French oligosaccharide specialist wins €5m VC funding


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Olygose: "We have a clear action plan for these markets and this investment allows us to action those plans.”
Olygose: "We have a clear action plan for these markets and this investment allows us to action those plans.”

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French pea starch player Olygose has won a €5m cash injection from three venture capitalists (VC) as the firm seeks to build markets outside western Europe, with the US and Asia key targets.

CEO François Delbaere told us this morning that the Picardie-based start-up intended to use the cash to fund international expansion along with clinical trial development to win prebiotic and other health claims in Europe and beyond.

“We are trying to win EFSA claims but it is not all about that, there are other places – the world is large,” ​Delbaere observed.

“Look at some of the markets where weight management is a big issue – the US, Mexico, Turkey, Greece. We have a clear action plan for these markets and this investment allows us to action those plans.”

Olygose in October just gone won a glycaemic-response health claim positive opinion for its pea-derived oligosaccharides (GOS) from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that helped raise its profile and did no harm in attracting the attention of the VC that have each contributed €1.5m. Existing stakeholders and business angels put up the remaining €500,000.

Claims, horizons

That positive opinion meant they joined GOS giants like Beneo, Cosucra and Sensus in being able to market their wares on their glycaemic response potential with its associated link to weight control and insulin control and therefore diabetes.

The official claim approved by EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) linked the consumption of foods/beverages containing non-digestible carbohydrates and a reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses as compared with sugar-containing foods/beverages.”

Business vision

A prebiotic claim is the next prize – like the one won​ recently by Beneo under article 13.5 of the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

The three VCs are CapAgro, VIVES II – Louvain Technology Fund and Emertec.

VIVES II CEO Philippe Durieux said in a statement: “The Catholic University of Louvain possesses leading edge scientific expertise in this field, notably via the Metabolism and Nutrition Laboratory headed by professors [Patrice] Cani and [Nathalie] Delzenne. This investment in a French start-up is thus helping to forge new links fostering the creation of new, innovative projects in this sector.”

CapAgro general manager Jérôme Samson, called Olygose “a key player in healthy nutrition”,​ a sector he noted was “one of our priority sectors of investment”.

The ingredient's main applications are in confectionery and baked goods, as well as food supplements.

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