Chr. Hansen adds Jennewein HMO expertise to microbial platform in €310m deal

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Chr. Hansen adds Jennewein to ranks in €310m deal

Related tags: Chr hansen, Jennewein, HMO

Chr. Hansen is to acquire Jennewein Biotechnologie for €310m in a deal designed to merge the bioscience firm’s probiotic interests with the gains Jennewein have made in the Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO) market.

The agreement, to be completed this month, forms part of Chr. Hansen’s efforts to anticipate HMO demand that includes a €200m investment in production facilities until 2025 to meet secured long-term contracts.

“I am truly excited that we have reached an agreement to acquire Jennewein,”​ says Chr. Hansen CEO Mauricio Graber.

“We are making a long-term investment and commitment to HMOs, which I am convinced will bring long-term value creation to our shareholders.

“Given the addressable market and the expected growth rates, this is now our 5th strategic lighthouse and will be accretive to our organic growth beyond 2020/21.”

The acquisition adds to Chr. Hansen’s current portfolio of microbial and fermentation technology platforms developed via a series of purchases over recent years.

At the start of Summer, the firm shelled out for €451m ($530m) for UAS Laboratories LLC​, a US-based company that specialises in probiotics to address digestive disorders, immune stimulation, infant health and weight management, amongst others.

These strains include Lactobacillus reuteri​​ ​NCIMB 30242 LRC (recently reclassified as Limosilactobacillus reuteri​​), Lactobacillus gasseri​​ ​BNR17, and the ProDURA range of spore-forming probiotics.

HSO Healthcare buy

Prior to this agreement, Denmark-based Chr. Hansen also bought Austria-based HSO Health Care​ and its branded portfolio Astarte, a line of patented probiotic products for women’s health.

Whilst financial details were not disclosed, Chr. Hansen revealed that Astarte would be combined with its UREX products, creating a portfolio that can be, “leveraged globally and expanded into new adjacencies within women’s health”.

Commenting on the strength of Jennewein’s fit, Graber adds that its fermentation platform is, “scalable and offers good long-term margin potential as volumes increase”.

“Jennewein is a leader in the HMO industry with a superior product offering and IP portfolio, and we believe the company holds a leading position in this relatively new and very exciting market.

“Jennewein’s products will have strong functional synergies with our probiotic bacteria, such as LGG and BB-12 and combining the companies will create an even stronger competitive advantage,” ​he adds.

Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, Jennewein currently employs around 100 employees. Its current portfolio includes 6 commercialised HMOs that include 2'-Fucosyllactose (2'-FL) and Lacto-N-Neotetraose (LNnT) purified by its patent-protected process.

These ingredients, along with probiotics form the backbone of a new premiumisation trend in infant formula that Chr. Hansen are looking to capitalise on to create synergistic blends in the future.

Other HMOs in Jennewein’s range includes Lacto-N-tetraose (LNT), 3-Fucosyllactose (3-FL) and Difucosyllactose (DiFL), which promotes the growth of Bifidobacteria​, thus helping to shape the gut microbiome.

Management reshuffle

Under Chr. Hansen ownership, co-founders and CEOs, Dr Stefan Jennewein will take the role of Chief Science and Technology Advisor whilst Dr Klaus Jennewein will retire from the company.

“Today, we are starting a new chapter in the pre- and synbiotic market by combining the strengths of Chr. Hansen and Jennewein Biotechnologie,”​ says Stefan Jennewein.

“15 years ago, Jennewein started with the ambition to make human milk oligosaccharides available for all infants.

“Initially we were very much intrigued by the anti-infective effects of HMOs, in particular against human pathogenic viruses, today it is clear that even more beneficial effects can be expected from the combination of HMOs with probiotics.

“Chr. Hansen is the perfect match for Jennewein to bring the HMO story to the next level,”​ he adds.

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