BioScience Managers invests in CSIRO-derived microencapsulation technology

Melbourne, Australia and London, UK 8 August 2019 – BioScience Managers (BSM), one of Australia’s leading international healthcare investment firms, today announces an investment in Sydney-based nutrition technology company, Pharmamark Nutrition Pty. Ltd.

BSM has invested A$5.5 million in Pharmamark Nutrition. The funds will go toward the development of CSIRO’s microencapsulation technology for Pharmamark’s IntEncap™ product for food and beverage applications – with the initial target being the US$62.5 billion ($89.3 billion) global baby milk formula market – and the completion of the company’s spray dryer facility in Thailand.

Developed in Australia and licensed from CSIRO, the IntEncap™ technology is an innovative technology for lipid and bioactive nutrition, by which bio-active ingredients from marine and algal oils and vegetable and fungal oils are “microencapsulated” for food and beverage applications. The technology fits perfectly with the growing field of “functional food,” in which food contains health-giving enrichment.

“We’re delighted to make a substantial investment in Pharmamark and its world-leading technology,” says Bruce McHarrie, Special Advisor at BioScience Managers. “The Pharmamark team is an excellent mix of expertise: Guy Drummond (Pharmamark chief executive officer) has been associated with this CSIRO technology for many years, and the rest of his executive team have very strong backgrounds in critical areas such as the infant formula market, the manufacturing process – including microencapsulation – and the omega-3 and omega-6 product categories.

“We have a high degree of confidence in the technology, the product and the level of demand in the targeted markets,” says Dr Amanda Gillon, COO Investments at BioScience Managers. “And the calibre of the management team is always a crucial part of an investment decision for us.”

The IntEncap™ technology uses a flexible protein and carbohydrate base, on which the specific nutrients are loaded, with an emulsion film then applied as a protective barrier, following which the microencapsulated nutrients are incorporated into a spray-dried powder.

In this manner, a range of different types of nutrients can be loaded into shelf-stable powder products suitable for infant formula and a range of human food formulations, with a high degree of customisation possible.

Pharmamark’s primary focus is the omega-3 DHA infant formula market in Asia and Oceania. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a type of omega-3 fat, known to support brain function and eye health: a human body can only make a small amount of DHA from other fatty acids, so it needs to be taken in directly from food or a supplement.

The human health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids – usually derived from oily fish – in the diet have been well-documented, and this has assisted in developing the expanding global market for omega-3 products. The health benefits of DHA for children have been recognised by new European Union (EU) regulations for infant formulas, which increased the minimum quantity of DHA required, and it is expected that other jurisdictions will follow with similar requirements. For example, new regulations in China will likely see a doubling in demand for DHA in infant formula and follow-on formula. The retail value of the global baby milk formula market is expected to reach US$62.5 billion ($89.3 billion) by 2020.

In addition to the role in the development of infants and children, omega-3 fats are also important for maintaining good health in the adult population. There is increasing scientific evidence that long-chain omega-3s are effective in helping to prevent and manage chronic diseases, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)-like vision loss in adults and elderly people. Mental acuity in the elderly and supporting memory function in early Alzheimer’s disease is also an area with significant research focus on the role of omega-3 fats.

Pharmamark’s spray dryer facility will also microencapsulate other nutrition lipid oils and fats, including vegetable oil, OPO (sn2-palmitate, a fat found in human breastmilk) and anhydrous milk fat – as well as sensitive omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) oil – for a range of dry-blended infant formula and medical food products.

The BioScience Managers’ investment comes from one of its Australian based funds and demonstrates a continuing commitment to the development and commercialisation of life science technology and products in the region.

Notes to Editors

About BioScience Managers

BioScience Managers Pty Ltd is a leading life sciences investment firm, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Established in 2000, BioScience Managers has a global, multi-disciplinary team, bringing an international perspective together with the track record, networks and expertise required to convert that perspective into informed, high return investment decisions.

The firm operates a high value-add model, providing assistance and support to portfolio companies via its global team and international network of independent industry advisors. With combined experience of over 170 investments, more than 40 IPO’s/reversals in Europe, the USA and Australia, and a diverse skillset specific to the bio-based industries, BioScience Managers aims to provide investee companies with significant value-add over and above capital invested.

Current funds are:
•        Asia Pacific Healthcare Fund II
•        BioScience Managers Ventures I
•        BioScience Managers Translation Fund I
•        Downing FOUR VCT plc – Healthcare Share Class

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