Viome, a company that researches on human microbiome, raises $86.5M

We know that there are a lot of secrets as well as hidden facts that we don’t know about yet of our body that are inside the human microbiome which is referred to as “microorganism communities that live in a part of your body such as your mouth or gut”. Now, there is a microbiome startup named Viome that is trying to find the information and has just raised a funding round of $86.5M for doing that.

According to the report by TechCrunch, “The funding, a Series C, is being co-led by Khosla Ventures and Bold Capital, with other unnamed current and new investors also participating. The company claims that its RNA sequencing technology, which was originally developed out of research from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, “is clinically validated, fully automated, exclusively licensed by Viome [to analyze] biological samples at least 1,000 times greater than other technologies.””

A Viome spokesperson added that “Viome has been an AI company from day 1 and is not something we adopted now,” and mentioned that “Viome’s platform was designed to analyze and interpret massive amounts of biological data using AI and machine learning technologies.” The company claims to have “the world’s largest database of RNA sequencing data from >600,000 samples from our customers and clinical research participants. When combined with rich clinical metadata (medications, symptoms, diagnoses, etc.), Viome has >52 petabytes (quadrillion) of data.” Adding that Viome interprets the data using “modern AI, machine learning and bioinformatics methods running on massive cloud computing…to identify what is important for human health, and translate those findings into personalized nutritional recommendations for each customer.” Viome spokesperson also informs that it has FDA breakthrough device designation “for its ability to detect early-stage cancer in the mouth and throat using saliva with 95% specificity and over 90% sensitivity.”

However, some don’t believe in what Viome is doing, and one of them is Dr. Jonathan Eisen, a professor at the University of California, Davis, and a specialist in medical microbiology and genomics. He says, “Every time I have looked at what Viome is claiming to do, it has unquestionably made statements that are completely misleading and not representative of the science in the field or [even] of the science that they have shown themselves”.


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