Business & Tech

Boston startup hopes to use bacteria to treat autism

Boston venture capital firm Longwood Fund, co-leading a $19.1 million initial funding round, is helping to launch a local startup that wants to harness bacteria from the gut to treat autism and other neurodevelopment conditions.

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The startup, called Axial Biotherapeutics, formally announced its launch Wednesday, saying it will be using research conducted by California Institute of Technology professor Sarkis Mazmanian to develop a new class of “microbiome” treatments targeting the “gut-brain axis” to combat neurological disorders

Axial’s funding round was led by Longwood and Domain Associates of Princeton, NJ. Other investors included Kairos Ventures, Heritage Medical Systems, and a group of private investors from southern California.

Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.