Neu-Ulm-based medical device producer and High-Tech Gründerfonds found spin-off Zimmer BioTech: New therapy to combat skin cancer
In the field of dermatology, Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH, a company based in Neu-Ulm (southern Germany), has long been the global market leader for cryotherapy products. In founding the spin-off Zimmer BioTech, the company is now taking another step forward and utilising its wealth of experience to treat skin cancer. Together with High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), the medical device producer is investing in the development of a drug based on the compound 5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA), which is used in the treatment of actinic keratoses in combination with photodynamic therapy (PDT).
“At present, solutions developed by Zimmer help to support dermatol-ogists in their treatment of patients. With the development of this new drug, we are taking on an active role in the treatment of skin cancer,” explains Armin Zimmer, President at Zimmer.
Together with Bonn-based High-Tech Gründerfonds, Germany’s largest seed stage investor, a total of EUR 7 million has so far been invested in the “Alevin deep” drug developed by Zimmer BioTech. The spin-off also fulfils the legal requirements in the field of pharmaceutics, as a quality management system focusing on pharmaceutical products has been put in place. In the near future, Alevin deep is set to be tested on humans as part of a clinical trial, with approval anticipated in 2020.
Dr. Frank Hensel, Senior Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds, is convinced of the product’s benefits.
“Our skin is becoming exposed to higher levels of UV radiation, a development caused in part by an ageing society and changing recreational activities. PDT is thus set to take on an ever more important role in the treatment of skin cancer. The reformulated 5-ALA cream developed by Zimmer Bio-Tech reduces treatment time and the pain associated with PDT. This is a help to both patients and doctors.”
He believes that in taking this step, Armin Zimmer is laying down the foundations to ensure his company maintains a strong position in the market in future.
Treatment of skin cancer to be faster and less uncomfortable in future
Actinic keratoses often affect people with fair skin. Left untreated, they can develop to become squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Actinic keratoses can be removed either by surgery or through PDT. Due to the positive results that have been achieved with PDT over the last few years, it has come to be regarded as the gold standard in the field. In comparison with surgical methods, the selective treatment with Alevin deep also helps to ensure a better skin appearance without the formation of scars.
About Zimmer BioTech
As early as 2012, Zimmer contributed to the development of a drug based on the compound 5-Aminolevulinic acid for use in the treatment of actinic keratoses. The spin-off Zimmer BioTech has been active since October 2016 and is funded by Bonn-based High-Tech Gründerfonds, Germany’s largest seed stage investor. Alevin deep, the first drug to be developed by Zimmer BioTech, is expected to receive approval by 2020.
About Zimmer Medizinsyteme GmbH
As a provider of medical device system solutions for diagnostics, treatment and aesthetic medicine, Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH, headquartered in Neu-Ulm in south-western Germany, has been a trusted partner of doc-tors and therapists for almost 50 years. The German market leader in physiotherapy and world market leader in cryotherapy employs 120 medical devices consultants in Germany and markets its products in over 80 countries worldwide. The company has traditionally focused on research and development, with practical applications for its research being just as important as a sound scientific basis.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is Germany’s most active seed stage investor. With about EUR 820 million under management in three funds we provide financing for technology-driven companies active in a wide range of fields, including robotics, IoT and energy, Medtech and Biotech, chemicals and software. Investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the KfW, and strategic corporate investors.