Metabiota, a company that monitors viral disease threats around the world, just landed $2.38 million in funding, according to a recent SEC filing.
The company, known by the more explicit name the Global Viral Forecasting Inc. until July 2012, was founded by Nathan Wolfe, a daring virologist who almost died of malaria collecting data in Africa. His audacity landed him on TIME magazine’s 2011 TIME 100 list. Wolfe’s company specializes in tracking global diseases on a microscopic level.
Metabiota is led by doctors, medical researchers, and anthropologists; and the specialist influence is clear from the get-go. The company’s namesake is a microbiological term referring to a stable relationship between a group of hosts and the microbes that inhabit them.
The health-tech company’s highest profile works include working with USAID on the PREDICT project alongside a consortium of other health organizations, using big data to seek out emerging diseases among animals in hopes of preventing their spread among humans after the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in 2009. As part of the PREDICT project, they also help to respond to outbreaks and educate residents in viral areas about the diseases they face.
As health-related startups spring up left and right in personal fitness and chronic-disease tracking, Metabiota has carved out its niche by bringing big data analysis to the global health sector.
This for-profit company also has a not-for-profit branch called Global Viral, which focuses on the education aspect of the organizations’ three-pronged approach to disease containment.
Metabiota and Global Viral started out as a non-profit in 2008 with seed funding from Google and the Skoll Foundation. Currently, Metabiota has offices in San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Guangzhou, China, as well as outposts for data collection in other parts of Asia and Africa.
Metabiota spokesperson Ash Casselman declined to comment on the funding.