UAB spinoff receives $3 million in seed funding to develop probiotic formulations for lung health

A biomedical research company founded by a University of Alabama at Birmingham physician-scientist has received $3 million in seed funding.

ResBiotic Inc. — spun off from UAB last year — will use the money to develop and commercialize groundbreaking probiotic formulations for lung health, says founder C. Vivek Lal, M.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology. The seed round was funded from a private equity syndicate led by Birmingham-based investment firm Timberline Holdings.

ResBiotic’s first product aims to supplement the nutritional needs in chronic lung diseases. The product was developed in Lal’s Pulmonary Microbiome Lab at UAB, with research and expertise from UAB’s Microbiome Center, Lung Health Center, and the Translational Research in Normal & Disordered Development program.

ResBiotic’s research and development pipeline also includes inhaled microbiome-based products for multiple chronic lung diseases.

“After years of research, we can now modulate how the microbiota influence lung diseases,” Lal said. “The commercialization of this work has the potential to be life-changing for respiratory disease patients. This funding event is a critical step toward making these evidence-based treatments accessible to the general population, to give patients and pulmonary specialists a solution to help reduce inflammation in chronic lung diseases.”

ResBiotic has strategic and manufacturing partners in place to bring ResBiotic’s first product to market in early 2022, Lal says. ResBiotic will be based at Innovation Depot, Birmingham’s 140,000-square-foot home for startups. ResBiotic is the flagship company of the ResBiotech Innovation Institute, also founded by Lal.

ResBiotic has also announced its leadership team. Lal is chief scientific officer; Scott Bush, a probiotic expert, is executive vice president of Strategy; and a Birmingham-based entrepreneur and former UAB faculty member, Sanjay Singh, Ph.D., is business adviser. Amit Gaggar, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, is chief medical officer, and Andrew O’Connor, MBA, an engineer, is chief operating officer.

Three UAB scientists form the initial scientific advisory board: Casey Morrow, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology; Namasivayam Ambalavanan, M.D., professor in the UAB Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology; and James Michael Wells, M.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine.

“Billions of people around the world are affected by respiratory conditions,” said Braxton Goodrich, a member of Timberline Holdings. “We’re proud to be able to support a topnotch team commercializing a critical innovation with the potential to transform standards of respiratory care.”

Physicians, scientists and entrepreneurs like Dr. Lal are charting a course for other Birmingham innovators to follow. With the recruitment of a world-class team to transform the discoveries in Dr. Lal’s lab into market-ready solutions, ResBiotic is quickly becoming a unique Birmingham success story.”

Jon Nugent, Vice President of Innovation for Birmingham Business Alliance, and Adviser to ResBiotic

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