Viome Life Sciences, a biotechnology company, received $86.5 million in an oversubscribed Series C funding round, which it will use to grow its business, the company announced Friday.
The Bellevue, Washington-based startup sells at-home testing and health products to consumers through its website. It offers a full body health test, a gut health test and an oral health test. The tests then leverage AI to provide consumers with insights on what’s leading to microbial imbalances and inflammation, and then Viome offers personalized food lists, probiotics and prebiotics to support consumers’ health. It also has an oral and throat cancer diagnostic test, which can detect cancer as early as stage one. What sets Viome apart from other testing companies like Grail and Exact Sciences is that it focuses on RNA instead of DNA.
“We focus on RNA because DNA doesn’t change when you develop a chronic disease,” said Naveen Jain, founder and CEO of Viome, in an interview. “If I do a DNA test and I gain 100 pounds, my DNA still hasn’t changed. If I become diabetic, my DNA doesn’t change. If I have a heart attack, my DNA doesn’t change. If I get depression, anxiety, none of that can change my DNA. In fact, my DNA doesn’t even change after I die. … The thing that is constantly changing is RNA.” In other words, RNA is more reflective of people’s current health and changing lifestyle habits, making it easier to detect if something is wrong.
The Series C funding round included participation from Khosla Ventures, Bold Capital and WRG Ventures. In total, Viome has raised $175 million.
Khosla Ventures chose to invest in Viome because of its ability to prevent several health issues, said Robbie Schwietzer, partner of the firm.
“We made the strategic decision to invest in Viome, recognizing the groundbreaking fusion of its one-of-a-kind RNA technology with state-of-the-art AI,” Schwietzer said in a news release. “Coupled with an unparalleled repository of biological data, this synergy doesn’t just hint at a revolution; it marks the dawn of a new era in healthcare. The promise here is staggering: the very prevention of an epidemic wave of chronic diseases, spanning mental, metabolic, cognitive, and digestive health.”
With the financing, the company plans to grow its business and add other diagnostic tests to its offerings, Jain said. He hopes Viome will have diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes and other conditions in the future.
In addition to announcing the funding, Viome also announced that its Gut Intelligence Test will be offered in 200 CVS locations throughout the U.S. This is the first time a gut test will be available at CVS, Viome claimed in the news release.
The company sells its full body health solution for $199 a month, which includes the test, supplements and probiotics and prebiotics. Its gut health solution costs $69.95 a month and includes the test and probiotics and prebiotics. Its oral health solution is $179 a month and includes the test, oral lozenges and supplements. Its cancer test costs $599.
Viome ultimately aims to “go worldwide and help as many people as possible,” Jain said.
Picture: Feodora Chiosea, Getty Images