MRM Health also announced that it raised more than €14m to advance its clinical and preclinical development programs in the field of microbiome-based therapeutics with partner participation.
COPENHAGEN, Feb. 19, 2020 – DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (DuPont) today announced a collaboration with the MRM Health NV (MRM Health), a biopharmaceutical company, focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics based on the human microbiome. MRM Health also confirmed the successful completion of its first external investment round with the participation of Ackermans & van Haaren, DuPont, MRM Technologies, Qbic II and VIB.
DuPont and MRM Health will join forces to tackle a range of metabolic diseases, in which the proprietary MRM Health technology platform and some selected DuPont strains will be combined to develop novel therapeutics based on live bacterial strain combinations.
“We are thrilled to partner with MRM Health to jointly develop the next generation of microbiome products. Combining MRM Health’s unique technology platform with DuPont knowledge and experience provides a unique opportunity to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapeutic products in areas such as metabolic health,” said Sebastien Guery, Human Microbiome Venture Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.
“We are excited to enter into a partnership with DuPont for the discovery and development of innovative therapies for metabolic diseases. We believe their extensive capabilities in the microbiome field together with our expertise and proprietary technology platform for developing gut microbiome-based therapeutics are a great combination in the quest to deliver a novel class of natural and efficacious solutions for millions of patients worldwide. In addition, we are delighted to have the financial support of long-term investor Ackermans & van Haaren, venture capital fund Qbic II and expert microbiome players MRM Technologies and DuPont, and to continue and strengthen our long-standing strategic partnership with VIB,” said Sam Possemiers, CEO and co-founder of MRM Health.
The proceeds of the investment round provide MRM Health with the financing resources to advance its lead program in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to clinical studies in different patient populations and to further progress its ongoing discovery programs to deliver potential breakthrough treatments in Spondyloarthritis and other indications. Through the strategic partnership with VIB, MRM Health will leverage the extensive complementary microbiome and bioinformatics capabilities of the lab of Professor Jeroen Raes, VIB – KU Leuven and the multidisciplinary know-how and patient insights in arthritis and inflammatory diseases of Professor Dirk Elewaut, VIB – UGent and his team.
MRM Health was incorporated by MRM Technologies through a partial de-merger of the operations of ProDigest, a global specialist in the field of intestinal and microbiome research, allowing ProDigest to continue and further expand its independent and unique scientific research services to clients across sectors from pharmaceutical, food and feed industry. These activities are based on ProDigest’s SHIME® technology (Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem, unique laboratory models of the human and animal gastrointestinal tract) which can be used to simulate the metabolism and biodistribution of pharmaceuticals in development, as well as the interaction of the intestinal microbiome with pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, animal feed and health products.
About MRM Health
MRM Health NV, Ghent, Belgium, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics based on the human microbiome. MRM Health was incorporated early 2020 by MRM Technologies, a Center of Expertise for microbiome research based in the biotech cluster in Ghent, in a joint venture with the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB), an excellence-based entrepreneurial life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium, that focuses on translating basic scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications.
MRM Health has a corporate collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences in the discovery and development of microbiome-based therapeutics in the field of metabolic diseases. The company is strategically supported by strong local and international investors, including Ackermans & van Haaren, DuPont, MRM Technologies, Qbic II and VIB.
About MRM Technologies
MRM Technologies, headquartered in Ghent, Belgium, was incorporated in 2016 as center of expertise in microbiome research and development. In 2017, Korys, the investment company of the Colruyt family joined the MRM Technologies founders as a long-term equity partner.
About Ackermans & van Haaren
Ackermans & van Haaren (Euronext Brussels: ACKB) is a diversified group operating in four core sectors, Marine Engineering & Contracting, Private Banking, Real Estate & Senior Care and Energy & Resources. It also provides growth capital to sustainable companies in a.o. the healthcare and agricultural sector, as illustrated by its investments in 2019 in Biolectric (biogas), Biotalys (biological food and crop protection) and Medikabazaar (online supply of medical equipment).
About Qbic II
Qbic is a seed and early-stage and sector agnostic inter-university fund investing in spin-offs and young innovating companies that have a technology link with Qbic’s partner universities and research institutions. Qbic is managed by an independent team of seasoned investment and business professionals. The first Qbic fund – Qbic I – has been incorporated in 2012 with a capital of € 40,7 million and invested in 18 companies. Qbic I is currently focusing on follow on investments and exits. The second Qbic fund – Qbic II – started in December 2016 and has a capital € of 58,9 million. With close to € 100 million under management, Qbic is one of the largest inter-university spin-off funds in Europe.
VIB is an excellence-based entrepreneurial research institute in life sciences that focuses on translating basic scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. VIB’s Innovation & Business team currently has a portfolio of +250 patent families. This team conducts about 120 partnering agreements with innovative companies each year. VIB is also firmly rooted in a long-standing tradition of setting up start-up companies. Since its foundation in 1996, VIB has created 23 start-up companies. VIB is funded by the Flemish government and works in close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University. More information: www.vib.be.
About KU Leuven
As the number one European university for innovation, KU Leuven actively invests in launching innovative technologies in the commercial market by creating spin-off companies, securing and licensing intellectual property, and collaborating with industry. KU Leuven supports researchers and students in transforming their innovative ideas and technologies into commercial products and services that impact people’s lives worldwide. Since its creation in 1972, KU Leuven Research & Development has supported the creation and growth of 128 spin-off companies, directly employing more than 6,700 people. KU Leuven’s spin-off companies constitute a huge economic leverage for the Leuven region. More information: https://lrd.kuleuven.be/en.
About Ghent University
Ghent University is one of the major universities in the Dutch-speaking region of Europe. It distinguishes itself as a socially committed and pluralistic university in a broad international perspective. About 80 faculty departments, spread over 11 faculties, offer high-quality courses in every one of their scientific disciplines. www.UGent.be/en
Next to this, Ghent University strategically invests in multidisciplinary clusters to expand its industrial R&D network. Key technology transfer activities include industrial collaboration programs, IP licensing and spin-off creation. Over the past 10 years, this joint effort has resulted in 439 granted patents, the establishment of 68 spin-off companies and an intensive collaboration with companies.
About DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences
DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences applies expert science to advance healthy and sustainable solutions for the food, beverage, dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries. We also use pioneering biotechnology to enable bio-based solutions that make products and industrial processes more efficient and sustainable. For more information: www.dupontnutritionandbiosciences.com or www.biosciences.dupont.com.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) is a global innovation leader with technology-based materials, ingredients and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life. Our employees apply diverse science and expertise to help customers advance their best ideas and deliver essential innovations in key markets including electronics, transportation, construction, water, health and wellness, food and worker safety. More information can be found at www.dupont.com.
 The most advanced program is MH002, a drug candidate for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). MH002 is an optimized consortium of bacteria, consisting of 6 rationally selected and well-characterized commensal strains.