NCN News for January 16, 2018

Enterome secures €32 million Series D financing and EIB loan

Enterome SA (Paris, France and Cambridge, Mass.), a clinical-stage biotech company pioneering therapies to treat microbiome-associated diseases, has raised €32 million in a Series D financing. All current Enterome investors, including Seventure, LundbeckFonden Ventures, Omnes Capital and Nestlé Health Science, participated in the round, joined by new venture investor Principia SGR and strategic investor Bristol-Myers Squibb. Enterome is focused on inflammatory bowel diseases and immuno-oncology, and proceeds will be used primarily to advance two proof-of concept clinical trials. Enterome has also entered into an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a €40 million loan facility. “Enterome has been the first investment of our microbiome fund Health for Life Capital,” said Seventure Partners CEO Isabelle de Cremoux. “We are proud to see that our initial support is backed by a unique mix of strategic and finance investors to support Enterome’s pipeline at a very exciting point of its development.” Enterome was a presenting company at NCN XII in 2013 and the NCN Ingredients & Technology Investor Meeting in 2012.

GreenSpace Brands announces acquisition of Galaxy Nutritional Foods

GreenSpace Brands Inc. (Toronto, Canada) is to acquire Galaxy Nutritional Foods Inc. (North Kingstown, R.I.), owner of Go Veggie cheese alternatives, from Mill Road Capital. The $17.8 million transaction is comprised of $4.5 million in cash, $7.62 million in GreenSpace common shares, and a two-year vendor take-back loan of $5.72 million. Mill Road will become the largest shareholder of GreenSpace. Go Veggie generated revenues of US$16.3 million in fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, with gross profit margins of approximately 40%. “The plant-based dairy alternative market is one of the fastest growing subsets of the natural food market but has very few established players,” GreenSpace said. “With the acquisition of Go Veggie, we enter our most sought after vertical, plant-based dairy alternatives,” added Matthew von Teichman, CEO of Greenspace. Galaxy Foods dates back to 1980 and was a pioneer in the U.S. cheese alternative market. Financo Inc. acted as the exclusive advisor to Galaxy and Mill Road.

Firmenich to acquire organic specialist Natural Flavors

Firmenich (Geneva, Switzerland), a global fragrance and flavor firm, is acquiring Natural Flavors Inc. (Newark, N.J.), a manufacturer of high quality organic flavors for the food and beverage industries. Natural Flavors has been in operation for more than 31 years and developed and commercialized the first organic certified flavors in North America during the late 1990s. “As consumer preference for organic certified food and beverages continues to increase, Firmenich is now even more strongly positioned to meet this demand,” the company stated.

Lactalis to acquire siggi’s yogurt

Global dairy group Lactalis (Laval, France) has agreed to acquire siggi’s (New York, N.Y.), the maker of Icelandic style “skyr” yogurts for an undisclosed price. Founder Siggi Hilmarsson started selling yogurt at an outdoor market in Manhattan in 2006; today siggi’s is in the top five yogurt brands in many mainstream grocery chains and recently became the top selling yogurt brand in Whole Foods Market, according to Nielsen data cited by siggi’s. “Our core values of clean ingredient label and less sugar will remain 100 percent unchanged. Consumers everywhere are actively trying to reduce sugar in their diets so our offering has a global relevance,” Hilmarsson said. The company, which grew 50% in 2017, will still operate out of its New York City office under its current senior leadership team. Other Lactalis yogurt brands include Stonyfield, acquired from Danone in July 2017 for $875 million, and Rachel’s Organic yogurt.

Daily Harvest raises $43 million for plant-based frozen foods

Daily Harvest (New York, N.Y.), a subscription service specializing in frozen plant-based “one-step-prep” foods, has announced a $43 million Series B funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with significant participation from VMG Partners; they join existing investors Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams. Daily Harvest launched in 2015 as a direct-to-consumer brand offering pre-portioned frozen cups that now include smoothies, oats, chia parfaits, sundaes, and soups. Daily Harvest partners with organic farms and says its recipes feature superfoods to provide functional health benefits. “Daily Harvest is the first major innovation in the frozen category since TV dinners were introduced in the 1950s,” said Alex Taussig, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.

SuperMeat raises $3 million to commercialize cultured chicken

Food-tech start-up SuperMeat (Tel Aviv, Israel) has raised $3 million in seed funding and formed a strategic partnership with PHW, a large European poultry producer and an equity investor in the company. SuperMeat’s “clean meat” is produced by growing cells that have been painlessly extracted from a chicken, putting an end “to the industrial need to mass produce animals for slaughter,” in addition to reducing the carbon and ecological footprint associated with conventional meat production, the company said. New Crop Capital and Stray Dog Capital led the round; both firms are also backers of Beyond Meat and SunFed Meats.

Mousse invests in Counter Brands’ safer skin care

Mousse Partners Limited (New York, N.Y.) has made a strategic investment in Counter Brands LLC, parent company of Beautycounter (Santa Monica, Calif.), a provider of safer skin care and cleaner cosmetics; TPG Growth also participated. The investment will be used to develop a more robust “omni-channel” business. Launched in 2013, Beautycounter has developed a rigorous ingredient selection process, according to the company: “While the U.S. has not seen any major federal updates to legislation in personal care since 1938, Beautycounter has developed innovative products that raise the bar for industry health and safety standards.” Beautycounter develops and distributes nearly 130 products including cosmetics, anti-aging, baby and personal care collections. Beautycounter is a Certified B Corporation.

Helen of Troy divests supplement business

Helen of Troy Limited (El Paso, Texas), a consumer products company, in December announced the sale of its nutritional supplements business Healthy Directions LLC to Direct Digital LLC, for $46 million in cash and a supplemental payment of $25 million based on performance. Proceeds will be used to pay down debt, make acquisitions or conduct share repurchases. Helen of Troy bought Healthy Directions and its physician-formulated brands in 2014 for $195 million. The company will now focus on its seven “leadership brands” in housewares, health, and beauty, including Braun, Honeywell, PUR, Vicks, OXO, Hydro Flask and Hot Tools. Helen of Troy had consolidated revenue of $453 million in the third quarter ending November 30, 2017, a 1.9% increase over the prior-year period, which included a drag of 0.6% from nutritional supplements.

Feihe acquires Vitamin World chain

Vitamin World Inc. (Holbrook, N.Y.), a retailer of nutritional supplements, has been acquired out of bankruptcy for $28 million by Feihe International Inc. (Beijing, China), a producer of infant formula. Vitamin World filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. Youbin Leng, chairman of Feihe, said the firm had been seeking an American-based premium supplement brand for several years. The Vitamin World brand will have access to Feihe’s distribution network, which reaches 50,000 retail locations in China. Vitamin World was founded in 1977 and currently operates 156 retail locations. Western brands have long been popular with Chinese consumers: In the last two years Chinese acquirers have picked up the Australian firms Nutrition Care Pharmaceuticals, Swisse and Vitaco, in addition to Iovate Health Sciences (MuscleTech) and Doctor’s Best (North Castle Partners) in the United States.

MuscleFood raises new investment to expand into Europe

MuscleFood Ltd. (Basford, Nottinghamshire, UK), a direct delivery business selling premium lean meats, high-protein foods, vegan products, and sports supplements, has secured £10 million in new investment from BGF to help it expand internationally, according to the Birmingham Post. Founded in 2013, the British firm built a following of fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders and athletes but latterly has won over a broader customer base. Earlier this year MuscleFood began selling its range, including Protein Pizza, in Sainsbury’s supermarkets. MuscleFood’s sales were £45 million for the year ended March 31, 2017, according to the article.


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