NEW ORLEANS — Obatala Sciences, a New Orleans biotechnology company dedicated to speeding up therapies for obesity, diabetes and cancer across diverse populations, has announced the closing of a $3 million Series A finance round co-led by être Venture Capital and Ochsner Lafayette General Healthcare Innovation Fund II and joined by Benson Capital Partners, Elevate Capital Fund and the Hackett-Robertson-Tobe Group.
The funding will be used to further the commercialization of its first-of-kind research-enabling products and platform for drug discovery and development. These solutions, provided to pharmaceutical companies, government labs, and researchers, are designed to accelerate the study and prevention of diseases in the fields of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and regenerative medicines.
“Recently the FDA has signaled the need to improve predictivity by reducing the use of animal-derived tissues, while the NIH has been calling for greater diversity in testing. Obatala Sciences’ diverse human-derived products are the exact solution designed for these market directions,” said Jennifer Kuan, partner at être Venture Capital. “Obatala’s solutions enable their customers to significantly reduce failure rates, reduce the time to market, and thereby reduce costs. Combine that with Obatala’s extensive intellectual property portfolio, manufacturing strength, and rapidly growing customer base, and you can see why Obatala is positioned to be a leader in the 3D culture market.”
“We are thrilled to have the support of our investment partners. Their belief in us, and their commitment to support minority-led companies and communities, like New Orleans, is changing the landscape for biotech companies like Obatala Sciences,” said Obatala Sciences CEO Trivia Frazier, Ph.D., MBA. “This funding will accelerate the commercialization of our pipeline products as we work towards our milestones, which include the build-out of our lab at The Beach at UNO, a Research Park District located near the University of New Orleans campus, obtaining our ISO certifications, expanding our North American and international distribution network, and deepening our sales, marketing, and customer support teams to support our growing global customer base.”
Today, medical research and new drug development are hindered by the dependence on 2D cell culture and animal-derived data which yield high failure rates. In addition, current pre-clinical and clinical drug testing does not include representation across diverse patient populations. Responding to these short-comings, Obatala Sciences has developed a portfolio of patented and patent-pending solutions, including human-derived hydrogels for growing cells in 3D, adult human stem cells from a biobank of diverse populations, media for growing and differentiating cells, and complete tissue chip kits, such as fat-on-chip systems, which are currently available, and pancreas-on-a-chip, which is under development. These kits provide an essential platform for drug discovery and development, and when these tools are combined, they provide researchers with more accurate human-based data across diverse populations.