Lunaphore Technologies closed a Series A financing round of €1.9M (CHF 2 millions). The round was led by Redalpine Venture Partners in Zurich with the participation of private investors from Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Lunaphore’s young team wants to use this cash to develop its first tissue diagnostics platform.
The young Swiss medtech company, a spin-off from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), develops disruptive technology for tissue diagnostics. Since its foundation in April 2014, Lunaphore has developed an innovative tissue diagnostics platform, primarily destined for the analysis and classification of tumors. The platform is based on a microfluidic chip technology that allows fine-tuning of such diagnostic assays and increases their speed and accuracy. The technology, which has been developed at EPFL during the last 6 years, is called Microfluidic Tissue Processor (MTP). The MTP increases the speed and accuracy of basic processes required to implement diagnostic assays on tissue samples like solid tumors.
The technology’s first application is going to be focused on searching signatures of certain proteins in tumor tissues, a procedure known as immunohistochemical analysis. A set of clinical studies has already been conducted on 76 breast cancer patients, and the results showed that Lunaphore’s platform can perform such an analysis within 5 minutes, a huge time gain compared to 2 to 8 hours for current standards! Furthermore, the obtained diagnostic results are 90% more accurate than the mainstream methods used in the state-of-the art pathology laboratory. Lunaphore has already a few prototypes that are under validation in collaboration with key opinion leaders and players in the field.
“From the very beginning, our philosophy was to build a great team and a great product, and this very first investment is a significant validation of both. Besides, we are excited to have a lead investor on board with such an impressive track record like Redalpine.” says Dr. Ata Tuna Ciftlik, founder and CEO of Lunaphore.
In addition, Lunaphore announced the assignment of Dr. Michael Sidler to the Board of Directors. “We are excited about the unprecedented speed and flexibility of the platform and the passion and dedication of the founders”, says Sidler. “Solutions like Lunaphore’s are required in a world where medicine is becoming more personalized and determined by panels of biomarkers”. Michael is a co-founder and partner at Redalpine and contributes to the project with his longstanding experience as an entrepreneurial life science investor and his background in Biology and Diagnostics.
The tissue diagnostics market that Lunaphore is aiming at is worth a few billion dollars and is growing fast. Market research shows that the increasing age of the population and the high number of new biomarkers will create an even larger market, thus, generate a higher growth rate. “This puts us in a great position as a technology provider” estimates Ciftlik. By combining accuracy, speed and automation, Lunaphore wants to be the core technology provider on the international scene.
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