Why Microbiome use cases are attracting VC investments

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Hyderabad: Science refers to the microbiome as the genetic material of all microbes living together in a particular habitat. And microbiome plays a vital and wider role in human, plant and animal health, nutrition, cosmetics and environmental restoration.

Broad scope of Microbiome

Given the microbiome’s broader scope and potential. Venture capital (VC) investments are on an ascent in microbiome companies, according to data analytics firm GlobalData.

With the potential to drive disruption across industries with large scale innovations. The microbiome therapeutics space reportedly witnessed over one billion-dollar VC investments globally in 2020.

Microbiome therapeutics market size

According to market estimates, the global human microbiome therapeutics market size is expected to cross $1,544 million by 2027.

“Recent advances in microbiomes have prompted a shift in corporate strategy and partnerships,” said Manish Dixit, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst – GlobalData.

“Clinical research is on a sharp uptick with large enterprises either developing in-house offerings or tying with companies that are commercializing novel offerings in the microbiome space in industries,” added Dixit.

Pharma, healthcare, consumer, food, retail, animal health and agriculture are among the industries that are providing immense growth opportunities,” pointed out Dixit.

For instance, Seed Heath – a Los Angeles, USA based microbial sciences company raised $40 million in Series A funding recently. The Bioscience startup wants to use the funding to launch new probiotic applications and live biotherapeutics.

The Series A financing was led by venture capital investment firms – The Craftory, ARTIS Ventures and GISEV along with existing investors, Founders Fund and 8VC.

Interestingly, seven out of the eight VC investment firms have one common interest. And that is a deep interest and investment in Biosciences / Biotechnology focused companies and ventures.

A recent analysis from GlobalData ‘s database hub reveals the key industries exploring the new opportunities offered by microbiomes.

Several pharma companies are investigating the use cases of microbiomes for biotherapeutics and other therapy areas. These companies want to leverage the abilities of microbiome to treat auto-immune, metabolic and infectious diseases.

For example, US-based biotech company Persephone Biosciences is developing artificial intelligence (AI)-derived microbiome therapeutics to prevent and treat COVID-19. A stool-based diagnostic can help predict which patients are at the highest risk for developing severe COVID-19.

Consumer packaged goods
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are unlocking microbiomes’ potential. It is valued as a source of distinctive functional ingredients to positively impact human health through dietary interventions.

Kraft-Heinz is focusing on ingredient and microbial formulation innovations. Through the APC Microbiome partnership, Kraft-Heinz intends to focus on a variety of bioactive end-products and their applications. Its scope is in the food system to align with the demand for ‘clean safe’ products that resonate with consumers.

Agriculture and Forestry
US-based Boost Biomes Inc is a producer of microbiome products. It has developed a proprietary microbiome-based discovery platform using DNA sequencing and advanced informatics.

Using the microbial-based discovery platform, the company intends to address the issues that impact plant health. Along with it wants to tackle agriculture-related issues such as pathogen infestations, bacterial contamination and spoilage.

L’Oreal and Micreos have partnered to develop new cosmetic solutions targeting the skin microbiome. The concept that microbes are invisible to the naked eye could be the key to improved skin health is a major shift in the skincare industry.

The skin-microbiome-friendly skincare concept is gaining traction today with its impact on the skincare market and product innovation in future.

“Advancements in microbiomes opens up new avenues for applications in industrial, pharmaceutical and environmental technologies,” commented Dixit.

Currently, niche biotech companies with their strong product pipelines with well-organised R&D techniques are accelerating microbiomes’ adoption across sectors.

“Either by providing potential partnership or acquisition opportunities – large enterprises are looking to gain a foothold in this space generating lucrative growth opportunities of the microbiome sector,” noted Dixit.

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