Chr. Hansen has entered the human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) market as it signs an agreement to acquire Jennewein Biotechnologie for a total consideration of €310 million.
The deal includes all the shares of the international industrial biotechnology company and is in line with Chr. Hansen’s 2025 strategy of pursuing acquisitions that extend and strengthen its microbial and fermentation technology platforms.
According to Chr. Hansen, functional ingredients such as HMOs and probiotics are driving the premiumisation trends in infant formula.
Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, Jennewein manufactures a range of HMO products such as 2′ fucosyllactose, Lacto-N-neotetraose, and lacto-N-tetraose. The company has around 100 employees, a global customer base and an IP portfolio of more than 200 patents granted in key markets.
Chr. Hansen claims that Jennewein’s products will have strong functional synergies with its probiotic bacteria and combining the companies will create an even stronger competitive advantage.
Following the deal, Chr. Hansen plans to invest more than €200 million in production assets until 2025, including an investment in a brown-field factory to expand its HMO capacity.
“The fast-growing HMO market is a new space that we have been following with strong interest for some years. In truth, we are making a long-term investment and commitment to HMOs, which I am convinced will bring long-term value creation to our shareholders,” said Mauricio Graber, CEO of Chr. Hansen.
He added: “For us, Jennewein is a strong fit to our microbial portfolio, as its fermentation platform is also scalable and offers good long-term margin potential as volumes increase. Jennewein is a leader in the HMO industry with a superior product offering and IP portfolio, and we believe the company holds a leading position in this relatively new and very exciting market.”
Dr Stefan Jennewein, founder and CEO of Jennewein, said: “Whereas initially we were very much intrigued by the anti-infective effects of HMOs, in particular against human pathogenic viruses, today it is clear that even more beneficial effects can be expected from the combination of HMOs with probiotics. Thus, Chr. Hansen is the perfect match for Jennewein to bring the HMO story to the next level.”
Upon completion of the transaction – which is expected later this month – Jennewein will transfer into the role as chief science and technology advisor. The HMO business will join Chr. Hansen’s health & nutrition division and will operate as a separate, full value chain.