Infant probiotic brand nurtured a $55M funding round18 Feb 2021
Evolve, a biotech company specializing in probiotics aimed at addressing infant gut microbiome deficiencies, closed a $55 million Series D funding round led by Cargill and Manna Tree. As part of the investment, Cargill and Manna Tree will join the company's board of directors.
The company said that it would use this additional funding to bolster its R&D and scale the commercialization of the company’s Evivo probiotics.
"Our research found that more than 90% of infants in the U.S. are missing the critical bacteria, Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (B. infantis), which is widely documented as a key component of the infant gut microbiome,” Timothy Brown, CEO of Evolve BioSystems said in a statement.
To combat these deficiencies, the company developed Evivo to restore missing bacteria in an infant’s gut microbiome as well as reduce potentially pathogenic bacteria by 80%. Evivo is comprised of activated B. infantis EVC001, which studies have shown guides critical development of infants' digestive and immune systems. According to research by the company that was published in Scientific Reports, pathogens in the gut microbiome are linked to a higher risk of both short- and long-term health issues including colic, diaper rash, eczema, asthma, allergies and Type 1 Diabetes.
Currently, Evolve is undergoing trials at the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh to assess the impact of Evivo on infants who have been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.
Infant nutrition is a growing area that companies are looking to for investment. In recent years, Nestlé has taken a stake in infant nutrition firm Before Brands, the company behind SpoonfulOne, to support the creation of a product intended to counter the development of food allergies; DuPont has a joint licensing agreement with the Belgian company Inbiose that produces formula with HMOs, which are complex carbohydrates that are found in mothers' milk and that help benefit infants' gut biomes.
It’s no surprise that today’s parents who are concerned with the health of their own gut microbiomes would project these same concerns onto their own children. In fact, a 2018 survey from the International Food Information Council Foundation found that parents are increasingly concerned with the health of the food choices they are making for their kids.
These concerns are increasingly influencing manufacturers and investors that are steadily building the number and diversity of health-minded options that parents have to offer their progeny in the hopes of giving them a healthy start to life.
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