Cargill leads US$55M funding round for Evolve BioSystems’ probiotic targeting infant gut dysbiosis
10 Feb 2021 --- US-based Evolve BioSystems has landed US$55 million for the commercialization of its “next generation of probiotic.” Called Evivo, the offering is capable of addressing a widespread bacterial deficiency in the infant gut microbiome.
This first close of a series D funding round was led by food giant Cargill and Manna Tree, an investment firm specializing in human health.
Chuck Warta, president of Cargill’s health technologies business, says that Evivo has the potential to be a “highly distinctive” probiotic for infants.
“The financial support announced today, which includes strong continued support from our earlier investors, will help continue our mission to make a healthier future for our children during infancy and beyond,” says Timothy Brown, CEO of Evolve BioSystems.
Cargill and Manna Tree join board of directors
As part of the investment, Cargill and Manna Tree will serve as lead investors and join Evolve BioSystems’ board of directors.
“Evivo, Evolve BioSystems’ innovative infant probiotic, has been proven to have a dramatic impact on the developing infant gut and to guide long-term health trajectory,” says Gabrielle Rubenstein, co-founder and CEO of Manna Tree.
“This round of financing will continue to raise consumer and health care practitioner awareness while supporting continued R&D,” she continues.
“Together [with Evolve BioSystems], we can harness our respective expertise and knowledge in nutrition, digestive and immune health to bring next-generation ingredient solutions to our customers,” adds Warta.
Since the 2019 creation of Cargill Health Technologies, the company has been very active in the gut space. Last November, it invested both in Seventure Partners’ Health for Life Capital II fund and BioGaia.
Fighting infant gut dysbiosis
Evivo has been shown to resolve infant gut dysbiosis, or newborn gut deficiency. The probiotic is comprised of activated B. infantis EVC001, which studies have found guides critical development of infants’ digestive and immune systems.
A study last month funded by Evolve BioSystems found that nine out of ten US infants may be suffering from a substantial deficiency in an important gut bacterium, which is crucial for breast milk utilization and immune system development.
Evivo restores this missing bacterium to the infant gut microbiome, reducing potentially pathogenic bacteria by 80 percent as well as significantly reducing intestinal inflammation.
These pathogens are linked to a higher risk of both short- and long-term health issues, including colic, diaper rash, eczema, asthma, allergies and Type 1 diabetes.
A host of collaborations
Evolve BioSystems is a spin-off from the Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) at the University of California, Davis. It builds on more than a decade of research into understanding the partnership of the infant gut microbiome and breast milk components.
Other investors in this funding round included Horizons Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Spruce Capital Partners, Acre Venture Partners and Bow Capital.
Evolve BioSystems is currently involved in a clinical trial at the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh via a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The investigation will assess the impact of Evivo on infants who have been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.
Back in 2015, Tate & Lyle Ventures was an early investor in the company.
Edited by Katherine Durrell
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