CreAgri, a nutraceutical company which develops antioxidant polyphenols from the pulp of olives, said it has raised $8.3 million (€8.5m) in its first round of venture financing.
The Series A round was led by Burrill & Company, a San Francisco-based life sciences merchant bank, and included POSCO BioVentures, DSM Venturing, Foragen Technologies Management and Aurora Equity.
Dr Roberto Crea, chairman and founder of the company, said: "I am very pleased by the successful completion of this financing for CreAgri. The superb quality of the investors and their strong connection with the nutraceutical and functional food industry are major components for the future growth of the company."
Founded four years ago, California-based CreAgri has focused on the recovery of the water by-product produced during olive oil extraction and makes the dietary supplement Olivenol and Hidrox ingredient. In the past two years the company has received three US patents on its proprietary process and composition.
"CreAgri typifies what we are looking for in a nutraceuticals investment," said Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Company. "The company's products are backed by sound scientific evidence to prove their efficacy. This kind of solid reassurance is what health-minded consumers are seeking from their dietary supplements and functional foods."
Roger Wyse, Ph.D. and managing director of Burrill & Company's Nutraceuticals business, said: "The Burrill Nutraceuticals Capital Fund invested in CreAgri because Dr Crea, both a successful entrepreneur and distinguished scientist, had discovered one of the strongest antioxidants in nature which is also known to be the key contributor of the health benefits derived from the Mediterranean diet."
Paul Hamm, director of DSM Venturing and Business Development, added: "By investing in CreAgri and cooperating with this innovative company, DSM expects to accelerate innovations in the nutraceuticals arena. We expect this affiliation to foster win-win-win business situations for CreAgri, DSM Venturing, and DSM Food Specialties."
"DSM Venturing's mission is to explore emerging markets and technologies in order to enhance DSM's portfolio and create value often on behalf of or in cooperation with the DSM Business Groups," continued Hamm.
The DSM group is currently aiming to grow its revenue to €10 billion by 2005, and is targeting life sciences as a key contributor to this growth.
Leo Kim, president and CEO of POSCO BioVentures, a California-based biotechnology venture fund, also noted that it is unusual to find a young quality company with products backed by good science.