Science-based animal health company, AnimalBiome announced today that it closed an $8.6 million investment in Series A funding to accelerate growth and create new microbial cocktails for companion animals. The round was led by Cargill. Additional investors include SOSV (IndieBio) along with Moai Capital, Digitalis Ventures, Michelson Found Animal Foundation, and R/GA Ventures.
"As leaders in companion animal microbiome research, we're seeking to get to the root of the digestive and skin problems affecting our pets," said Carlton Osborne, AnimalBiome co-founder and CEO. "Working together with Cargill, we have the unique advantage of science and industry leadership to tackle some of the pet health industry's most challenging and heart-breaking issues."
AnimalBiome uses groundbreaking science to access, restore, and maintain the gut health of cats and dogs. Founded in 2016 by researchers at UC Davis and UC Berkeley, AnimalBiome was the first to launch DTC microbiome testing in pets and uses genetic sequencing to characterize the microbiomes of individual pets. Using an algorithm created from AnimalBiome's proprietary reference database, the results are provided to both veterinarians and pet parents in an actionable report allowing them to make personalized changes in diet, including prebiotics, macronutrient ratios, and other supplements to restore balance to the gut microbiome. The company also uses its proprietary pet microbiome platform to design new supplements to manipulate and support healthy microbiomes.
"At Cargill, we share AnimalBiome's goal to help pets live healthier lives," said Jamie Dolynchuk, vice president of Cargill's Health Technologies (CHT) business. "AnimalBiome's world-class microbiome sequencing and database make it an ideal partner in the development of our microbiome insights platform for Cargill's health technologies business and we are thrilled to improve our ability to do new product development and product research together.
"There are approximately 185 million cats and dogs in the US and pet parents spent almost $100 billion in 2020 caring for them, according to the American Pet Products Association. Over 60 million cats and dogs suffer from recurring digestive and skin problems—such as diarrhea and itchy skin. The investment enables AnimalBiome to create new microbial cocktails for cats and dogs with chronic digestive disorders and skin conditions. Currently pet parents spend $14 billion annually on these conditions, which account for half of all veterinary visits.
"Our research shows that pets with chronic gut and skin conditions are often missing key beneficial gut bacteria, which is correlated with exposure to antimicrobials commonly used in veterinary practice, and that in many cases restoring them alleviates signs of disease," said Holly Ganz, AnimalBiome co-founder and Chief Science Officer. "This investment allows us to accelerate our discovery of key beneficial gut microbes and design the next generation of pet probiotics."
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