Dutch investment fund Aqua-Spark bought a 3.38 percent stake in Norwegian biotechnology firm Hofseth BioCare (HBC) for just more than $11.4 million (€9.8 million), according to a stock exchange announcement Thursday.

The global investment fund, which invests in aquaculture companies with a focus on sustainable production, acquired 12.1 million shares in an off-market transaction with investment group Bonafide at a price per share of NOK 8.10 (€0.82/$0.95).

Amy Novogratz and Mike Velings, co-founders of Aqua-Spark, said they were attracted to HBC because the company's products "perfectly close the loop of a circular economy business model ... which is an instrumental step in furthering the sustainability of the aquaculture industry."

"We believe that the company is on the cusp of an inflection point operationally and from a R&D perspective," said Novogratz and Velings.

Aqua-Spark was also attracted by the health benefits of HBC's products.

Overlooked and underrated

The fund views the company as a "best-in-class" manufacturer of consumer health and pet health ingredients, and as an incubator of new drug leads.

"The latter is certainly something that the market has overlooked," said Novogratz and Velings.

Hofseth Biocare has patents and ongoing trials in the fields of asthma and IBS, where its natural health products may be able to address a significant unmet need for mild to moderate cases of both conditions.