DNTOX receives €1.4 million seed funding for non-animal testing of chemicals

June 14, 2023

  • The life science startup enables non-animal testing of chemicals for neurotoxicity. 
  • DNTOX receives €1.4 million from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), private investors Barbara Korte-Sturm and Nikolaus Sturm, Bool Capital, and AQAL Capital.
  • The new capital will be used to set up the test laboratories in Düsseldorf, aim for GLP accreditation and launch the test battery on the market.

Düsseldorf, June 14, 2023 – The Life Science startup DNTOX receives seed funding of €1.4 million. The round is led by HTGF, with private investors Barbara Korte-Sturm and Nikolaus Sturm as well as Bool Capital and AQAL Capital also participating. The Düsseldorf-based company has developed a test system based on human cells that maps important processes in human brain development and thus enables the testing of chemicals without the need for animal experiments.

It is a legal requirement that substances that are harmful to the adult brain must also be tested for their effect on the developing brain. Testing evaluates the so-called developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). To date, these tests have been carried out primarily in a large number of animal experiments on rodents and are not only ethically questionable but also extremely time-consuming and costly. In addition, the results can only be transferred to humans to a limited extent due to species differences.

DNTOX’s system, consisting of a battery of individual tests combined with proprietary readout and evaluation algorithms, provides a suitable solution that enables cheaper, faster and ethically safe testing for customers in the chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

With the capital raised, the young company is building up the cell culture laboratories in Düsseldorf and is aiming for GLP accreditation in the near future. Thus positioned, the test system can be introduced to the market and rolled out.

It is high time to establish meaningful and economically viable methods to replace animal testing. In our view, the DNTOX test battery is one such method and we are very confident that chemicals will no longer be tested in animals for their potential neurotoxicity in the future. In addition, we are excited by the enthusiasm and will of the entire DNTOX team to bring this method to market.

Dr. Caroline Fichtner, Principal at HTGF

Experienced and highly respected scientists using their skills to solve a powerful problem through a product and even a company is rare. We are excited about the diverse DNTOX team and its impact on global health. We look forward to helping it succeed.

Tom Schulz, co-founder and managing director of Aqal Capital GmbH

Team of DNTOX (Picture: DNTOX)

About DNTOX GmbH
DNTOX GmbH was founded in March 2022 as a spin-off from the IUF – Leibniz Institute for Environmental Medicine Research and is based on the longstanding research work of Professor Dr. Ellen Fritsche, medical scientist and toxicologist at the IUF. The team of the founders Prof. Fritsche, the economist Silke Beaucamp, the biotechnologists Dr. Katharina Koch and Dr. Kristina Bartmann as well as the bioinformaticians Dr. Arif Dönmez and Prof. Axel Mosig could already be completed by three full-time employees.

Prof. Dr. med. Ellen Fritsche: 0160 92979746
Silke Beaucamp: 0151 25327721

About the private investors Barbara Korte-Sturm and Nikolaus Sturm
Biologist Barbara Korte-Sturm and construction expert Nikolaus Sturm from Bergisch Gladbach invest in companies whose business model and team they are absolutely convinced of.

About Bool Capital GmbH
Berlin-based private investment firm Bool Capital acts as a value-add investor in early-stage start-ups. The focus is primarily on companies that develop and/or apply new cutting-edge technologies.

About AQAL Capital GmbH
AQAL Capital is the Munich-based investment company of award-winning and internationally recognized serial entrepreneur and investor, Tom Schulz and Dr. Mariana Bozesan. The European Early Stage Investor of 2017 and the Business Angelina of 2019 & Club of Rome Member are backing exponentially growing technologies to address the existential problems of humanity.

More information:
Book and report to the Club of Rome “Integral Investing: From Profit to Prosperity”, Springer 2020.

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances tech start-ups with growth potential and has supported more than 700 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of its fourth fund, HTGF now has about 1.4 billion euros under management. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts support young companies with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected more than 4.5 billion euros of capital into the HTGF portfolio via more than 2,000 follow-on financing rounds. In addition, HTGF has already successfully sold shares in 170 companies. 
Fund investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital and 45 companies from a wide range of industries.

Media contact
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Tobias Jacob, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager
T.: +49 228 – 82300 – 121

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