Finance-Business-MoneyTargEDys, an innovator in appetite regulation, announces a €2.8 million “Series A” fundraising round based on world-leading research from company founders Serguei Fetissov and Pierre Dechelotte, from the UMR INSERM 1073 in the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rouen.

TargEDys uses those scientific discoveries to develop functional food, medical food and pharmaceutical products to harness the microbiome’s ability to regulate appetite and thus maintain or restore metabolic health.

Gregory Lambert, CEO of TargEDys, says: “This is the outcome of a 10-year research project. At a time when we just realize the importance of the microbiome and investigate about its impact on health, this really is a major step forward in the field, which opens radically new perspectives for the regulation of appetite”.

This round of financing brings together an international syndicate, which includes Seventure Partners, a world leader in microbiome investments, Pontifax, a highly successful life sciences investor from Israel, and NCI, a regional fund manager stimulating innovation in Normandy, France.

Isabelle de Cremoux, President and CEO at Seventure Partners, adds: “The seminal discoveries from Fetissov and Dechelotte have brought to light the first clear molecular mechanism in the emerging field of ‘gut-brain axis’, with immediate applications in metabolic disease. Seventure played a key advisory role in the company’s recent development and is proud to lead this financing round.”

Tomer Kariv, CEO of Pontifax, indicates: “This is a brand new research axis, with the perspective of a positive risk/benefit ratio in pathologies where prior pharmacological approaches had resulted in low efficacy and real safety concerns.”

“This confirms, more than ever, that France is at the forefront of research on human microbiome. In Normandy, there are several teams of high-level researchers in different fields and TargEDys is one of them. As a regional investor, NCI is eager to support such a large project,” says Laurie Perie, NCI.

Serguei Fetissov and Pierre Dechelotte have been working together since 2005 at UMR INSERM 1073 “Nutrition, inflammation and dysfunction of the gut-brain axis” in relation
with the university hospital of Rouen. The funds will allow the two scientists to step up their research efforts. To that purpose, TargEDys will join soon the premises of the Faculty of Medicine/Pharmacy of Rouen and hire additional staff – mainly doctors and engineers.

As explained by Pierre Dechelotte: “Beyond a simple change of the microbiome, as is the case for a usual probiotic, we are working on the mobilization of a new class of natural therapeutic solutions.” Serguei Fetissov comments: “We are very proud of this commitment. We now intend to use our discoveries to enhance the quality of life of many people.”

TargEDys’ approaches aim to correct dysfunctions of eating behaviour and limit their consequences. Benefits will be health improvement and a better quality of life for a growing number of affected people. The first product will target overweight people. In 2014, 1.4 billion people were suffering from being overweight or obese (WHO). This number is forecasted to grow, and in
2018, in countries such as United States, Mexico or Venezuela, the proportion of overweight people will reach 75% of the population (Euromonitor 2014).

The second product will increase appetite in elderly, cachexic and anorexic patients. Elderly people are particularly concerned by malnutrition. This phenomenon affects 4–10% of those who stay at home and reaches 30 to 70% of those who are hospitalised. Malnutrition, frequently derived from lack of appetite, has serious consequences: weakening of the immune system, loss of weight and an overall decline in general health that can lead to early death.