Evonik is investing in NUMAFERM, a specialist in the biotechnological production of peptides
September 18, 2017
- NUMAFERM makes the production of peptides more efficient
- Investment strengthens Evonik’s growth engines Health & Care and Specialty Additives at Evonik
- New technical applications are becoming realistic for the first time
Through its Venture Capital unit, Evonik has invested in the start-up NUMAFERM and now holds a minority share in the spin-off of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. The investment was made as part of a seed financing round and also includes investments by High-Tech Gründerfonds, the Business Angels and Qiagen co-founders Detlev Riesner and Jürgen Schumacher, as well as the European Investment Fund. The volume of the overall round of financing is in the one-digit million-euro range. “Peptides and their applications are highly interesting for our growth engines Health & Care and Specialty Additives. In addition, Evonik has great competency in biotechnology. That makes NUMAFERM an outstanding strategic match for us,” says Bernhard Mohr, head of Venture Capital at Evonik.
Currently, peptides are used above all as pharmaceutical or cosmetic active ingredients. In addition to their role as active pharmaceutical ingredients, peptides and proteins in general are a commercially interesting class of molecules, which are used in a variety of medical, cosmetic, and nutritional-physiological applications. The corresponding markets are the focus of the Health & Care growth engine at Evonik. Of particular interest are applications such as ingredients for cell culture media and for nutritional supplements or medical nutrients. Evonik is advancing the industrial use of peptides through its Specialty Additives growth engine.
The production of peptides, which are usually produced through chemical synthesis, is expensive. The reasons for this are the high quantities of raw materials needed, the complex process steps, and the usually low yields. NUMAFERM has now developed a technology platform, which enables plannable biotechnological production of peptides at higher yields and at lower costs. The technology can be used for almost all peptides, and production on an industrial scale .
“The technology can be used for almost all peptides, and production on an industrial scale becomes possible. As a result, new technical applications for peptides also become realistic for the first time. In HTGF III fund investor EVONIK, NUMAFERM now has a strong partner at its side that will enable it to enter into the implementation phase with a targeted approach,” explains Dr. Philipp Rittershaus, Investment Manager at HTGF.
Initially, NUMAFERM plans to use the fresh capital to drive forward technological development and get the first products to market maturity. “In Evonik we have found a strategic investor with extensive experience in developing innovative technologies and in tapping new markets,” says Christian Schwarz, co-founder and managing director of NUMAFERM.
Schwarz laid the scientific foundations for the technology of NUMAFERM in his doctoral thesis at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf. The company was founded at the start of 2017 as a spin-off of the Institute of Biochemistry. Previously, the project was supported by an EXIST research transfer of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, among others.
About NUMAFERM GmbH
NUMAFERM GmbH was founded in 2017 as a spin-off of the Biochemistry Institute at the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf. The project was previously supported by an EXIST research transfer from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. The company offers its technology, related R&D services and a peptide catalogue focusing on pharmaceutical, antimicrobial and adhesives peptides.
Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The focus on more specialty businesses, customer-orientated innovative prowess and a trustful and performance-oriented corporate culture form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. They are the lever for profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company. Evonik benefits specifically from its customer proximity and leading market positions. Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world with more than 35,000 employees. In fiscal 2016, the enterprise generated sales of around €12.7 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €2.165 billion.
In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is Germany’s most active seed stage investor. With EUR 820 million under management in three funds, it provides financing for young, innovative technology-driven start-ups and actively supports them in implementing their business idea. HTGF is active in a wide range of fields. The focus of its three investment teams is on hardware-related engineering, life science, chemicals and material science, as well as software, media and the internet. Investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and well-known corporate investors.