– BELGIUM, Louvain-la-Neuve- A-Mansia Biotech S.A. (aka A-Mansia), the microbiome company focused on developing products based on the unique properties of the Akkermansia muciniphila (A. muciniphila) bacterium, today announces a €13 million first close of its Series A financing, led by Seventure Partners. The financing round remains open for additional investment.
Founded in 2016, A-Mansia is based on discoveries made by the founding scientists, Professor Willem M. de Vos from Wageningen University (The Netherlands) and Professor Patrice D. Cani from the University of Louvain (UCL, Belgium). Isolated in 2004 at Wageningen University, A. muciniphila is one of the most abundant species found in the gut microbiota, the population of microorganisms housed in the gastrointestinal tract. A. muciniphila is located in a particular niche: the mucus layer covering the intestinal epithelium. This location allows this bacterium to establish a close cross-talk with the host. Thanks to these interactions with the host immune and metabolic functions, A. muciniphila acts as the gatekeeper of the intestinal barrier.
More than ten years of collaborative research in two well-recognized university laboratories have led to the demonstration that daily administration of live A. muciniphila can improve metabolic disorders and inflammatory conditions in mice fed with a high-fat diet. Pasteurised A. muciniphila exhibited the same, or greater, beneficial effects and completely prevented the development of disorders induced by a high-fat diet in the preclinical model.
The first human exploratory study of A. muciniphila in volunteers is currently ongoing in University of Louvain’s hospital (Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels). Interim results confirm that it is safe and well tolerated. In parallel research, the team has identified active components isolated from A. muciniphila able to replicate the beneficial properties associated with administration of the whole bacterium.
The Company starts with a strong intellectual property portfolio, thanks to patents developed by both Universities. Proceeds of this Series A financing will be used to progress the development of a proprietary nutritional supplement based on A. muciniphila through to commercial launch. As subjects with an increased cardio-metabolic risk (insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, high blood cholesterol, and visceral fat accumulation) are characterized by lower A. muciniphila abundance in the gut, this supplement could be key to maintaining health and immunity, normal glycaemia, normal blood cholesterol levels and avoiding excessive weight gain. Funds will also be applied to developing a pharmaceutical research pipeline based on active components isolated from A. muciniphila.
Alongside Seventure Partners, the leading specialist in microbiome venture investing, other venture investors included Fonds Vives II (University of Louvain, UCL), the SRIW Life Sciences and Nivelinvest, as well as historical supporter of the research, private investor Mr Pierre Drion. A-Mansia has also secured €3m in non-dilutive funding from the Walloon regional government.
Jean-Christophe Malrieu, who joined the team in 2017 as CEO, brings with him a track record of entrepreneurship, as well as finance, marketing and commercialisation expertise to the company.
Scientific co-founder Professor Willem M. de Vos said: “We discovered this unique symbiont when searching for intestinal bacteria that have an intimate relationship with us. It is exciting to be progressing A. muciniphila to the next level and to be able to contribute to people’s quality of life.”
Scientific co-founder Professor Patrice D. Cani added: “This is a unique opportunity to progress the output from the scientific discoveries made at University of Louvain (UCL) and Wageningen University’s laboratories into products available to everyone.”
Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO and Managing Partner of Seventure Partners, said: “Seventure Partners and its key microbiome fund Health for Life Capital™ has taken the lead investor role in this Series A round because of a strong belief in the scientific founders of A-Mansia, and in the solid grounding of their product development plans to generate pre-clinical and clinical data. We will be active in helping guide A-Mansia to reach its goals of marketing a dietary supplement product, and testing its lead drug candidate in the clinic.”
As part of the investment, Eric de la Fortelle from Seventure Partners will be joining the Board of A-Mansia.
Founded in 2016, A-Mansia is a Belgian-based microbiome start-up based on discoveries made by its founding scientists, Professor Willem M. de Vos, from Wageningen University, The Netherlands and Professor Patrice D. Cani, from the University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium. Its R&D will be conducted in collaboration with the laboratories of University of Louvain (UCL) and Wageningen University, and contract organizations.
A-Mansia is developing health products based on the unique properties of the Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria. The Company has secured €13m in a series A financing led by Seventure Partners together with Fonds Vives II (University of Louvain, UCL), the SRIW, Nivelinvest and Mr. Pierre Drion, as well as a €3m non-dilutive grant from the Wallonia regional government.
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