Nestle Health in 14.5m euro Enterome funding round


Enterome Bioscience has raised €14.5 million in a series C financing round.

The gut microbiome pharmaceuticals and diagnostics specialist received backing from a range of investors, both old and new – the most notable of which was new investor Nestlé Health Science.

The money raised will go towards the development of Enterome's lead drug candidate EB-8018 through the commencement of clinical trials investigating its use as a therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Enterome also plans to invest money in developing IBD diagnostics and immuno-oncology therapies.

Pierre Belichard, Enterome CEO, expressed his delight at existing investors' willingness to "make a further financial commitment to Enterome".

"We are also delighted that Nestlé Health Science has become a new strategic investor in the company to support our development programmes. We anticipate that access to their expertise and broader capabilities will be valuable in helping us achieve our ambitions."

The investment in Enterome is the latest attempt from Nestlé to establish its health venture and continues its focus on microbiome technology, following on from the announcement of a collaboration project with Seres Therapeutics. The company also publicised its $42.5 million investment in amino acid researchers Pronutria Biosciences earlier this year.

Whether Nestlé's investment in Enterome is a savvy move remains to be seen as the current market for IBD drugs is under threat from emerging biosimilars. Many believe AbbVie's Humira and Johnson & Johnson's Remicade in particular will feel pressure from IBD copycat drugs.

At the same time, however, the rise of biosimilars looks set to create an opportunity for those drugs utilising new therapeutic methods for treating IBD – something Enterome's EB-8018 offers. The small molecule FimH antagonist originally licensed by Vertex targets Adherent Invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC) proliferation in the gut, restoring the gut's natural microbiome.

Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science, emphasised the opportunity in the emerging market: "The microbiome is a fast-developing and new health frontier. Enterome has recognised expertise in identifying novel microbiome diagnostics. Our strategic investment in Enterome enables us to expand our microbiome portfolio ranging from diagnosis (Dx), to therapeutics (Rx) and nutritional therapies (Nx). We are excited to be working with them."

Linda Banks

20 April, 2016