NEW ORLEANS, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NuMe Health LLC, a biotechnology company developing evidence-based prebiotics designed to address specific health conditions, today announced that it has closed a series A-1 financing round and hired Dean P. Stull, PhD, as chief executive officer. The $675,000 financing was led by BVM Capital LLC and represents the first closing of a larger series A round. The funds from the financing will be used primarily to support corporate and product development as the company prepares to commercialize its first prebiotic products for the dietary supplement and health food markets.
"The closing of this venture financing is an important milestone for NuMe Health that should enable us to accelerate the development and launch of our first prebiotic products," said Dr. Stull. "This is an exciting time as scientists are uncovering the critical role that the bacteria which co-exist in our bodies play in health and disease. NuMe intends to be a leader in developing novel evidence-based prebiotic products to help prevent and manage common diseases, initially targeting conditions involving metabolism and the maintenance of healthy body weight."
Prebiotics are based on scientists' rapidly expanding knowledge of how the microbiome--the large population of microbes, their genomes and the interactions between them within the GI tract--can significantly impact human health. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that serve as nutrients for beneficial GI bacteria. Unlike probiotics, which attempt to add certain microbes to the GI tract, prebiotics work primarily by providing the nutrition that these beneficial microbes need to grow and thrive. Since the huge number of microbes in the GI tract can overwhelm the relatively small amounts of bacteria contained in probiotic supplements, many researchers believe that prebiotics may have a more significant and lasting impact on health.
NuMe's prebiotic products are derived from bioactive ingredients in edible plants that promote the growth of specific beneficial bacteria with the potential to positively affect metabolic conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes and maintenance of healthy body weight. NuMe's products are evidence-based, which means that they are being developed using rigorous scientific methods and clinical testing to assess and validate their health claims.
"We are committed to supporting promising new enterprises that are leveraging the unique resources of the greater New Orleans region, and we are delighted to lead this first financing for NuMe Health," said Ross Barrett, general partner at BVM Capital and a director of NuMe Health. "NuMe is addressing an emerging field that we believe has great potential to impact human health. It has acquired promising technology and assembled an outstanding team of experienced entrepreneurs and scientists. Our region offers world-class expertise in the areas of nutrition and metabolic health, as exemplified by the renowned Pennington Biomedical Research Center. This expertise, along with the first-rate facilities available at NuMe's NOBIC location, will contribute to NuMe's progress as it advances its first prebiotic products towards commercialization."
Before joining NuMe Health as CEO, Dr. Stull was the founder and principal of Innovation Science, which provides consulting services for biotechnology, medical food and functional food companies. He also serves as chairman of the board of Pyxant Laboratories, which provides bio-analytical services. Previously, Dr. Stull was chief scientific officer of medical foods company Efficas, president of InB: Hauser Pharmaceutical Services and president of InB: Paxis Pharmaceuticals, which he founded. Earlier, Dr. Stull was a founder, CEO and president of Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company Hauser Inc. He received a BS degree from Colorado State University and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Stull is replacing NuMe Health founding CEO Dale Pfost. Dr. Pfost, who is currently a partner at Advent Ventures, continues as a director of NuMe. Dr. John Elstrott, chairman of Whole Foods Market and a clinical professor of entrepreneurship at Tulane University's Freeman School of Business, continues as chairman of NuMe Health.
"The Human Microbiome Project is rapidly expanding our understanding of the integral role our resident microorganisms play in key aspects of health, making it possible for a biotechnology innovator like NuMe to apply rigorous science to develop prebiotic products for improved disease prevention and management," said Dr. Elstrott. "I am pleased to welcome medical foods veteran Dean Stull as CEO and want to thank Dale Pfost for his vision in launching the company and helping to complete this financing."
Dr. Frank Greenway, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of NuMe Health, is chief of Outpatient Clinic and a noted researcher in the Divisions of Obesity and Functional Foods at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, an affiliate of Louisiana State University that is at the forefront of medical research in such chronic diseases as obesity and diabetes. Dr. Greenway noted, "Emerging research on the human microbiome suggests that novel approaches such as prebiotics may have great potential in the prevention and management of diabetes and other weight-related disorders. I applaud NuMe for its commitment to evidence-based product development in this exciting new field and look forward to serving on the NuMe SAB as the company advances its product candidates into clinical testing."
The company also announced that it has moved into the newly opened New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC), a technology business incubator created to foster entrepreneurship within the New Orleans bioscience community. NuMe Health's new address at the NOBIC facility is 1441 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112. For more information, visit www.numehealth.com
About BVM Capital
BVM Capital LLC is a Southeast-based venture capital firm that invests opportunistically. BVM provides equity capital to early and expansion stage companies. The partners of BVM Capital manage two investment funds: Louisiana Ventures, LP and Themelios Ventures, a seed stage venture fund working to commercialize technologies associated with Pennington Biomedical Research Center. For more information, visit www.bvmcap.com.
About the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC)
The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a technology business incubator created to foster entrepreneurship within the New Orleans bioscience community. Situated on the 1400 block of Canal Street, the center offers 66,000 square feet of state of the art wet-lab, office and conference space. Designed to cultivate and conceive new ideas for bio-innovation, the Center provides the infrastructure to support the day-to-day functions of company research and business. The Center's design provides a close network of the region's leading researchers and innovators and promotes collaboration within the life science community. For more information, visit http://neworleansbio.com/
About NuMe Health
NuMe Health LLC is a biotechnology company developing novel, evidence-based prebiotic products designed to help prevent and manage common diseases. Prebiotics are based on our rapidly expanding knowledge of how the microbiome--the huge population of microbes, their genomes and the interactions between them within the GI tract--can significantly impact human health. Unlike probiotics, which attempt to add specific bacteria to the GI tract, prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients that work primarily by providing the nutrition that beneficial microbes need to grow and thrive. NuMe's prebiotic products, which are being developed using rigorous scientific methods and clinical testing, will initially target conditions involving diabetes, metabolism and the maintenance of healthy body weight. For more information, visit www.numehealth.com
SOURCE NuMe Health