Kanvas raises $12m to target microbiome-related disease

Microbiome mapping company Kanvas Biosciences has raised a $12 million Pre-Series A funding round. The funding will be used to further develop the company’s proprietary platform technology, which aims to revolutionize drug development for microbiome-associated diseases.

Understanding the interactions between the microbiome and its host is crucial for human health. While the microbiome has long been associated with inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer, emerging data indicate its intimate connection to a range of conditions beyond the gastrointestinal tract, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, and response to cancer immunotherapy treatments.

Currently, the standard approach involves extracting a sample, blending it and sequencing the genetic material; this methods provides limited information about the sample’s composition, and also loses data about biospatial localization and cellular function. Kanvas Biosciences has overcome this challenge with its groundbreaking technology platform that enables highly multiplexed spatial profiling of microbial species. The platform not only identifies and characterizes these microbes, but also maps the host’s corresponding local response, all within a comprehensive assay.

Kanvas’ proprietary technology, based on research published in Nature by the company’s founders, allows researchers to profile both the microbiome and the host cells with sub-cellular resolution. This provides critical context and unprecedented insight into complex host-microbe interactions. The platform has diverse applications, including the discovery and development of novel live biotherapeutic products, the identification of disease-associated microbes for diagnostics, and leveraging the microbiome to enhance therapeutic responses.

The raised capital will be used to expand Kanvas’ single-cell spatial transcriptomics platform and launch biological and R&D discovery platforms. The company says it has already established partnerships with prominent biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms.

“Our technology takes the gastrointestinal tract and the microbiome from black box to transparent and measurable terrain,” said Dr Matthew Cheng, CEO of Kanvas Biosciences. “We are thrilled to drive forward the development of life-saving treatments for some of the world’s most common conditions.”

The investment round was led by DCVC, with participation from Lions Capital LLC, Cooke LLC, Uncommon Denominator, and Triple Impact Capital. Jason Pontin, a partner at DCVC, will also join Kanvas Biosciences’ board of directors as part of the investment.

“This breakthrough technology empowers researchers to explore microbial communities in unprecedented ways, with profound implications for the health and biomedical industries,” said Pontin. “It fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human microbiome, allowing us to consider it as a distinct and druggable organ, opening uncharted territories in medicine.”

Photograph: manjurulhaque/Envato