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Nestle extends pharma push with new bet on gut drugs
[LONDON] Nestle has extended its push into medicine with a small investment in a biotech company developing a drug designed to fight inflammatory bowel disease by restoring a healthy bacteria balance in the gut.
Enterome Bioscience, based in Paris and Boston, said on Wednesday the Swiss food group had come on board as a new investor in a 14.5 million euros (US$16.5 million) funding round to advance development of its leading drug candidate.
The biotech firm is also developing diagnostic tests for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The move underscores Nestle's ambitions for its Health Science division, which it believes could eventually generate more than 10 billion Swiss francs (US$10 billion) in annual sales.
In January Nestle stepped up its investment in US-based Seres Therapeutics, spending US$120 million in a deal giving it certain rights to experimental treatments for Clostridium difficile infection and IBD.
Both Enterome and Seres target disorders of the microbiome, the 100 trillion micro-organisms living in the human gut.
Greg Behar, CEO of Nestle Health Science, said the latest investment expanded Nestle's microbiome portfolio across diagnosis, therapeutics and nutritional therapies.