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MRM Health enters into its first industry collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences and boosts its development with an investment of more than €14 million to redefine microbiome-based therapeutics

Ghent, Belgium – February 18, 2020 – Microbiome specialist MRM Health enters into its first industry collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences in the field of metabolic diseases. Furthermore, MRM Health has raised more than €14 million to advance its in-house clinical and preclinical development programs in the field of microbiome-based therapeutics and strengthens its partnership with VIB, KU Leuven and Ghent University.

MRM Health NV, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics based on the human microbiome, announced today a collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences and the successful completion of its first external investment round with the participation of Ackermans & van Haaren, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences, MRM Technologies, Qbic II and VIB.

MRM Health and DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences will join forces to tackle a range of metabolic diseases, in which the proprietary MRM Health technology platform and selected DuPont strains will be combined to develop novel therapeutics based on live bacterial strain combinations.

“We are excited to enter into a partnership with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences for the discovery and development of innovative therapies for metabolic diseases. We believe their extensive capabilities in the microbiome field together with our expertise and proprietary technology platform for developing gut microbiome-based therapeutics are a great combination in the quest to deliver a novel class of natural and efficacious solutions for millions of patients worldwide,” said Sam Possemiers, CEO and co-founder of MRM Health.

“We are thrilled to partner with MRM Health to jointly develop the next generation of microbiome products. Combining MRH Health’s unique technology platform with DuPont’s knowledge and experience is a unique opportunity to accelerate the discovery and development of new therapeutic products in areas such as metabolic health.” said Sebastien Guery, Human Microbiome Venture Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

Sam Possemiers continued: “In addition, we are delighted to have the financial support of long-term investor Ackermans & van Haaren, venture capital fund Qbic II and expert microbiome players MRM Technologies and DuPont, and to continue and strengthen our long-standing strategic partnership with VIB.

Through the strategic research partnership with VIB, MRM Health will leverage the extensive complementary microbiome and bioinformatics capabilities of the lab of prof. Jeroen Raes (VIB – KU Leuven) and the multidisciplinary knowhow in arthritis and inflammatory diseases of prof. Dirk Elewaut (VIB – UGent) and his team.

Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven) stated: “I’m very excited by the impressive MRM Health expertise in microbiome product development. Our know-how in microbiome analysis, gut microbiology and ecology perfectly matches their platform to develop and deliver novel treatments for a wide range of indications.

The €14 million investment round provides MRM Health with the financing resources to advance its lead program in Inflammatory Bowel Disease to clinical studies in different patient populations and to further progress its ongoing discovery programs to deliver potential breakthrough treatments in spondyloarthritis and other indications.

Jens Van Nieuwenborgh and Piet Bevernage, representing Ackermans & van Haaren, commented: “We are enthusiastic to participate in MRM Health and to support their further growth and development. The company has a unique technology platform, has already delivered on a promising lead portfolio and entered into a key collaboration with the leading industry player DuPont. Based on extensive expertise in the gut microbiome, a clear strategy and a strong partnership with VIB, we believe MRM Health is well positioned to discover and develop novel treatments for diseases with a high unmet medical need and collaborate with more industry partners.”

Jean Van Nuwenborg, managing partner Qbic II, expressed his enthusiasm for this new promising venture: “It’s a pleasure to be able to support MRM Health with Qbic II and partner with this impressive investor consortium. The size of the round speaks to the promise the project holds and to the outstanding scientific backbone of the company developed by Sam and his team and to which one of Qbic II’s partner universities contributed and will continue to do so.”

Johan Cardoen, Managing Director of VIB added: This new venture represents a unique opportunity to make the scientific discoveries made in the VIB labs of Jeroen Raes and Dirk Elewaut available to the pharmaceutical and life science industry. We are pleased to continue our collaboration in the microbiome field with MRM Health and invest in the company.”

MRM Health was incorporated by MRM Technologies through a partial de-merger of the operations of ProDigest, a global specialist in the field of intestinal and microbiome research, allowing ProDigest to continue and further expand its independent and unique scientific research services to clients across sectors from pharmaceutical, food and feed industry. These activities are based on ProDigest’s SHIME® technology (Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem, unique laboratory models of the human and animal gastrointestinal tract) which can be used to simulate the metabolism and biodistribution of pharmaceuticals in development, as well as the interaction of the intestinal microbiome with pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, animal feed and health products.

For further information
Dr Sam Possemiers – CEO – sam.possemiers@mrmhealth.com
Christiane Verhaegen – CFO – christiane.verhaegen@mrmhealth.com
Phone: +32.9.241.11.88

About MRM Health
MRM Health NV, Ghent, Belgium, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics based on the human microbiome. MRM Health was incorporated early 2020 by MRM Technologies, a Center of Expertise for microbiome research based in the biotech cluster in Ghent, in a joint venture with VIB, an excellence-based entrepreneurial life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium, that focuses on translating basic scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications.

MRM Health combines a number of proprietary innovative technologies as its discovery engine. This includes direct access to the most advanced simulator of the human gut, the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®), allowing to model the complete intestine and its microbiome in the lab, in both health and disease. In addition to multiple academic and expert advisor partnerships, MRM Health also leverages, through the strategic VIB partnership, the extensive microbiome and bioinformatics capabilities of the VIB-KU Leuven lab of prof. Jeroen Raes and the multidisciplinary knowhow in inflammatory diseases and patient insights of prof. Dirk Elewaut (VIB-UGent).

To overcome critical bottlenecks currently hampering microbiome-based product development, MRM Health has developed a unique and differentiating platform for the discovery and development of novel microbiome-based therapeutics and has set up a diversified pipeline. Its most advanced program is MH002, a drug candidate for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). MH002 is an optimized consortium of bacteria, consisting of 6 rationally selected and well-characterized commensal strains.

MRM Health additionally has ongoing discovery programs in Spondyloarthritis and specific metabolic diseases and is targeting several other medical conditions with unmet medical need. In addition to the drug candidates, its pipeline includes two advanced single strain probiotics with differentiating Mode-of-Action and advanced development status for the medical nutrition / OTC and consumer markets (PD01 and PD12).

MRM Health has a corporate collaboration with DuPont Nutrition Biosciences in the discovery and development of microbiome-based therapeutics in the field of metabolic diseases. The Company is strategically supported by strong local and international investors, including Ackermans & van Haaren, DuPont, MRM Technologies, Qbic II and VIB.

About DuPont
DuPont (NYSE: DD) is a global innovation leader with technology-based materials, ingredients and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life. Our employees apply diverse science and expertise to help customers advance their best ideas and deliver essential innovations in key markets including electronics, transportation, construction, water, health and wellness, food, and worker safety. More information can be found at www.dupont.com.

About DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences
DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences applies expert science to advance healthy and sustainable solutions for the food, beverage, dietary supplement and pharmaceutical industries. We also use pioneering biotechnology to enable bio-based solutions that make products and industrial processes more efficient and sustainable. For more information: www.dupontnutritionandbiosciences.com or www.biosciences.dupont.com.

About Ackermans & van Haaren
Ackermans & van Haaren (Euronext Brussels : ACKB) is a diversified group operating in four core sectors, Marine Engineering & Contracting, Private Banking, Real Estate & Senior Care and Energy & Resources. It also provides growth capital to sustainable companies in a.o. the healthcare and agricultural sector, as illustrated by its investments in 2019 in Biolectric (biogas), Biotalys (biological food and crop protection) and Medikabazaar (online supply of medical equipment).

About MRM Technologies
MRM Technologies, headquartered in Ghent, Belgium, was incorporated in 2016 as center of expertise in microbiome research and development. In 2017, Korys, the investment company of the Colruyt family joined the MRM Technologies founders as a long-term equity partner.

MRM Health was incorporated by MRM Technologies through a partial de-merger of the operations of ProDigest, a global specialist in the field of intestinal and microbiome research, allowing ProDigest to continue expanding its unique scientific research services to clients across sectors from pharmaceutical, food and feed industry, as an independent entity.

About Qbic II
Qbic is a seed and early-stage and sector agnostic inter-university fund investing in spin-offs and young innovating companies that have a technology link with Qbic’s partner universities and research institutions. Qbic is managed by an independent team of seasoned investment and business professionals.  The first Qbic fund – Qbic I – has been incorporated in 2012 with a capital of € 40,7 million and invested in 18 companies.  Qbic I is currently focusing on follow on investments and exits. The second Qbic fund – Qbic II – started in December 2016 and has a capital € of 58,9 million.  With close to € 100 million under management, Qbic is one of the largest inter-university spin-off funds in Europe.

About VIB
VIB is an excellence-based entrepreneurial research institute in life sciences that focuses on translating basic scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. VIB’s Innovation & Business team currently has a portfolio of +250 patent families. This team conducts about 120 partnering agreements with innovative companies each year. VIB is also firmly-rooted in a long-standing tradition of setting up start-up companies. Since its foundation in 1996, VIB has created 23 start-up companies. VIB is funded by the Flemish government and works in close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University. More information: www.vib.be

About KU Leuven
As the number one European university for innovation, KU Leuven actively invests in launching innovative technologies in the commercial market by creating spin-off companies, securing and licensing intellectual property, and collaborating with industry. KU Leuven supports researchers and students in transforming their innovative ideas and technologies into commercial products and services that impact people’s lives worldwide. Since its creation in 1972, KU Leuven Research & Development has supported the creation and growth of 128 spin-off companies, directly employing more than 6,700 people. KU Leuven’s spin-off companies constitute a huge economic leverage for the Leuven region. More information: https://lrd.kuleuven.be/en.

About Ghent University
Ghent University is one of the major universities in the Dutch-speaking region of Europe. It distinguishes itself as a socially committed and pluralistic university in a broad international perspective. About 80 faculty departments, spread over 11 faculties, offer high-quality courses in every one of their scientific disciplines. www.UGent.be/en

Next to this, Ghent University strategically invests in multidisciplinary clusters to expand its industrial R&D network. Key technology transfer activities include industrial collaboration programs, IP licensing and spin-off creation. Over the past ten years, this joint effort has resulted in 439 granted patents, the establishment of 68 spin-off companies and an intensive collaboration with companies.

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