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DKFZ spin-off Epignostix raises €4.3m seed round to commercialize diagnostic tumor classifier

Heidelberg, Germany, July 2, 2024 – Heidelberg Epignostix GmbH, a deeptech start-up committed to precision cancer diagnostics today announces €4.3M in seed funding. This investment will enable Heidelberg Epignostix to make a substantial leap forward in driving market development for its flagship indication for brain tumor classification.


CARMA FUND I Capital GmbH & Co KG led the round with participation from High-Tech Gründerfonds, LBBW Venture Capital GmbH and Start-up BW Seed Fonds. Heidelberg Epignostix’ technology is underpinned by more than ten years of intensive research originally at the Hopp Children’s Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and Heidelberg University. Combining epigenetics with artificial intelligence-powered bioinformatics, their software algorithms enable precise cancer classification of subtypes that are otherwise difficult or impossible to distinguish. The technology is based on DNA methylation which is a pattern of chemical tags on tumor DNA functioning as genomic fingerprints. The algorithm has been applied to more than 150,000 patient samples to date.


The company is addressing brain tumor classification due to the high need for improved diagnostic accuracy. Methylation-based tumor classification is now recommended by WHO guidelines as a precise classification tool which enables enhanced clinical care for cancer patients.


“CARMA FUND I Capital is excited to support this highly promising approach in precision cancer diagnostics” said Martin Raditsch, managing partner of CARMA. Katharina Severin, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds adds: “We very much look forward to working with the outstanding Epignostix team to create a transformative portfolio for cancer diagnostics in brain tumors and beyond.”


“Heidelberg Epignostix is absolutely thrilled to have secured financial backing from a group who have profound expertise in healthcare and the oncology market,” said David Jones from KiTZ and DKFZ, co-founder and general manager at Heidelberg Epignostix. “We have a very robust technology, and we expect to bring the Heidelberg Brain Tumor Classifier as an approved diagnostic test to the market in 2025.” Felix Sahm, co-founder and Head of Molecular Neuropathology at the Heidelberg University Hospital adds: “We are focusing on brain tumors first, where a sizeable patient population and high relevance in childhood cancer have already led to rapid adoption but will expand into other tumor indications quickly.”


About Heidelberg Epignostix GmbH: Heidelberg Epignostix is a healthcare company whose mission is to transform cancer diagnostics through data science. The company has developed novel AI-based bioinformatics algorithms with utility in cancer classification for improved accuracy in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapy management. The lead product, the Heidelberg Brain Tumor Classifier, is currently available as a research-use-only resource. Heidelberg Epignostix is located in Heidelberg, Germany. For more information visit www.epignostix.com.


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