Ritter Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Century City biotech company that develops therapies for gastrointestinal diseases, raised $23 million to fund a Phase 3 clinical trial for its lactose intolerance treatment, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday.

The company closed a $23 million offering to fund the launch of its clinical program for RP-G28, a microbiome modulator designed to stimulate the growth of lactose-metabolizing bacteria in the colon, according to the document.

If Ritter can adapt the gut microbiome to help digest the lactose that reaches the large intestine, it would become the first treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for lactose intolerance, a condition that affects millions worldwide.

Co-founded by Ira E. Ritter and Andrew J. Ritter in 2004, the company has seven employees and a market cap of $5.5 million. Its stock closed at 37 cents in Wednesday trading, up 2.5 percent.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.