Seventure adds €25M to microbiome investment fund

Seventure Partners has added €25 million ($27 million) to its microbiome investment fund, bringing the total under management to €100 million. The move ups the financial firepower of the fund--which has invested in 5 companies since it started late in 2013--at a time when microbiome R&D is starting to take off.

Isabelle de Cremoux

In the 15 months since the fund got underway with €62 million in the bank, a string of deals involving Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Pfizer ($PFE) and others has cemented the microbiome as one of the hottest emerging fields of research. Such sector-validating deals have helped Seventure move toward its eventual target of €120 million ($131 million), with the €25 million raised this week coming 8 months after yeast specialist Lesaffre chipped in €10 million.

The surge in interest has surpassed even Seventure's optimistic expectations. "Since 2008, we have noticed the steady growth of interest in microbiome. Today it's a bigger wave than we have anticipated back than," Seventure CEO Isabelle de Cremoux told European Biotechnology News. De Cremoux is particularly interested in the potential to apply the gene editing technique CRISPR to the microbiome. Early research suggests such an approach could help address antimicrobial resistance.

Seventure is now searching for its next investment targets. To date, the fund has focused on startups based in Europe that are working on drugs or diagnostics related to the microbiome, although it has looked beyond these geographic and scientific boundaries. The fund has also shown an appetite for being involved with startups from day one. In January, Seventure committed €1 million to get Lyon, France-based MaaT Pharma off the ground.

MaaT Pharma--which is the fund's third French investment--is the brainchild of Pierre Belichard, Hervé Affagard, Joël Doré and Pierre Rimbaud. Seventure hooked up with the co-founders in 2013 to take scientific advances at France's national research institute INRA and turn them into treatments for microbial imbalances in the gut.

- read European Biotechnology News' coverage
- here's the press release