Seventure Partners aims to raise third €300m microbiome innovation fund in 2023
The Health for Life III fund will launch in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023, with the hope of raising €300 million to invest in the microbiome space. Seventure Partners had been investing in microbiome innovation for almost a decade now, with the launch of its first fund in 2014 at €160m and a second €200+m fund in 2019, extended due to so much interest.
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO and managing partner at Seventure Partners, said its Health for Life II fund was still active, having already made 16 investments with another five or seven still in the pipeline, but the third fund would enable further and continued investment in the innovative and fast-evolving space of the microbiome.
‘The field has continuously gained momentum’
“It’s true that the core focus of this Health for Life fund is microbiome, for all the locations that it could be – skin microbiome, gut microbiome, vaginal, oral, you name it. And it could be for companies in the skin care industry or in the food and nutrition industry or in drug and vaccines or in digital business models, such as digital health diagnostics and digital nutrition,” Cremoux said.
“…The field has continuously gained momentum, not only in skin care but in all applications,” she said.
This was being driven by scientific advances, she said, with around 700 new clinical trials and more than 1,000 patents every year in the microbiome space. And much of this research was focused on advancing knowledge on the links between the microbiome, food, pharmaceuticals, and overall immunity, she said.
This scientific push also aligned well with a rising understanding and engagement in microbiome health amongst consumers and patients, Cremoux said.
Investment in this space, therefore, was critical, she said, though there remained very few venture capital funds engaged in this space.
The microbiome is a ‘super complex’ space
Asked why, she said: “The first explanation is that the microbiome is super complicated to understand, so the entry-barrier from a learnings curve is very high. In order to be credible in leading microbiome deals, you have to understand living organisms; it’s super complex and there are as many bugs as there are planets or stars. Secondly, you have to understand the interactions with food and drugs – even when it is skin microbiome. (…) You also have to understand how to manufacture these products.”
So, what exactly was Seventure Partners looking to invest in for its Health for Life III fund?
“The core focus, as in one and two, will be the same. The majority of investments will be microbiome with the field of application, but it’s not 100% because sometimes the link is direct and, sometimes, we see the link indirectly.”
“…What really would convince us is the quality of innovation. So, some innovations are really breakthrough, like deep tech, some are more incremental – improving things. It’s not the same scale. We are interested in both, in terms of level of innovation and level of risk, but it has to bring some level of innovation with some USP [Unique Selling Point]; something unique,” Cremoux said.
The company was looking to invest the €300m across 20 to 25 companies of varying sizes – from €0-70m in sales. “It could be a very early stage, growth stage or more mature company; EBIDTA positive or negative.”
Skin microbiome specifics
Seventure Partners had already invested in a wide range of companies highly active in the skin microbiome space, more specifically, via its Health for Life funding programme, including BiomX, Dermala, Siolta Therapeutics and Eligo Bioscience. Most recently, the venture capitalist invested €10m in Danish microbiome research firm Clinical Microbiomics A/S, known for its pioneering work on clonal-level microbiome profiling and rich dataset.
“The skin microbiome is still an emerging field because there’s more in the future than there was in the past. (…) The journey, and the pre-empting of the value of this field is still ahead,” Cremoux said.