Vacis raises capital from Brightlands Venture Partners, HTGF, LIOF and RVO

October 10, 2019

    • The funding will be used for clinical evaluation of its technology;
    • First application in vascular access for hemodialysis, prolonging the lives of patients with no other alternatives;
    • The team has been expanded with seasoned biotech executives.


Every year, an estimated 300.000 hemodialysis patients worldwide die as they run out of medical alternatives. One of the main reasons for these deaths is failure of the vascular access site, the blood vessel where blood is removed, filtered and returned to the body during dialysis. To solve this problem, a medical device was developed that enables a patient’s body to create blood vessels using the patient’s own cells. Vacis, the company commercializing this technology, has successfully closed a further funding round to set up GMP production, execute clinical trials and obtain CE certification.

The company received funding from Netherlands-based Brightlands Venture Partners and LIOF through their Limburg Business Development Fund (LBDF), as well as the German High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). This was supplemented by a so-called Innovation Credit from RVO (the Netherlands Enterprise Agency). “The financing and support of the investors will enable us to quickly scale up the clinical trial and accelerate the route to market by at least a year”, says Ken Messier.

“Vacis combines elegant science with a solid management team. Brightlands truly is the ecosystem in which Vacis can validate its technology in patients and go to market fast.”, says Casper Bruens – Director at Brightlands Venture Partners.

Tys van Elk, Director at LIOF adds:

“Vacis is an exciting addition to the local community of regenerative medicine and realizing this consortium fits perfectly with LIOF’s increasing cross border ambition in the Euregio.”

The medical device is a synthetic rod with a specialized surface that is inserted under the skin. This induces the body to form a tissue capsule, which in the right environment, further matures into a functional blood vessel that is used as a vascular access site for hemodialysis.

“We found the simplicity of the solution and the biocompatibility data very convincing and are delighted to support Vacis” adds Anke Cassing, Investment Manager at HTGF.

The team has been expanded with two seasoned biotech managers, Ken Messier and Josephine Brackman. Ken brings a wealth of clinical development and regulatory expertise, with over 30 years’ experience in Biotech. He has held various Director and Sr. Program Management positions within biotech companies such as Genzyme and DSM Biomedical. Josephine brings a broad expertise that covers (project) management, intellectual property and R&D. She has over 25 years’ experience in materials and biotech and has held several senior positions within DSM. They both join Dominik Klump, the Chief Technology Officer of Vacis, in the management team at the location in Geleen.

Leiden University Medical Center and Maastricht University played a key role in the development of the technology. The project was also supported by The Dutch Kidney Patients Association and the Biomedical Materials Program (BMM), a public-private partnership of leading industrial and academic players and the Dutch government.

About Vacis
VACIS is a biotech company focused on tissue engineering based in Geleen, the Netherlands, with an experienced international management team from the US, Germany and Netherlands. It is currently evaluating its first application, hemodialysis access for kidney failure patients, of its product in clinical trials.

Press contact
Ken Messier

About Brightlands Venture Partners
Brightlands Venture Partners (BVP) is the fund manager of Chemelot Ventures and is a so-called ecosystem investor. BVP invests in companies benefiting from and contributing to the Brightlands campuses in the south of the Netherlands. Funds under management are Limburg Ventures, Chemelot Ventures and Brightlands Agrifood Fund. Chemelot Ventures focusses on smart materials and life sciences and is the successor fund of the 2004 vintage Limburg Ventures; together the funds have made more than 35 investments.

About LIOF
LIOF supports innovative entrepreneurs in Limburg with advice, network and financing. They determine the optimum mix of instruments for each individual entrepreneur based on the entrepreneurs’ needs. They help SMEs with innovative ideas, business plans and financing requests, and aid entrepreneurs who want to establish themselves in Limburg. Their goal is to make BV Limburg, and therefore Limburg as a whole, economically stronger. LIOF’s Limburg Business Development Fund (LBDF) offers a mix of financial instruments to develop business concepts.

About Innovation Credit (Innovatiekrediet)
Innovation Credit is a risk bearing loan from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to Dutch companies for the technical or clinical development of a new product, process or service. (

The Innovation Credit facility is managed by the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), which encourages entrepreneurs in sustainable, agrarian, innovative and international business. It helps with grants, finding business partners, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations. RVO is part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven startups. With EUR 895.5 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 550 startups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech startups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemistry and life sciences.

To date, external investors have injected over EUR 2 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,400 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 100 companies. Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Capital, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, FOND OF, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.

High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Schlegelstraße 2
53113 Bonn
Dr. Anke Caßing
P.: +49 228 82300 148

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