Bugworks Research Inc., a biopharma startup that is focussed on designing broad-spectrum antibiotics, has raised $7.5 million (approximately Rs 57.05 crore at current exchange rates) in a funding round.
The round has been led by the University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC), a returning investor in the company.
Other investors such as Global Brain Corporation (Global Brain) Japan and the South Africa-based Acquipharma Holdings also participated in the round, Bugworks said in a statement.
The latest transaction takes the total money raised by Bugworks to $19 million, it added.
The US- and Bengaluru-based will use the funds to complete Phase 1 studies for its GYROX series intravenous drug candidate. The drug is a novel broad-spectrum agent that targets critical bacterial infections.
“This new financing is an endorsement of our team and differentiated AMR [antimicrotbial resistance] assets, as we bring reputed global investors to aid our mission of pandemic preparedness by defeating superbug infections,” Anand Anandkumar, CEO at Bugworks, said.
Separately, UTEC managing partner and president Tomotaka Goji said the investment firm was confident of its recommitment to Bugworks because of its pre-clinical data and business development progress. UTEC had also led the company’s Series A funding round in 2018.
Bugworks was set up in 2014 and counts the Bengaluru-based 3one4 Capital among its investors. The company says its research allows for the development of anti-AMR tools, with its portfolio providing leads against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.
In 2018, the company raised $9 million (around Rs 62 crore) in a Series A round from investors including 3one4, Acquipharma Holdings, UTEC and angel backers as Shrikumar Suryanarayan and Marcus Schabacker. At the time, Bugworks said it would use the funds to deepen its clinical trials.
Associated with the University of Tokyo, UTEC is a seed and early-stage technology-focussed venture capital outfit. The firm, founded in 2004, says it has invested in over 100 startups with over $500 million in assets under management.
Global Brain, meanwhile, is also a VC firm based in Tokyo with offices around the world, including in London, Seoul, Singapore, and Jakarta. The firm has over $1.5 billion under management and says its investment profile includes backing over 200 startups across various stages.
Acquipharma Holdings says it is a boutique investment fund that is focussed on making bets in the life sciences space.