Viome raises $67 million to get to the root causes of health issues

Steven Loeb · October 18, 2022 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/551d

The company recently launched its first CancerDetect test for oral and throat cancers

More than half of adult in the United States have at least ine chronic condition, and more than a quarter have multiple. That includes arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease, current asthma, diabetes, hepatitis, hypertension, stroke, and weak or failing kidneys.

The most significant gap is that the current healthcare industry is reactive and focused on managing chronic diseases, not preventing or curing them, said Naveen Jain, the founder and CEO of Viome Life Sciences, a company that was founded with the mission of understanding the changes in human biochemistry at the onset and during the progression of chronic diseases so they can be prevented, diagnosed early, and reversed.

The company uses AI analysis, early intervention, and precision nutrition, Viome to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for each individual by truly understanding what’s happening beneath the surface.

"Numerous factors, such as burnout, processed foods, and more, lead an individual to manifest symptoms of dysbiosis, inflammation, and less-than-optimal bodily functions. This can lead us to experience poor gut and oral microbiome and cellular health that keep our bodies from functioning correctly," said Jain.

"Viome is focused on the root cause of health issues, which are different in every person. By concentrating on biochemical individuality and taking into account a person’s biological data, health goals, and more, Viome can develop personalized food nutrition recommendations and custom-formulate supplements."

"We believe that chronic diseases can be prevented with precision food and nutrition, which is what Hippocrates said over 2000 years ago when he said, 'let food be thy medicine.'"

On Tuesday, the company announced $67 million funding toward its Series C round; this follows a $54 million raise in November of 2021 and brings its total funding to more than $150 million. The round was led by Bold Capital Group, along with all of Viome’s existing investors.

"We are grateful for the continued support of our partners to continue the incredible work in diagnostics, therapeutics, and more that Viome has been able to achieve to date," Jain said.

"Garnering this level of funding in this challenging macroeconomic environment further validates our approach in building a large data platform based on unique metatranscriptomics technology. With this latest round of funding, we are that much closer to reaching our goal of making illness optional."

Founded in 2016, Viome’s approach combines novel mRNA research and FDA-backed technology to analyze epigenetic biomarkers to deliver comprehensive, AI-driven health insights that are proven to shape a healthy lifespan. That is then paired with precision nutrition recommendations.

Everyone starts with a test to assess where they are and what they need. After that, it is possible to order just the test.  After identifying nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, and the root causes of chronic diseases, Viome supports lifestyle changes by providing actionable next steps and nutrition recommendations. According to Jain, the users who see the most significant improvements are those who take supplements and probiotic, prebiotic formula. 

"Viome has identified the significant gap between breakthrough clinical studies and real-world applications that could benefit society now and believe in making these discoveries in technology, medicine, and science accessible to everyone," he said.

"The modern healthcare method is wildly inefficient, outdated, and extremely costly. Most people wait until the pain and/or symptoms appear to see a doctor, which keeps humanity in a state of dependency and enables the continued development of chronic disease. With the growing epidemic of chronic diseases and cancers over the last 20 years, it is critical to utilize exponential technologies and advances in science and apply them to achieve a solution much faster."

A few of the different cohorts that the company has seen test with, and benefit from, Viome include biohackers who are focused on living forever or staying on top of their health; individuals who are interested in wellness and the latest technology, whether or not they have common symptoms that impact them daily; and people who are struggling with chronic conditions.

While Viome does not claim to cure diseases, the company does attract those looking for the latest capabilities in health tech to find potential causes of their health concerns, Jain explained. In addition, Viome attracts those who want to be in control and believe in a systems biology approach to health and wellness.

Viome’s tests have so far benefited almost a half million individuals; the platform has identified predictive biomarkers for more than 30 different chronic diseases and has published data from trials that show a an over 30% clinical improvement in depression, diabetes, IBS, and anxiety in users who follow Viome’s lifestyle plan.

The company's latest runding round comes just a couple of months after the launch of its first CancerDetect test for oral & throat cancers. The at-home early diagnostic tool, which the FDA awarded Breakthrough Device Designation status in May of 2021, can detect not just stage 1 but also early biomarkers associated with oral and throat cancer with rates of 95% specificity and 90% sensitivity through the analysis of samples for the presence of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) and Oropharyngeal Cancer (OPC).

The new financing will support the continuous development of Viome’s product pipeline, including the Oral Health Intelligence Test, early detection diagnostic tests for chronic diseases, cancers, and more. Building upon the success of CancerDetect for oral and throat cancer, Viome will also utilizing the same technology to power early detection for additional hard-to-detect cancers and GI disorders such as IBD.

What allows a company like Viome to do what it does is data, Jain explained; in particular, holistic data from our entire biological ecosystem.

"Before, there was no way to make sense of the massive amounts of data to identify trends and patterns unique to an individual, technology today is allowing us to solve these problems much faster than ever before," he said.

"This is exactly what Viome can do and why our test has become so valuable. Our AI makes it possible to identify patterns in an individual’s biology and map these patterns (scores) to precisely the nutrients that each individual needs. Not only this, but we can also see if a person is trending away from or toward a particular chronic disease."

In the long-term, Viome is dedicated to creating a disease-free world where people can take control of their health from the comfort of their own homes and feel more empowered with data to make better decisions when it comes to food and supplements.

"Ultimately Viome’s goal is to create a suite of products completely tailored to an individual’s unique biology as our insights and discoveries advance. Our commitment will always be to bring cutting-edge science and technological advancements to the user so that they may benefit from what we learn."

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Naveen Jain

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Naveen Jain is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Immunity Project, a Y Combinator (W14) backed, non-profit dedicated to developing an HIV vaccine and distributing it worldwide for free.