VIB, KU Leuven and UGent announce new spin-off MRM Health to redefine microbiome-based therapeutics

19 February 2020
Microbiome specialist MRM Health enters into its first industry collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences in the field of metabolic diseases. Furthermore, MRM Health has raised more than €14 million to advance its in-house clinical and preclinical development programs in the field of microbiome-based therapeutics and strengthens its partnership with VIB, KU Leuven and Ghent University.

MRM Health NV, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics based on the human microbiome, announced today a collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences and the successful completion of its first external investment round with the participation of Ackermans & van Haaren, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, MRM Technologies, Qbic II and VIB. 

MRM Health and DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences will join forces to tackle a range of metabolic diseases, in which the proprietary MRM Health technology platform and selected DuPont strains will be combined to develop novel therapeutics based on live bacterial strain combinations. 

“We are excited to enter into a partnership with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences 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,” said Sam Possemiers, CEO and co-founder of MRM Health. 

“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’s knowledge and experience is 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. 

Sam Possemiers continued: “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.” 

Through the strategic research partnership with VIB, MRM Health will leverage the extensive complementary microbiome and bioinformatics capabilities of the lab of prof. Jeroen Raes (VIB – KU Leuven) and the multidisciplinary knowhow in arthritis and inflammatory diseases of prof. Dirk Elewaut (VIB – UGent) and his team. 

Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven) stated: “I’m very excited by the impressive MRM Health expertise in microbiome product development. Our know-how in microbiome analysis, gut microbiology and ecology perfectly matches their platform to develop and deliver novel treatments for a wide range of indications.”

 Dirk Elewaut (VIB-UGent): “My team has a longstanding interest in studying the mechanisms between gut and joint inflammation observed in rheumatic diseases. This new venture is a big step forward in our objective of accelerating the development of transformative treatments for patients living with arthritis or other inflammatory diseases.”

The €14 million investment round provides MRM Health with the financing resources to advance its lead program in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 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. 

Jens Van Nieuwenborgh and Piet Bevernage, representing Ackermans & van Haaren, commented: “We are enthusiastic to participate in MRM Health and to support their further growth and development. The company has a unique technology platform, has already delivered on a promising lead portfolio and entered into a key collaboration with the leading industry player DuPont. Based on extensive expertise in the gut microbiome, a clear strategy and a strong partnership with VIB, we believe MRM Health is well positioned to discover and develop novel treatments for diseases with a high unmet medical need and collaborate with more industry partners.” 

Jean Van Nuwenborg, managing partner Qbic II, expressed his enthusiasm for this new promising venture: “It’s a pleasure to be able to support MRM Health with Qbic II and partner with this impressive investor consortium. The size of the round speaks to the promise the project holds and to the outstanding scientific backbone of the company developed by Sam and his team and to which one of Qbic II’s partner universities contributed and will continue to do so.” 

Johan Cardoen, Managing Director of VIB added: “This new venture represents a unique opportunity to make the scientific discoveries made in the VIB labs of Jeroen Raes and Dirk Elewaut available to the pharmaceutical and life science industry. We are pleased to continue our collaboration in the microbiome field with MRM Health and invest in the company.” 

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.