French microbiome-focused fund announces €200m+ raised in first close

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/Florence McGinn
©iStock/Florence McGinn
Health for Life Capital II (HFL II) - Seventure Partners’ microbiome-focused fund, announces its first close after raising over €200m in finance that continues venture capitalist (VC) interest in gut health innovation and foodtech.

According to the VC, the new fund has attracted new investors including a US-based global food ingredient provider. Previous investors from the first fund (HFL) that raised €160m have included Danone and Novartis.

“We are proud to be trusted by prestigious industry champions as Danone, Novartis, our new US global food ingredient provider, Lesaffre, Bel and Unigrains etc,”​ said Isabelle de Cremoux, lead fund raiser and CEO and managing partner of Seventure Partners.

“Research and investment in the microbiome was at its infancy when we launched our first fund in 2014.

Fast-forward to 2019 and, alongside digital health, precision medicine and personalised nutrition, the microbiome has exploded and is one of the hottest areas for healthcare and nutrition investment.”

Axial and Galecto

HFL II has already announced its first two investments – US-based Axial Biotherapeutics and Galecto Biotech in Denmark and expect to add around 18 global companies going forwards.

The fund will take its cue from investments made in HFL that included firms like Enterome, LNC Therapeutics, A-Mansia Biotech, DayTwo, MycoTechnology and others.

With €750m net commitments under management as of the end of 2018, Seventure Partners have made investments that focus on life sciences across Europe, Israel, Asia and North America and digital technologies in France and Germany.

In 2017, the HFL fund announced a €11.6m ($13.2m) financing of Tokyo-based microbiome firm Anaeropharma Science.

The Japanese firm is developing novel genetically enhanced bacteria for medical applications – specifically aimed at fighting tumours.

That same year, personalised health player DayTwo announced it had secured a €10.6m ($12m) investment from Seventure as part of a series A round of fundraising.

Seventure Partners are amongst a number of VC firms looking to ride the wave of microbiome product innovation as the gut bacterial ecosystem continues to be linked to a number of allergies and gastrointestinal ailments.

The interest though is its role in long-term, chronic ailments that a decline in national health and increase in longevity are exacerbating. These include obesity, diabetes, autism, Parkinson, depression and cancer.

GeneChem pioneers

Towards the end of 2017, Flagship Pioneering raised €548m ($618m) in a new round of capital commitments bringing the total capital raised for innovation and venture creation platform to over €2bn ($2.3bn).

The US-based VC has invested in firms such as Seres Therapeutics, which work with microbiome-based therapies and Indigo Agriculture, a firm working on plant microbiome technology.

In late 1997, GeneChem technologies became the first firm to launch a genomics-based VC fund to capitalise on opportunities afforded by the emerging genomics sector.

With committed capital of €88.7m ($100m), the Canadian-based firm invested this first focused fund in companies active in the field of genomics, defined as gene discovery, functional genomics, bio-informatics, proteomics and gene therapy.

The companies in the portfolio also developed tools, platforms or were involved in drug discovery.

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