Seventure Partners had been investing in microbiome innovation since the launch of its Health For Life Fund in 2014, where it invested €160m across 20 cutting-edge companies – Enterome, Vedanta Biosciences and BiomX, among others. In March 2019, Seventure Partners launched its Health For Life Fund II, making a further €200m+ available for investment in the microbiome and nutrition space – a fund that was recently extended.
“Due to significant interest, its final close has been extended until Spring 2021. This second fund is significantly oversubscribed, already exceeding the initial €200m target size,” Seventure Partners said in a recent statement.
This second fund had already made eight investments in the microbiome space.
Both first and second funds had attracted strategic investments from “prestigious organisations”, according to Seventure Partners, including Danone, Novartis and Lesaffre, along with financial institutions, family offices and entrepreneurs.
A new investment spotlight on skin microbiome
Seventure Partners said as microbiome research became increasingly important, it had also expanded its investment portfolio into “new, emerging areas such as the skin microbiome”.
Four companies within its Health for Life Fund portfolio, for example, were active in this area: BiomX, Dermala, Siolta Therapeutics and Eligo Bioscience.
Eligo Bioscience had just signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to advance its Eligobiotics technology for the treatment or prevention of acne vulgaris by modifying the composition of the skin’s microbiome. BiomX was also primed to launch a Phase II cosmetic clinical study this year for acne and start a new programme to develop a topically administered phage therapy for Staphylococcus aureus – a bacterium strongly linked to atopic dermatitis.
At the end of 2020, Seventure joined a €5.52m ($6.73m) Series A financing round in California-based Dermala – a dermatology firm specialised in personalised, microbiome-based topical and oral solutions for acne and other skin conditions. And in May 2020, Seventure also invested in the €24.6m ($30m) Series B financing round for Siolta Therapeutics – a California-based biotech firm specialised in designing next-generation microbial therapeutics. Siolta Therapeutics was now primed to launch two Phase II clinical studies on allergic diseases in infants – atopic dermatitis, food allergy and atopic wheeze – based on oral administration of a multi-species blend.
Increased attention from major skin care companies
Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO and managing partner at Seventure Partners, said: “While microbiome research is a relatively young area, our understanding of the close connection between the human microbiome and our immune system is growing by the day.”
De Cremoux, who led the Health for Life Capital fund raising and microbiome strategy, added: “This is also reflected by the growing number of major deals in this field, in many modalities and in many therapeutic areas, including the skin microbiome, which is increasingly drawing attention from major skin care companies.”
The skin microbiome had certainly continued to be an important topic for the cosmetics and personal care space in 2020, with plenty of innovation and patents in the field and CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s expert Skin Microbiome Webinar highlighting the level of potential and new advances in the field.