– SWITZERLAND, Lausanne – Lunaphore Technologies SA, a young Swiss medtech company developing a disruptive technology for tissue diagnostics, announced today the closing of a Series A financing round of CHF 2 million. The round was led by Redalpine Venture Partners in Zurich with the participation of private investors from Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Proceeds will be used to develop Lunaphore’s first tissue diagnostics platform.
Lunaphore, a spin-off from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), was founded in April 2014. Lunaphore has developed an innovative tissue diagnostics platform, primarily for 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. To bring the products closer to the market, the company raised CHF 2 million from Redalpine Venture Partners and private investors from Switzerland and the UK.
“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, the founder and CEO of Lunaphore.
In addition, Lunaphore announces 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 his longstanding experience as an entrepreneurial life science investor, with his background in Biology and Diagnostics.
Lunaphore’s core 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 first application is going to be on searching signatures of certain proteins in tumor tissues, a procedure known as immunohistochemical analysis. A set of clinical studies has already been conducted with 76 breast cancer patients, and the results showed that Lunaphore’s platform can perform such analysis within 5 minutes when compared to 2 to 8 hours for current standards. Furthermore, the obtained diagnostic results are 90% more accurate than methods used in a state-of-the art pathology laboratory. Lunaphore has already a few prototypes are under validation in collaboration with key opinion leaders and players in the field.
The tissue diagnostics market that Lunaphore is aiming at is worth a few billions and is growing fast. Market research shows that the increasing age in population and the high number of new biomarkers will generate an even larger market with 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.
Lunaphore Technologies SA was incorporated in April 2014 by Dr. Ata Tuna Ciftlik, CEO, Diego Dupouy, CTO, Déborah Heintze, COO and Prof. Martin Gijs, as a spin-off of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss institute of Technology in Lausanne) with the vision of building tissue diagnostic platforms for –omics era. Since its incorporation, Lunaphore has been supported by various programmes like Innogrants by EPFL, Venture Kick, venture leaders and venturelab by IFJ, Start-up Coaching of Commission of Technology and Innovation (CTI), SystemsX.ch initiative, Fondation pour l’Innovation Technologique (FIT), SPECo & Innovaud initiatives of Canton de Vaud. In addition, Lunaphore has won more than 12 awards in the national and international scene, including PERL Prize (Lausanne Regions Entrepreneurship Prize), IMD Start-up Competition, and is the youngest start-up in the 2014 TOP 100 Swiss Startups by IFJ and Handelszeitung, entering the list ranked 35th (startup.ch).
Redalpine Venture Partners is an early stage investor focusing on disruptive and highly scalable business models. Their aim is to help talented entrepreneurs turn their visions into reality. To foster entrepreneurial success, Redalpine provides financial backing as well as relevant know-how and a reliable network. Redalpine focuses on European Life-Science and ICT start-ups.
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