The University of Copenhagen is the first Danish university to invest in a company based on its own research in unique collaboration with a venture fund. On April 11th 2023, the company GutCRINE ApS received an initial financing of 4 million DKK to begin development of a completely new class of biological medicines, so-called pharmabiotics. The expectation is that the drugs will be able to prevent and treat diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism. The investment comes from the two entities Eir Ventures and the University of Copenhagen’s newly established investment company UCPH Ventures. By Jes Andersen.
Theirs is the first discovery worldwide that the gut microbiome synthesizes hormones that influence human biology. With their company GutCRINE they hope to develop a completely new class of medications called pharmabiotics. If successful, this will be a paradigm shift in the treatment of several chronic diseases.
We have identified and characterized specific intestinal bacteria that surprisingly affect human health in previously unknown ways. This insight opens a highway that can lead to both the prevention and treatment of several frequent common non-communicable disorders”: Oluf Borbye Pedersen, CSO GutCRINE ApS and professor, University of Copenhagen, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
Big day for university’s innovation capability
GutCRINE is the first University of Copenhagen spinout to receive funding from the University’s newly established investment company UCPH Ventures. The initial 4 million DKK investment was made in collaboration with the seasoned life science investor Eir Ventures. For the university’s prorector in charge of innovation, it is a particularly big day.
The University of Copenhagen is known for doing leading research. We also have a long history of helping researchers set up companies based on their research, but until now that help has consisted of business advice and legal assistance. We are proud that, as the first Danish university, we can also directly invest in a company that one of our researchers has spun off”: David Dreyer Lassen, Pro-Rector for Research, University of Copenhagen and chairman, Copenhagen Science City development council.
New strategy for innovation
The University of Copenhagen adopted a new innovation strategy in early 2023. An important element is to support researchers who want to turn their research into new companies. For example, via closer cooperation with private investors.
Pleased with collaboration
Eir Ventures has been actively involved in the establishment of GutCRINE, and Tobias, Hornemans-Thielke, who is a partner in Eir Ventures, will be the managing director of the company. Eir Ventures co-founder, Stephan Christgau, is pleased to be able to establish this Seed investment together with UCPH Ventures.
We are excited to participate in the first investment from the University of Copenhagen’s new investment company. The research Professor Oluf Borbye Pedersen and his team have carried out is of the highest scientific quality and has been for decades. Their insights are crucial for understanding the role of gut bacteria in human health. Original and innovative research like this is exactly what Eir Ventures is looking for when we support the establishment of new biotech companies”: Stephan Christgau, Partner, Eir Ventures.
About GutCRINE ApS
The biotech company GutCRINE is a spinout from the University of Copenhagen. The company will focus on developing new drugs for the prevention and treatment of common metabolic and age-related disorders. Professor, senior physician, MD. and specialist in endocrinology and medicine Oluf Borbye Pedersen founded the company in 2023. The foundation of the company is assistant professor Yong Fan and Oluf Borbye Pedersen’s groundbreaking discoveries at the University of Copenhagen. Their research showed that certain bacteria in the human gut synthesize bioactive substances, so-called polypeptide hormones, which regulate the human host’s metabolism and brain activity through the bloodstream and a special signaling pathway between the gut and the brain.
About Eir Ventures
Eir Ventures I AB is a Scandinavian life science venture capital fund that invests in private companies with outstanding entrepreneurs developing transformative therapeutic approaches. The fund started its investment activities in 2020 and invests in opportunities that address significant unmet medical needs for new therapies, medical technology and digital health. Eir Ventures AB is led by a team of experienced life science investors and backed by a strong investor syndicate consisting of leading local and international institutional investors and, somewhat uniquely, leading Nordic universities. More information is available at www.eirventures.eu.
About UCPH Ventures
UCPH Ventures was established in 2022 and entered into a co-investment agreement with Eir Ventures. The University of Copenhagen has set aside up to 2 million Euro for co-investments with Eir Ventures. The perspective is to take advantage of the world-class research carried out at the university by investing in the development of spin-out companies. It is the first time that a Danish university has engaged in this form of spinout investment support.