High-Tech Gründerfonds invests in PEPperPRINT’s new biochip platform

March 31, 2010

PEPperPRINT, a spin-off of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, is financed by High-Tech Gründerfonds with a start-up investment of 500,000 Euro. Based on an award-winning and proprietary high resolution laser printing process, PEPperPRINT provides customized peptide microarrays in a truly cost-effective manner for the first time. Combined with speed and flexibility, the resulting molecular diversity is unrivalled: For the first time, proteome research is provided with a highly efficient tool that is expected to play a similar role as DNA chips in genome research do today. The PEPperPRINT technology paves the way for new approaches to tackle probing questions in biomedical research, diagnosis and therapy.

Through perennial research, the founders of PEPperPRINT have succeeded in developing a revo­lutionary technology for the generation of biochips to marketability, which particularly overcomes the hitherto existing obsta­cles in manufacturing high density pep­tide microarrays. Instead of colour pigments, peptide building blocks – the amino acids – are embedded in solid toner particles. These “amino acid toners” are printed onto glass slides with a custom 20-colour laser printer. High resolution synthesis of peptides is then initiated just by melting the amino acid toners. A considerably increased complexity of resulting peptide microarrays comes along with a dramatic decrease of manufacturing costs and an unlimited flexibility.

PEPperPRINT’s peptide microarrays open new biomedical research opportunities by providing individualised, fast and highly efficient solutions for the investigation of proteins, enzymes and antibodies. Diagnostic issues can be address by the profiling of e.g. antibodies from sera or by the screening for new protein biomarkers. In addition to that, the PEPperPRINT technology enables an unrivalled fast identification and optimization of natural and nonnatural peptides as vaccine and drug candidates.

After successfully completing first screening projects, PEPperPRINT is going to use the investment to scale up production capacities as well as to intensify sales and marketing activities. High-Tech Gründerfonds was obviously convinced by this business concept. Dr. Bernd Goergen, Senior Investment Manager of the High-Tech Gründerfonds, states: “With PEPperPRINT‘s amino acid toner based technology for the production of ultra high density, but cost efficient peptide arrays, a new biochip era begins. With our investment the very experienced team will lead its unique product portfolio to commercial breakthrough in biomedical research and diagnostics even faster.”

Dr. Frieder Kern, technology manager of the German Cancer Research Centre, adds: “We are pleased about the licensing of this important patent family exclusively to PEPperPRINT, and look forward to the active marketing of the next generation peptide microarrays by the DFKZ spin-off. We feel vindicated by the positive signals from the market, and are confident of PEPperPRINT’s success.”

About PEPperPRINT:
PEPperPRINT GmbH is a spin-off of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg with a proprietary platform technology for the generation of custom peptide microarrays. The company produces and distributes peptide microarrays on demand, and also provides biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry with screening services based on more complex peptide libraries. The technology is based on a laser printing process and was awarded with the German “Wissenschaftspreis des Stifterverbands“ in 2008. In 2009, PEPperPRINT won the renowned Science4Life Venture Cup, and became one of the landmarks in the nation-branding initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas”, initiated by the government and the Federation of German Industries. PEPperPRINT is a member of the BIO Deutschland and the German Biotech Cluster Rhine-Neckar (BioRN).

Dr. Volker Stadler
Chief Executive Officer
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
Phone: +49 6221 424744
Fax: +49 6221 421744

About High-Tech Gründerfonds:
High-Tech Gründerfonds invests venture capital in young, high-opportunity technological companies implementing promising research results in an entrepreneurial manner. The start-up companies are planned to lead their R&D projects to the production of a prototype or a “proof of concepts” or market launch by means of the seed financing of up to 500k EUR. The High-Tech Gründerfonds has a fund volume of around 272m EUR. Investors of the public-private partnership are the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, the KfW bank group as well as the six industrial groups BASF, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Robert Bosch, Daimler and Carl Zeiss.

Dr. Bernd Goergen
Senior Investment Manager
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Ludwig-Erhard-Allee 2
53175 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 96568500
Fax: +49 228 96568550

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