DAVIS, Calif., Feb. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Evolve BioSystems announced today that it completed a substantial first close in a $55 million Series D round of funding, led by Cargill, the global food, agricultural, financial and industrial products company and Manna Tree, an investment firm committed to improving human health. The new capital will be used to help the company continue commercializing a next generation of probiotic capable of addressing a widespread deficiency in the infant gut microbiome.
"We are thrilled to announce our newest investors as we continue our quest to address this health crisis in newborns," said Timothy Brown, CEO of Evolve BioSystems. "Our research found that more than 90 percent 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. The financial support announced today, which includes strong continued support from our earlier investors, will help continue our mission to make a healthier future for our children during infancy and beyond."
Evolve BioSystems manufactures Evivo®, a proprietary groundbreaking probiotic proven to resolve infant gut dysbiosis, or Newborn Gut Deficiency. Evivo is comprised of activated B. infantis EVC001, which studies have shown guides critical development of infants' digestive and immune systems. Evivo restores this missing bacterium to the infant gut microbiome, reducing potentially pathogenic bacteria by 80 percent as well as significantly reducing intestinal inflammation. These pathogens are linked to higher risk of both short- and long-term health issues including colic, diaper rash, eczema, asthma, allergies and Type 1 Diabetes.
"Evivo, Evolve BioSystem's innovative infant probiotic, has been proven to have a dramatic impact on the developing infant gut, and to guide long-term health trajectory. This round of financing will continue to raise consumer and health care practitioner awareness, while supporting continued research and development. We are proud to partner with innovators like Tim and the entire Evolve team who are at the forefront of food and biotechnology" said Gabrielle "Ellie" Rubenstein, Co-Founder and CEO of Manna Tree. "This important investment is at the very core of our mission at Manna Tree - investing in human health."
The health benefits of Evivo are documented through numerous clinical studies and peer-reviewed publications. The investments of Manna Tree and Cargill come on the heels of the most recent breakthrough in the Evolve research, the U.S. Microbiome Survey, recently published in Scientific Reports. The research shows that nine out of ten U.S. infants are suffering from Newborn Gut Deficiency, increasing risk to early infant health and development. The study is the largest to date to benchmark the widespread levels of potential pathogenic bacteria in U.S. infants and the substantial deficiency of B. infantis.
"Evolve BioSystem's Evivo has the potential to be a highly distinctive probiotic for infants and we are delighted to work with them to scale its impact," said Chuck Warta, president of Cargill's health technologies business. "Our goal is to help humans live more healthy days right from the start. Together, we can harness our respective expertise and knowledge in nutrition, digestive and immune health to bring next generation ingredient solutions to our customers."
Through its collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Evolve BioSystems is currently involved in a clinical trial 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.
As part of the investment, Cargill and Manna Tree will serve as lead investors and join the company's board of directors. Other Evolve BioSystems investors in this round include Horizons Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Spruce Capital Partners, Acre Venture Partners and Bow Capital. Evolve was spun-off from the Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) at the University of California, Davis in 2014.
Evolve BioSystems, Inc. is a privately held microbiome company dedicated to researching solutions to establish, restore, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Evolve is a portfolio company of Cargill, Manna Tree, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Horizons Ventures, the venture division of the Li Ka Shing Foundation. Evolve is a spin-off from the Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) at the University of California, Davis and builds on more than a decade of research into understanding the unique partnership of the infant gut microbiome and breast milk components.
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About Manna Tree
Manna Tree is a Vail, Colorado-based investment firm committed to improving human health through nutrition. The firm invests in and actively partners with growth-stage companies. We believe the future of health, well-being and longevity is attainable through innovation in food. Manna Tree has $235 million in assets under management, as of September 2020, and has made five investments to date: Vital Farms, Verde Farms, MycoTechnology, Nutriati, and Gotham Greens. www.mannatreepartners.com.