April 20, 2021

Novo Holdings leads EUR 7 million Seed investment in Danish start-up Bactolife

  • Danish start up developing novel biological solutions to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections in animals and humans

  • Novo Holdings is investing EUR 5 million of the total funding of EUR 7 million, which is one of the largest bioindustrials seed round investments in Europe

  • Novo Holdings’ ninth bioindustrials investment, now totalling over $130 million

Novo Seeds, the early stage investment and company creation team of Novo Holdings, today announced that it is leading a EUR 7 million seed investment into BactolifeTM, a Danish start up developing novel biological solutions to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections in animals and humans alongside existing private investors.

Aleks Engel, Partner at Novo Holdings will join the Board of Bactolife.

Founded in 2017, Bactolife has developed a technology based on nanobodies for management of bacterial virulence without the use of antibiotics. Its proprietary platform consists of technology for selecting and producing virulence inactivating proteinsTM (VIPTM), without targeting growth or killing the bacteria directly. VIPs are stable and highly cost-effective and can be produced in large-scale using state-of-the-art systems for biomanufacturing.

Anti-virulence products are of great interest to the AMR field, as these have the potential to reduce pathogenicity without creating a driver for antibiotic resistance. Bactolife’s technology can drastically lower use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals in a cost-effective manner, addressing the urgent need for alternative strategies for management of gastrointestinal infections that have a huge economic impact both in terms of productivity in animal production, and the burden of AMR on the health care system.

Bactolife’s lead product Ablacto+ has shown efficacy in preventing post-weaning diarrhea (PWD) in piglets. PWD is caused by E. coli infection and occurs as weaned piglets are not protected by antibodies found in the sow’s milk resulting in morbidity and mortality. If untreated it can lead to large economical losses in industrial pig production.

The animal farming industry uses large amounts of antimicrobials to prevent and treat infections in animals to maintain productivity and health. As such, the industry is a driver for development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Ablacto+ will enable farmers to provide better piglet health, lower the risk and speed of antimicrobial resistance development, and support sustainable agriculture and aquaculture in line with the WHO’s One Health Strategy.

Aleks Engel, Partner at Novo Holdings commented: “There is an urgent need and immense potential for alternative, non-antibiotic, and cost-effective solutions. We believe that Bactolife is well-positioned to bring to market a new technology that will benefit both animals and humans with low cost of manufacturing and proven efficacy. We are delighted to initiate a collaboration with this experienced management team with a strong track record and unrivalled network in the bioindustrial space.”

Mads Laustsen, CEO of Bactolife said: “To overcome the problem with antimicrobial resistance, there is an urgent need for alternatives to antibiotics. At Bactolife, we have shown that our novel anti-virulence technology is a safe and efficient anti-microbial approach to which pathogens should not evolve resistance. If successful, Bactolife’s pipeline will pave the way for an entirely new paradigm for supporting the microbiome against pathogenic organisms. Our technology would be applicable to the animal feed and human dietary supplement segments. We welcome Novo Holdings as a leading international investor to join Bactolife’s journey.”

Novo Holdings now has nine bioindustrials venture backed companies in the portfolio besides the large holdings in world leading bioindustrials companies Novozymes and Chr. Hansen. The investment in Bactolife marks Novo Holdings’ third investment within bioindustrials in 2021. Bioindustrials is a focus area for Novo Holdings as it plans to continue to grow its portfolio of venture investments in the coming years.

Søren Møller, Managing Partner at Novo Seeds, added: “Novo Holdings is one of the largest investors in bioindustrials globally. Leveraging our long-standing expertise in various areas of industrial biotechnology, we believe this will play a critical role in delivering solutions to the agricultural and food industries and at the same time have significant impact on major global priorities such as AMR and environmental sustainability. Our team identifies and invests in disruptive technologies that are scalable and will have a long-term sustainable impact on society. Innovation is essential, but we also believe that the capability to scale-up and meet challenging cost targets are a necessary requirement for commercial success.”

The new investment will help Bactolife advance its pipeline projects and cement its first mover advantage with Virulence Inactivating Proteins (VIPs) to transform both animal and human health.

About Bactolife

BactolifeTM was established in 2017 by a group of senior executives from the biotech industry together with top scientific talents, with the aim of adding a new approach to improving gastrointestinal health for animals and humans in a manner that is safe, cost efficient, and does not create antimicrobial resistance (AMR). BactolifeTM has developed a pipeline of projects within animal and human health based on its VIPTM technology where specially designed proteins protect the microbiome by inactivation of pathogenic virulence factors leaving the healthy microbiome intact.