Leadmed Carries out Series A, Hopes to Commercialize Gut Microbiome
COVID-19 and China
The mysterious world of bacteria. Image: Credit to Michael Schiffer on Unsplash

Ranging from ensuring good muscle functioning to cognitive skills, the diverse influence of gut microbiota in human health have lately been given greater recognition in academia, and the study of has been labelled a "rapidly emerging field" as recently as 2017. At present, gut microbiome analysis companies are arising around the world to follow this. scientific breakthrough.

On 20 September 2019, Leadmed (领治医学), a Shenzhen-based biotechnology company, carried out its Series A round worth CNY 30 million led by Magsun Capital (磁晅投资). With the Series A funding, the company aims to expand the operational capability of its micro-biome labs as well as amplifying its research team. Leadmed represents one of the first companies in this field in China.

The gut microbiome contains trillions of bacteria; imbalances in the levels of these bacteria  may be the core reason for several physical and psychological dysfunctions of the body. Clostridium difficile, a disorder that affects 250,000 people in the EU annually could be cured through microbiota treatments. The global industry for gut microbiome therapy is expected to reach USD 10 billion in 2026, according to EastMoney, a Chinese public equity analysis platform. 

Yet, Leadmed sees a bigger picture:  namely providing a life-long healthcare service with intestinal treatment at its core. At this point, most Chinese have yet to become aware of the potential of  better health management through the gut microbiome. Therefore the business plan has to be adjusted to realize short-term revenue.

The company's head, Yue Peng (岳朋) has a flexible business vision on the issue of commercialization.  ,She sees a variety of services as feasible revenue generation models, thanks to the diverse effects of gut microbiomes. However, providing check-up and health management services through offline facilities may not be profitable, because of the high costs of deploying the related facilities.

There are already successful examples from the United States operating in the gut microbiome analysis field. Viome, for instance, an early-stage initiative from New Mexico, has already accumulated over USD 45 million in financing. The company runs a simple but effective operating model. The gut microbiome analyzer asks customers to provide the sample via a kit, then the company sends the kit to the lab, and finally uploads the results to a cloud storage server that the users can reach via an app. "Viome Gut Intelligence Test" is worth USD 129.

According to Yue Peng, there are currently 2,000 exclusive clients of the company.  Most of them are high-end business people from first-tier cities, who seek a comprehensive solution from the company. Leveraging its early-mover advantage, Leadmed could be one of the major players in gut microbiome analysis in China in the near future if it successfully adjusts its business model.  

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