Kallyope Lands $112 Million Series C

NEW YORK — Kallyope Inc., a biotechnology company focused on identifying and pursuing therapeutic opportunities involving the gut-brain axis, has landed a $112 million Series C financing.  The new investment will be used to advance its portfolio of programs and the company’s first clinical trials, further establishing its leadership in the gut-brain axis field.

Kallyope is headquartered at the Alexandria Center for Life Science in New York City. The company’s cross-disciplinary team integrates advanced technologies in sequencing, bioinformatics, neural imaging, cellular and molecular biology, and human genetics to provide an understanding of gut-brain biology that leads to transformational therapeutics to improve human health. Containing millions of neurons and highly specialized cells, the gut communicates with the brain to regulate important aspects of physiology and behavior, and multiple diseases have been linked to defects in this communication.

The company’s founders are Charles Zuker, Ph.D., Lasker Award winner Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., and Nobel laureate Richard Axel, M.D.

All investors from the Series B financing participated in the Series C round, including The Column Group, Lux Capital, Polaris Partners, Euclidean Capital, Two Sigma Ventures, Illumina Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Bill Gates. New investors include Casdin Capital, Greenspring Associates, and two unnamed leading institutional investors.

“Four years ago, we started our journey to build a preeminent biotech based in New York City as a first-mover in the gut-brain axis space. Now, this Series C financing will enable us to advance multiple programs to clinical development,” said Kallyope CEO Nancy Thornberry.

The Series C financing comes after four productive years in which Kallyope has built a portfolio of programs directed to novel targets in a wide array of diseases. In support of these programs, the company has established industry-leading capabilities in designing oral small-molecule drugs that selectively target the gut but not the rest of the body.

The company also announced its lead program targeting satiety circuits for weight loss, with clinical testing expected to begin later this year. A second program targeting gut barrier function with potential relevance for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and several other diseases is anticipated to enter the clinic soon after. In addition, the company continues to advance a broad portfolio of programs for gastrointestinal, CNS, and inflammatory disorders.

“Kallyope pursues programs where the company’s platform provides an edge over other approaches and where we have an opportunity to deliver major clinical benefits rather than incremental improvements over current treatments. We are targeting neural and hormonal circuits, including novel vagal circuits, involved in a broad array of physiology and disease,” said Thornberry.

“Kallyope has made significant progress since the company’s inception in late 2015. Its platform is enabling a mechanistic understanding of the gut-brain axis, which in turn has revealed new, actionable biology that the company is now exploring in several promising programs.  I believe that Kallyope’s platform and rigorous approach to identifying, characterizing, and targeting gut-brain circuits with gut-restricted small molecules has greatly increased its odds of success in clinical studies,” said Kallyope co-founder and board member Tom Maniatis, Ph.D.