Vevey, Switzerland, 6 January 2015 – In line with its ambition to advance the role of novel therapeutics in health care, Nestlé Health Science has completed a $65 million Series D preferred stock investment in Seres Health Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass., USA. Seres Health is a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company developing a novel class of biological drugs that are designed to treat diseases by restoring the function of a dysbiotic microbiome. Seres Health’s current product candidates span infectious, metabolic, and inflammatory diseases.
Nestlé Health Science’s investment will help fund the next stage of development of Seres Health’s first in field, lead product candidate, SER-109, for preventing the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), into Phase 3 clinical trials as well as the advancement of the company’s pipeline of therapeutics to treat other diseases of the human microbiome.
Explaining the rationale, Nestlé Health Science CEO Greg Behar, who takes a seat on the Seres Health Board of Directors, commented: “This investment fits with our strategic intent to shape new approaches to health management. We have invested in an industry leader in microbiome therapeutics seeking to make breakthroughs in the understanding of diseases and how we manage them, based on microbial organisms, fundamentally different from traditional drugs. They fit into a promising area we are striving to develop with clinically proven innovations that can improve patient outcome and help reduce health economic costs associated with disease. Scientific advances in this area are rapidly expanding and we are committed to make such external moves, alongside our own R&D, to be at the cutting-edge.”
Dr. Roger J. Pomerantz, President, CEO and Chairman of Seres Health said, “Nestlé Health Science is in tune with our intent to positively change existing medical paradigms and practices with clinically proven therapies harnessing new science. They are an ideal investor in our innovative company and will help accelerate the development of the first microbiome therapeutics.”
Advances in genomics are progressively revealing the importance of the microbiome, which comprise around 100 trillion microorganisms that live in the body, to various aspects of health. Seres Health is developing a pipeline of Ecobiotic® therapeutic product candidates, novel drugs to treat important diseases by targeting the underlying biology of the human microbiome.
The Seres Health pipeline is relevant to Nestlé Health Science’s focus to develop novel therapeutic approaches for gastrointestinal, metabolic, brain disorders and other health conditions. Nestlé Health Science, which has an extensive consumer and medical nutrition portfolio, has made a number of acquisitions or investments in support of its ambition. The Nestlé Group created Nestlé Health Science, alongside the research-based Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, as a spearhead of its transformation into the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.
In addition to the investment in Seres Health, Nestlé Health Science has entered into a strategic innovation partnership with Flagship Ventures, a leading venture capital and venture creation firm focused on innovations in healthcare and sustainability based in Cambridge, Mass., USA. The partnership will focus on supporting start-up ventures working on nutritional health and therapy, and is intended to provide Nestlé Health Science with early exposure to Flagship’s innovative insights and technologies which may be further exploited through minority direct investments, licensing, joint ventures or acquisitions by Nestlé Health Sciences. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
“We welcome Nestlé Health Science as a co-investor and Greg Behar as a board member of Seres Health,” said Dr. Noubar Afeyan, Managing Member and CEO of Flagship Ventures, and co-founder and lead investor of Seres Health. “We look forward to jointly maximising the value of Seres. In addition, Flagship is excited to enter into a strategic innovation partnership aimed at providing Nestlé Health Science with early exposure to breakthrough innovations, and potentially contributing to Nestlé Health Science’s innovation pipeline.”
* * * * *
About Nestlé Health Science
Nestlé Health Science, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé, is a health-science company engaged in advancing the role of nutritional therapy to change the course of health for consumers, patients and our partners in healthcare. Its portfolio of nutrition solutions, diagnostics, devices and drugs, targets a number of health areas, such as inborn errors of metabolism, paediatric and acute care, obesity care, healthy ageing, and gastrointestinal and brain health. Nestlé Health Science employs around 3,000 people worldwide and is headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. For more information, please visit www.nestlehealthscience.com.
About Seres Heath
Seres Health is a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company developing a novel class of biological drugs that are designed to treat disease by restoring the function of a dysbiotic microbiome. For more information, please visit www.sereshealth.com.
About Flagship Ventures
Realizing entrepreneurial innovation is the mission of Flagship Ventures. The firm operates through two synergistic units: VentureLabs™, Flagship’s innovation foundry which invents and launches transformative companies, and Venture Capital, which finances and develops innovative, early-stage companies. Founded in 2000, and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Flagship Ventures manages over $900 million in capital and has internally founded 27 ventures while investing in another 45. The firm is active in three principal business sectors: therapeutics, health technologies and sustainability. Flagship’s current portfolio includes Acceleron (NASDAQ: XLRN), Agios (NASDAQ: AGIO), BIND Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BIND), Concert Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CNCE), Eleven Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: EBIO), T2 Biosystems (NASDAQ: TTOO), Tetraphase (NASDAQ: TTPH) as well as several private companies: Editas Medicine, Pronutria Biosciences, Seres Health and Moderna Therapeutics. For more information, please visit www.flagshipventures.com.