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Second Genome Replaces DiLaura as CEO, Brings Series B to $51M

Xconomy San Francisco — 

[Updated and corrected 7/14/16, 5:49 p.m. ET. See below.] Second Genome, a biotech trying to create small-molecule drugs using its microbiome research, has hired a new CEO and president: Glenn Nedwin, the former CEO of Taxon Biosciences, a microbiome company that was acquired by Dupont last year.

Nedwin is replacing Peter DiLaura, the company’s CEO since 2010. Second Genome, which is based in South San Francisco, says that DiLaura left the company as part of a planned transition. Second Genome declined to comment on what he’s doing now.

The company simultaneously announced that it has expanded its Series B funding round to $51 million, adding $8 million more to the amount announced in April. That money came from SR One, the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, which joined Pfizer Venture Investments, Roche Venture Fund, and Digitalis Ventures in the financing.

Nedwin said that Second Genome wanted a CEO with pharmaceutical experience, as well as microbiome expertise. His background at Taxon is based in agricultural and environmental microbiomes. The company used its own genomics, bioinformatics, and microbiology technology to create microbiome-based products for those industries. Dupont acquired Taxon for an undisclosed amount. [Updated with comment from Nedwin.]

“I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that microbes are everywhere—in us, on us, around us,” Nedwin told Xconomy in a telephone interview. “Understanding how microbes can affect health, medicine, agriculture, environment is truly the next paradigm shift or holy grail for understanding interactions in the world.”

With Second Genome, Nedwin will be stepping into the world of human microbes. The company aims to block the molecular interactions between a person and the microbes in his or her system that are causing disease, as Xconomy previously reported. Second Genome has funded clinical trials on both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The company expects the Series B funding will take it through the Phase 2 trial of its candidate for ulcerative colitis.

Founded as PhyloTech, with the intention of using its technology toward environmental cleanup, Second Genome moved its focus to therapeutics in 2011, when it received a $5 million Series A round (the total Series A closed at $11.5 million). Board chairman Corey Goodman and DiLaura did not respond to requests for comment. [Corrected to indicate DiLaura did not respond to a request for comment.]

Nedwin is joining the company’s board of directors, as is Jill Carroll of SR One.