Capital for Caterna GmbH
Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS) and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) are to invest about EUR 650k in Caterna GmbH. The investment is intended to fund market entry as well as further research and development work for more applications using the telemetric treatment software in ophthalmology.
Caterna GmbH, a spin-off from TU Dresden (Dresden Technical University), develops and sells software that can be used to correct defective vision. For the first area of application, amblyopia or lazy eye, the Company will already be able to provide selected ophthalmologists with treatment software as early as the beginning of 2011. Amblyopia involves poor eyesight attributable to irregular processing of information in the brain. In the case of children it is normally treated by wearing an eye patch – known as occlusion therapy. The young patient’s eye frequently has to be covered for several years – an unpopular method that involves the child being stigmatised. Caterna’s treatment method enjoys significantly greater acceptance among patients and can make it possible to partly do without the eye patch or to reduce the time it has to be worn.
Headed by the scientist Dr Uwe Kämpf, Caterna’s neurosimulation treatment method, which is based on a special software solution, was developed at TU Dresden from the mid 1990s. A team was set up within the framework of the Dresden Exists start-up initiative that successfully achieved the transition from research into commerce. “Using our software, children affected by amblyopia can be treated with playful ease – in the most literal sense of the word playful,” says Sascha Seewald, Caterna’s CEO. “We have modified computer games suitable for children in such a way that the young patients’ eyesight can demonstrably be treated more quickly and better than with the conventional occlusion therapy alone.” It involves the computer game running in the foreground, holding the young patients’ attention and challenging the brain’s coordination performance. A drifting wave pattern runs in the background facilitating neurosimulation of the patient’s vision.
“This innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution makes it possible for young patients to be treated from home. It is done together with the parents and the time-related treatment expense remains manageable,” says Martin Pfister of High-Tech Gründerfonds. Thomas Schäfer from SIB Innovations- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft, which represents TGFS in the Dresden region, adds: “Along with the children and their parents, ophthalmologists also benefit from this new treatment method. This is a necessary condition for successfully launching the product on the market.”
Caterna will offer its innovative treatment method in collaboration with selected ophthalmology practices and clinics, and will broaden this further in the next few years. “We will use the funds provided by High-Tech Gründerfonds and TGFS to give large numbers of patients the opportunity as soon as possible to improve their eyesight with playful ease under medical supervision.”
About Caterna GmbH
Caterna GmbH develops and markets treatment software for therapeutic applications in ophthalmology. The technology is made available to physicians and patients via a telemedical treatment platform on the internet. The first product is used to treat amblyopia. The objective is to develop this technology further so that it can also be used for age-related vision impairment.
About Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen, TGFS
Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS) invests in business start-ups as well as young enterprises in the technology sector. As a venture capital fund, TGFS becomes a minority shareholder in the target companies by investing equity on beneficial terms and assists them on key matters with the experience of its management. TGFS invests funds of the Free State of Saxony, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the savings banks of Chemnitz, Leipzig and Dresden as well as by LBBW.
SIB Sächsische Innovations- und Beteiligungsgesellschaft is the investment subsidiary of Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden (Eastern Saxony Savings Bank in Dresden) and has since 2000 been investing in both established SMEs and new businesses. It thus focuses in eastern Saxony on growing enterprises that stand out in terms of a promising technological direction or significant market positioning. SIB currently manages four funds with a volume in excess of EUR 100 million and has investments in about 30 companies.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds invests in young, innovative technology firms based in Germany. The fund makes available the required start-up capital and supports founders as they set the parameters for the structures of their business: in terms of strategy and by providing impetus. High-Tech Gründerfonds was established in 2005 upon the initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Business and Technology (BMWi). Alongside the BMWi and the KfW Banking Group, industrial companies BASF, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens as well as Daimler, Robert Bosch and Carl Zeiss have invested in the fund. The public/private partnership fund has a volume of EUR 272 million.