, professor of molecular engineering innovation and enterprise at the university's Institute for Molecular Engineering, and Cathryn Nagler,  professor in food allergies whose lab researched the importance of gut bacteria.

ClostraBio initially raised $800,000 in 2016 from unspecified philanthropic donors associated with UChicago.

ClostraBio then received $200,000 in June 2017 from University of Chicago Innovation Fund, an investment vehicle run by the university's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

John Colson, director of operations at ClostraBio, said: "We are grateful the Polsky Center has provided us with the necessary support to get us to the point where outside investors are eager to sign on."

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