Microbiome Research is Pushing New Horizons: Seventure Partners

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13 June 2017 --- Rapidly advancing understanding of the relationship between humans and their symbiotic microbes, and how their imbalance (dysbiosis) triggers or contributes to diseases will transform opportunities for novel nutritional, diagnostic and therapeutic products, says a new report by Seventure Partners, a French venture capital firm targeting life sciences companies.

Published today at the start of the Microbiome Discovery and Development Congress in Berlin, the report, entitled The Human Microbiome: A New Protagonist in Managing Human Health, focuses on the gut microbiome, and describes recent scientific advances and the reaction of the life sciences and healthcare industry to this emerging field.

The report discusses the need to embrace dysbiosis, the holistic nature of the gut microbiome’s effects on the body and focuses on the micro-ecology – new targets and tools needed to decipher the microbiome. The report also delves into the issues around paradigm shift and opportunities in the field, highlighting those companies and the forefront of microbiome research and development.

Industry has already embraced the potential of the microbiome – from the small start-up to large corporates. In the report, Dr. Dirk Gevers, Global Head, Janssen Human Microbiome Institute, Johnson & Johnson says that “inevitably, the patient journey of the future will combine elements of microbiome diagnostics and prescription drugs, with host-specific therapy and nutrition.”

“Investing in the microbiome was considered exotic when we started six years ago. With a market predicted to be worth over half a billion US dollars by 2022, investing in microbiome based companies is now rapidly becoming mainstream, with an exponential growth of innovative companies being founded to develop products based on new biological insights,” says Isabelle de Crémoux, CEO and Managing Partner at Seventure Partners.

A total of US$744m was privately invested in microbiome companies focused on oncology, metabolic disease, infectious disease, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and Clostridium difficile between 2011 and 2016. While over a third was invested in developing treatments for GI disorders (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), 6% of the total was invested in the emerging oncology/microbiome interface. Metabolic diseases received a 16% split, while infectious diseases took a fifth. Investment into Clostridium difficile stood at 22%. Geographically, over US$600m was invested in North America, with the remainder invested in Europe.

According to Seventure Partners, the report features research based on an extensive literature review, supplemented by a series of interviews with leading scientists, industry executives, entrepreneurs and investors. It includes perspectives on the impact of the microbiome on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases, the interface between nutrition and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the current and future challenges that will need to be overcome, including evolving regulatory requirements. 

The findings of the report were previewed during Seventure’s workshop during Bio-Europe Spring in Barcelona.

Speaking during a webinar on the growing interest in microbiome and digestive health, Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, notes that gut health is an important facet of the trend toward personalized nutrition, creating interesting opportunities for product development in a wide range of categories.

“Consumers have an idea that there are foods that are good or better for them, and this is really the start of a personalized nutrition phase for the food industry.”

Despite strict regulations on health claims on consumer products in regions such as the EU, Williams points out that “Globally, we have seen a +25 percent growth over 2012 to 2016 for Food and Beverage launches with a digestive health claim.”

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