MatriSys Bioscience, a small biotechnology firm in La Jolla, has landed $1.5 million in a round led by professional angel investing group Tech Coast Angels (TCA).
TCA put in $765,000 for the round, while other undisclosed investors contributed the remaining cash.
MatriSys will use the money to continue development of a freeze-dried product, a TCA spokesperson said via email.
MatriSys is developing skin care products that help balance the microbiome of the skin by expanding the number of beneficial “good” microbes and removing the damaging or pathogenic “bad bugs.”
“In the past, there have been very few options for a patient suffering from atopic dermatitis (commonly referred to as AD or eczema),” said Mark S. Wilson, CEO of MatriSys. “The choices were to take an antibacterial therapy that removed all the bacteria — both good and bad — from the skin, or to take something that suppresses the patient’s immune system. Neither of these is particularly good as depletion of good bacteria can create an environment where pathogens can multiply, causing more imbalance and infection. What our technology does is selectively remove the bad bugs by application of “good bugs” to re-balance the skin condition.”
The company’s core technology comes from dermatology research by Professor Richard Gallo’s group at the University of California, San Diego.
MatriSys sees commercialization paths for its intellectual property in cosmetics, skin care, and topical pharmaceutical-grade dermatology products. The company’s lead live biologic therapeutic is currently in Phase 1/2 clinical trials.
“To move from the lab to clinical testing so rapidly indicates this is highly promising technology,” said Dr. Jeff Friedman, deal lead and head of TCA’s life sciences committee. “TCA is excited to support development of novel live biologic therapeutics. We think the concept of using good bugs to fight bad bugs will positively impact a lot of patients.”
As part of the deal, Friedman will join the board of MatriSys and will help the company with business development, counsel, and assist with subsequent financing.
MatriSys is not the first to focus on this emerging area of skin care products. Local firm Xycrobe Therapeutics recently landed a partnership with Johnson & Johnson to further develop of its new product — a skin cream made of live cultures engineered to grow and secrete biotherapeutics that will balance the skin’s microbiome.