BioGaia forms investment arm with the gut microbiome in mind

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

BioGaia forms investment arm with the gut microbiome in mind

Related tags: Biogaia, microbiome, Investment

Swedish probiotics firm BioGaia is to form a new investment subsidiary that looks to identify and invest in smaller companies that includes one developing products to strengthen the skin microbiome.

One of BioGaia Invest’s (BGI) first ventures is with Skinome, a Stockholm-based firm developing skin care products that contain microbio-friendly, effective ingredients that include postbiotics, glycerin and vitamins B1 and E.

“We look forward to new opportunities when collaborating with Skinome and are convinced that this will lead to increased growth for BioGaia,” ​says Sebastian Schröder, Managing Director of BGI. 

So far, BGI has invested €1.1m (SEK11.5m) in Skinome in an issue involving private equity company Spotchain and existing shareholders.

In connection with the investment, BioGaia and Skinome will collaborate in the development of microbiome friendly probiotic skin care products both for Skinome and to be rolled out in BioGaia’s international network.

With around €14.7m (€SEK150m) reserved for firm’s working on cutting-edge technologies, services and products, BGI will look to allocate funds of between €490k (SEK5) to €1.5m (SEK15m) in these enterprises.

In charge will be Sebastian Schröder, BioGaia’s EVP Business Development, who has recently been appointed Managing Director of BGI. 

Bone health monitoring

One other notable investment BGI has made has been in Boneprox, a business that uses artificial intelligence to assess bone health via dental x-rays.

Boneprox's technology has so far been able to diagnose osteoporosis through this method, where BioGaia’s bone health product, BioGaia Osfortis, may be of use to subjects with low bone density.

BGI has invested approximately €1m (SEK10.5m) in the Gothenberg-based firm in which its former owner, private equity company Backing Minds, also took part.

BioGaia’s investment arm mirrors that of other organisations in the food and nutrition industry that have set up similar models, which give them a stake in future innovations.

Cargill Ventures, which focuses on companies in the life sciences sector, have made the microbiome a priority by recently investing in Seventure Partners’ Health for Life Capital II fund.

The investment vehicle supports firm’s creating the next generation ingredient solutions that support the gut microbiome.

Cargill’s move into the digestive and immune health space began in 2017 with its acquisition of Diamond V, along with an investment in phytogenics pioneer Delacon. The corporation is already a minority shareholder in BioGaia with a recent €21m ($25m) investment.

ADM and the gut

Another investor in Seventure’s fund is ADM’s corporate venture capital arm, which made the move back in November 2020.

In the same month, ADM also revealed plans to construct a new facility in Spain to increase its probiotics production five-fold.

Other food and nutrition firms making investments in the gut include Danone and its US-based  corporate venture arm Danone Manifesto Ventures.

The venture capital firm entered a 7.3m ($8.65m) Series A funding round to back Sun Genomics, a custom probiotics startup, whose first consumer product, Floré, analyses stool microflora using the results to craft a custom probiotic.

Through DNA sequencing, Floré formulates the right probiotics for each customer's specific needs and delivers it directly to their door.

The model also extends to pharmaceuticals that target the microbiome with Nestle Health investing in gut microbiome specialist Enterome Bioscience, and Pfizer and Roche both supporting Second Genome during a series B funding round.

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