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Persephone Biosciences Closes $15M Seed Funding Round

NEW YORK – Persephone Biosciences on Tuesday said it closed a $15 million seed funding round that it will use to develop microbiome-based treatments, expand its synthetic biology platform, and advance the ARGONAUT study focused on discovering biomarkers for cancer treatment and prevention.

The seed funding round was co-led by First Bight Ventures and Propel Bio Partners, and included participation from Y Combinator, Fifty Years, Susa Ventures, American Cancer Society's BrightEdge Fund, Pioneer Fund, ZhenFund, and others.

"We plan to deploy this capital to further expand our research and clinical programs across a range of therapeutic areas, as well as pursue new collaborations," Persephone CEO and Cofounder Stephanie Culler said in a statement, adding that the funds will also support the ARGONAUT trial underway. 

The San Diego-based company was founded in 2017 to develop microbiome-based treatments for infant health and oncology. In 2020, Persephone launched the 4,000-patient ARGONAUT trial, in which individuals with advanced non-small cell lung cancer, triple-negative breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer receiving standard-of-care or investigational treatments are providing blood and stool samples for microbiome analysis. Researchers are assessing if the microbiome analysis predicts patients' progression-free survival on treatment.

Persephone last year announced it would collaborate with Janssen Biotech on the colorectal cancer arm of the ARGONAUT trial. And earlier this year, Persephone also announced a deal with Ginkgo Bioworks to use synthetic biology tools to develop next-generation microbial treatments.