Our Investment In Unlocking a New Source of Microbes to Improve Human Health – Solarea Bio, The Food as a Medicine Company

By Brent MacDonald – Principal at Rising Tide

The mycobiome is being studied as a novel class of probiotics for the dietary treatment of inflammation linked to aging.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Solarea Bio is a clinical-stage biotechnology business that searches the untapped microbial variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for new ways to treat inflammatory disorders and help people live long healthy lives. The Company has created a database of their genomes, a computational platform to mine them, and a catalog of the best-in-class strains of bacteria and fungi. These resources are used to create products for a variety of markets, such as dietary supplements, therapeutic foods, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.

The co-founders of Solarea Bio worked together to build a connection between the discovery of a previously unknown source of bacteria with probiotic potential in nutritious foods and their uses in inflammatory processes, such as the gut-musculoskeletal axis. Entrepreneurs Gerardo Toledo and Tracy Mincer have over 50 years of combined industry and academic experience in biotech. Prior to joining Indigo, Gerardo held the positions of Senior Director of Microbial Discovery at Synthetic Genomics and VP of Discovery and Collaborations at Indigo (a Craig Venter Company). In 2020, Solarea Bio raised an oversubscribed $11 Million Series A. With the help of this investment, Solarea Bio was able to plan for, complete, and start clinic trials for the proof of mechanism. Rising Tide is pleased to have been an early investor in this new class of health product technology, having made its first initial investment in Solarea Bio in July 2018.

The initial application of Solarea Bio is intended to assist in the dietary management of the metabolic processes that result in osteopenia and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. This is a natural remedy for enhancing the health and well-being of women. Worldwide, osteoporosis, osteopenia, and osteoarthritis are the most common musculoskeletal illnesses and are a primary cause of disability. Approximately 10 Million Americans today suffer from osteoporosis or osteopenia, and one in three women over 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis. Tragically, hip fractures have mortality rates of 30% after one year and 56% after two years (New England Journal of Medicine). Solarea Bio is confident that a natural, microbial-based treatment will improve the quality of life for millions of women worldwide who are susceptible to these musculoskeletal problems.

More than 35.7% of adults are considered obese, and 6.3% of adults are regarded to be extremely obese, making obesity a serious public health concern. Given their established relationship, Type 2 Diabetes affects an increasing proportion of the population, just as obesity does. By restoring gut microbial equilibrium, Solarea Bio is creating a novel microbiome-based treatment for Type 2 Diabetes and osteoporosis.

ADM signs technology licensing agreement with Solarea Bio

ADM (NYSE: ADM), a pioneer in global nutrition, and Solarea Bio agreed to a technological licensing arrangement in 2021. With the aid of this new arrangement, ADM is able to investigate the usefulness and possible applications of these microbes in novel food and beverage formulations intended to promote health and wellness. According to Dr. Gerardo V. Toledo, CEO, and co-founder of Solarea Bio, "ADM is a well-known and respected partner, and this new arrangement will assist validate its microbial discovery platform and give an additional path for Solarea technology to penetrate the market."

In order to discover fresh, all-natural gut-beneficial strains sourced from natural sources, Solarea started its discovery campaign at the Illumina Accelerator. Generating genome-wide metabolic predictions to produce pertinent metabolites, isolating bacteria and fungi using conditions and selections relevant to the function of the human gut, and validating the performance of the product candidate using metabolomics and analytical methods were all steps in the product discovery process. Additionally, Solareo Bio has submitted patent applications for the use of single strains and defined microbial assemblies (DMAs) as seed coatings to improve crops with probiotics.

Solarea Bio’s goal is to pioneer a new approach to quickly identify, develop, and introduce commercial goods that aid in the treatment of illnesses when other solutions are insufficient. We wholeheartedly support this mission!


See Solarea Bio Funding Press Release here