Epigenetics Specialist Epivios Financed by High-Tech Gründerfonds and Life Science Inkubator´s Pre-seed Fund
Start-up financers High-Tech Gründerfonds and the investment company of Life Science Inkubator are investing together with the TTHU [Technology Transfer Heinrich Heine University GmbH] and a private investor in the development of molecular diagnostic cancer tests. Epivios GmbH, a spin-off of the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf is receiving seed financing that will secure the further development of its platform technology.
The five-member founding team works on innovative processes that make the early discovery and exact diagnosis of cancer possible. This means that patients can be directed towards appropriate treatment early on and so avoid unnecessary therapies. “We are delighted about the successfully concluded financing round and the perspective it opens up for developing modern and practical diagnostics for patients”, says Managing Director Nicole Groth. “With this capital investment, we can expand both our laboratory and our team”. The new developments are based on a recent epigenetic procedure that can show changes in DNA methylation patterns. “These changes are an early indicator of a developing cancer, and give specific information about the stage of tumour development”, explains Dr Simeon Santourlidis, co-founder of Epivios, about this innovative technology.
The epigenetic platform technology includes a new kind of standardisation tool that allows the comparison of samples with differing genetic constitution for the first time. Furthermore, Epivios´s new procedure also analyzes sequences, which spread across the entire genome, amount to several tens of thousands. This raises the sensitivity by a multiple, in comparison with any comparable procedure that employs isolated template sequences. Further, in contrast to previous methods, it is now possible to use smaller differences in DNA methylation for earlier diagnosis of tumours, which greatly increases the spectrum of applications for this tool. Acute clinical questions regarding bladder and prostate cancer, which were defined in collaboration with a network of leading clinical experts, are being addressed by the first two test systems.
Through the investment by High-Tech Gründerfonds, the investment company of Life Science Inkubator, Technologietransfer Heinrich Heine Universität GmbH (TTHU), and a private investor, the start-up is now in a position to develop the first two assays and execute preliminary clinical validation studies.
The investors seem pleased about the conclusion of the participation agreement: “With future developments by Epivios, a new approach to analysis will greatly increase the validity of cancer-relevant diagnostics. The platform-based nature of the procedure yields an attractive market potential, also with regard to further indications”, explains Ron Winker, Investment Manager at High Tech Gründerfonds. “We are delighted that it has been possible – especially considering the current difficult financing situation– to implement a cooperative project with HTGF for the first time”, adds Dr Jörg Fregien, Managing Director of LSI Pre-Seed Fund. .
The Heinrich Heine University of Dusseldorf also believes in the success of the business idea: “I am very pleased that, with the TTHU, the university now has a vehicle to provide support for such a promising project as an investor in its own right”, says Dr Stefanie Niemann, Director of the TTHU and Head of Research Management at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf.
About Epivios GmbH
Epivios GmbH was founded in 2011. The interdisciplinary team, comprising doctors and biologists, has been working since 2009 on innovative epigenetic procedures for cancer diagnosis. Through the combination of clinical know-how and state-of-the-art medical technology, products are developed that are specifically tailored to actual clinical needs. The company is based in Düsseldorf [Germany].
Institut für Transplantationsdiagnostik und Zelltherapeutika (ITZ)
Düsseldorf University Hospital
Moorenstrasse 5, Building 14.80
Tel: +49 (0) 211 810 4341
Fax: +49 (0) 211 810 4543
About LSI Pre-Seed-Fonds GmbH, Bonn
The finance company Life Science Inkubator GmbH represents the interests of various private investors. The company is not just committed to the therapeutic benefits of medical treatment; it is interested, above all, in the sustainable development of young companies.
LSI Pre-Seed-Fonds GmbH
Dr Jörg Fregien
Tel: +49 (0) 228 22 77 90 – 0
Fax: +49 (0) 228 22 77 90 – 29
About Technologietransfer Heinrich Heine Universität GmbH (TTHU)
Technologietransfer Heinrich Heine Universität GmbH is an investment company and 100% subsidiary of the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf. It was founded in 2000 to allow investment in companies that come from the field of academic science, and especially from the Heinrich Heine University.
Technologietransfer Heinrich Heine Universität GmbH (TTHU)
Dr Stefanie Niemann
Tel: +49 (0) 211 8113265
Fax: +49 (0) 211 8112422
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as thirteen industrial groups of ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE Color, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 563 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 291 million HTGF II).
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Tel: +49 228 823001-44
Fax: +49 228 823000-50