In a statement, the corporate venture capital arm of ADM says the fund taps into long term consumer interest seen as a result of “the convergence of food and pharmaceuticals as consumers look towards bioactives and nutrition for wellness solutions.”
“We view Seventure as the premier investor in microbiome start-ups focused on human health and nutrition,” comments Darren Streiler, managing director of ADM Ventures.
“Since 2018, ADM has worked closely with the Seventure team to identify opportunities with microbiome solutions that can ultimately help with dietary supplements and food and beverage applications to serve as functional or proactive solutions.”
Based in Paris, Seventure’s venture capital fund has also attracted substantial investment by food firms such as Bel, raw ingredients specialists Tereos and French yeast manufacturer Lesaffre.
Other investors in the €230m ($273m) fund includes Tornier, and a US based global food ingredient provider alongside a number of entrepreneurs.
The fund aims to invest in innovative companies with strong growth potential mainly in Europe, but also North America, Israel and Asia; at any stage of maturity, including the seed stage, venture capital, pre-IPO and late stage or innovative growth capital.
Microbiome-focused investments in the past includes a €11.6m ($13.2m) financing of Tokyo-based Anaeropharma Science, a firm developing novel genetically enhanced bacteria to tackle tumours.
The fund was also part of a consortium to contribute a total of €24m into Israeli microbiome therapeutics company BiomX (formerly called MBCure).
Its €3m investment was part of a wider global group that included corporate venture funds Takeda Ventures and Johnson and Johnson Development Corporation, Venture Investor Orbimed, Korean fund manager Mirae Asset Global Investments, and SBI, a subsidiary of Softbank of Japan, as well as European family office investors.
BiomX works on the development of novel therapeutics for human diseases linked to the microbiome.
Its initial product candidates are based on bacteriophages, although the firm also uses technologies to identify microbiome targets for key diseases.
Earlier this year, Seventure were part of a €18m Series B financing round, in which MaaT Pharma received the funds to continue developing its microbiome-based biotherapeutics pipeline.
The Lyon-based therapeutics firm MaaT intends to expand into additional oncological indications where restoring a functional microbiome could provide significant therapeutic benefit when combined with other cancer treatments such as immune checkpoint inhibitors.
The Series B financing was backed by microbiome-focused US financier SymBiosis LLC, Crédit Mutuel Innovation, and Biocodex.
Balanced bacterial system
“With a better understanding of how the microbiome ecosystem works, we can develop functional ingredients for dietary supplements and food and beverage solutions targeted to help improve overall health,” Streiler adds.
“We are focused on looking at new, innovative solutions that can lead to a more balanced bacterial system in your digestive tract, otherwise known as a healthy gut, and can help lead to better health.”
ADM are themselves no strangers to the microbiome sector having recently announced an expansion of its microbiome-related production activities with the creation of a European facility that is expected to be in operation in 2022.
The facility will produce a number of probiotics and postbiotics — using ADM technology — to meet growing demand for new solutions for healthy weight management, skin health, immune health, gut health, oral health, fertility among other areas.
In response to increasing demand for microbiome-focused products, ADM moved to acquire Probiotics International Limited--known under its umbrella brand Protexin back in August 2018 for €155m (£185m).