The microbiome is a growing area of interest across multiple industries as countless studies have linked it with human disease and high unmet consumer needs. Some authors have proposed that the definition of ‘communicable disease’ may have to be revisited after advances in microbiome science have shown some ailments believed to be noncommunicable may be transmitted through microbes. This has made thousands of companies around the world focus their attention on the topic.
In December, Crunchbase captured the statistics surrounding the increase in funding for startups that are focused on uncovering connections between human health and the gut microbiome. More than $1 Billion has been invested in these US startups in the last five years.* Meanwhile, across the globe, microbiome therapeutics and diagnostics companies have collectively attracted more than $4B in investments to date with over 80% of the 233 financial rounds recorded happening in these last five years by almost 300 different investment companies.**
Microbiome research has traditionally been performed by food and beverage companies developing probiotics and prebiotics. However, over the last five years, the field is also capturing attention from other industries such as pharmaceuticals, health & beauty, and technology, which see the unmet consumer needs as an opportunity to develop new innovations and revenue streams.
The impact and economic possibilities of the microbiome don’t end with just the human gut. Agriculture and the food supply system are seeing an impact from the microbiome as well.
According to the Entomological Society of America, invasive insects cause economic damages to crops, lawns, forests, and pastures totaling $18 billion per year***. Chemical insecticides have been central to insect pest control in the past. However, a growing demand for reducing agricultural chemical use due to human health concerns are fueling interest in innovative approaches to manage insect pests. Research in the microbiomes of insects, plants, and natural resources could be leveraged to develop new solutions to fight insects. The combination of microbiome science and agriculture is generating new methods to lower both the costs and impacts of farming while generating new business segments across industries.
While the gut microbiome is one of the most recent discoveries in human health, Manna Tree continues to track the changing landscape and uncover opportunities created by new science, shifting consumer demands, environmental impact, and other supply chain changes.