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Eligo Bioscience Raises $30M in Series B Financing to Develop CRISPR-Based Acne Drug

Genetic material of microbes that live on and inside the human body, stock photo

NEW YORK – French biotech firm Eligo Bioscience on Tuesday said it has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round, which it will use to advance a microbiome gene-editing therapeutic candidate for acne vulgaris.

Sanofi Ventures led the Series B round, in which the French national investment bank Bpifrance's life sciences fund InnoBio 2, Khosla Ventures, and Seventure Partners also participated.

Eligo will use the funds to test the ability of the topical agent EB005 to treat or reduce the risk of developing moderate to severe forms of acne in pre-investigational new drug and IND studies, as well as in a Phase Ib/IIa clinical trial. The firm designed EB005 to remove certain bacteria that express pro-inflammatory molecules from the skin's microbiome through CRISPR gene editing.

In a 2021 research and option deal worth up to $224 million, GlaxoSmithKline provided Eligo with an upfront payment and R&D funding to advance EB005 to the preclinical proof-of-concept stage. GSK has the option in this deal to license and collaborate with Eligo to further develop EB005. 

If EB005 progresses to clinical trials, it will be Paris-based Eligo's first clinical-stage drug developed using Eligobiotics, a proprietary technology that delivers RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas nucleases into bacterial populations in the microbiome using phage-derived particles. The Series B funding will enable Eligo to apply this technology to develop gene-edited treatments that harness the microbiome in other chronic diseases, including oncology.

"We are excited to lead this financing for Eligo and support the company as they move to the clinic," Laia Crespo, partner at Sanofi Ventures, said in a statement. "We are impressed by the unique delivery and editing technologies that Eligo has developed, and we believe this will set the stage for Eligo to forge new paths in the application of in vivo gene-editing technologies."

As part of the financing, Crespo and Benoit Barteau, investment director at Bpifrance, will join Eligo's board of directors.