Microbiomics is one of the next big trends in the Biotech industry. Using bacteria present in our guts to cure people has shown more and more potential. The VC industry is now interested in this field. Seventure Partners, the second largest Biotech Venture capital company and the world’s first €100M fund focused on Microbiome is now opening in France.
All the bacteria living in our body define our microbiome, and are in fact 10 times more numerous than our own cells. This vital structure has recently been discovered and we are just starting to understand its function. Not only could it play a major role in digestion, but also in our immune system. This field is now moving from the bench to the industry and market. Claudio Frazao, blogger for LaBiotech.eu, wrote an excellent review on this subject: The microbiome industry, when the potential turns into groundbreaking applications. Three other big news on the topic were published within the last two months, which underlines the growing interest in this field: Nestlé did an important investment in Boston-based Seres Health, Evotec partnered with Second Genome and 4D pharma raised €46M.
Seventure Partners also believes that microbiomics could become the next big field in Biotech, just as gene therapy or RNA-therapeutics are right now. I met with the CEO Isabelle de Cremoux at BIO-Europe who told me that, since 2001, she has been trying to spot the future next big trends in Biotech, to always stay one step ahead of the competition. Seventure is already active in the field of microbiome and has invested in a few companies: Enterome Bioscience (Paris), LNC (Laboratoires Nutrition & Cardiométabolisme) (Bordeaux), Interface Therapeutics (California, USA), Humedics (Berlin), and most recently, in January 2015, MaaT Pharma (Lyon), a newly founded French microbiome company.
Seventure also partners with important academic centers such as the Technology Transfer Office of INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), the Danish Technology Institute (DTI) and the Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg. As de Cremoux told me, Microbiome is one of the rare fields, where Europe, and especially France, is a world leader, having a great opportunity to generate value.
Thanks to these first experiences and these partnerships, Seventure will now take its ambition to the next level. This new fund called Health for Life Capital raised €100M thanks to financial groups, private investors as well as big industrials such as Danone. As a result, it has become the largest of its kind available, and Seventure is now a world leading investor in this area. Another active fund in this field is Flagship Ventures, a leading VC company in Boston. I met with David Berry, managing partner of the firm for the Boston documentary, and he seemed to believe that Microbiome could have a significant impact on our health and therefore generate an interesting return on investment.
The microbiome field is definitely a field to watch closely. With these additional financial resources, the field can accelerate its development and fulfill its huge potential.