Fauna Bio, a biotechnology company leveraging the science of hibernation to improve healthcare for humans, has announced that it has raised a total of $4.1 million in seed funding led by True Ventures with strong participation by Longevity Fund and Pacific 8 Ventures, in addition to Boom Capital and Beagle Ventures. The company will use the new funds to expand its discovery platform to help find new therapeutic targets for human diseases. It is also developing bio-storage solutions.
Founded in 2018, headquartered in Berkeley, California, Fauna Bio is developing new ways to treat human diseases, such as heart disease and neurodegenerative disease, by adopting mechanisms that animals have developed for traits such as hibernation and deep-diving. Founded by three scientists; Dr. Ashley Zehnder, Dr. Linda Goodman and Dr. Katharine Grabek, who have intimate knowledge of the best science and resources from the field of non-model organisms, Fauna Bio leverages data from hundreds of species in order to help develop pre-clinical and early clinical testing for new therapeutics targeting human diseases.
The first version of Fauna Bio’s drug-discovery platform focuses on hibernating mammals, a particularly attractive opportunity for adaptation-inspired therapeutics. Hibernating animals have natural adaptations, providing insights into critical human health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity/diabetes and traumatic injury. These adaptations have inspired early-stage therapies to improve survival after trauma, extend storage for transplant organs, and prevent shivering during therapeutic hypothermia. However, there is not a systematic understanding of the gene networks utilized to generate the protective and healing traits of hibernators.
Currently, the team has performed whole genome, RNA, protein and metabolomic as well as epigenetic sequencing from its internal biobank. They are also integrating publicly available data across a broad range of species to prioritize therapeutic targets.
“Ashley, Linda and Katie are a great team with the diverse and complementary backgrounds required to lead deep innovation and succeed in his space.” … “Their expertise ties data and insights together in a way that will enable them to advance the best of hibernation science toward the development of new therapeutics.” – Rohit Sharma, partner at True Ventures
“The current drug discovery process is broken.” … “Historically, pharmaceutical companies have relied on a handful of species that often don’t recapitulate human diseases. Now, we are in a very exciting time where we have the ability to examine how species across the entire evolutionary tree combat diseases and live longer, healthier lives. At Fauna, we use these strategies and translate them into human therapies.” – Dr. Ashley Zehnder, CEO and co-founder of Fauna Bio