HTGF and MBG Schleswig-Holstein invest into innovative diagnostic solution for the early detection of oral cancer
The biotech company Abviris Deutschland GmbH from Ammersbek near Hamburg, Germany, developed a rapid test for the early detection of mouth and throat cancer. High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein (MBG) invest a mid six-figure amount and support therefore the nationwide roll-out of the diagnostic tool as well as the international expansion of the company.
Each year more than 18.000 people in Germany are newly diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer. Since a couple of years it´s known that a human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for a significant number of cases. Today, already one third of all tumors of the oral cavity are induced by HPV, and the rate is constantly increasing. Hence, the serological detection of HPV is already part of the medical guidelines in Germany.
The two founders Dr. Ralf Hilfrich and Stefan Raupach identified a highly-specific tumor marker and developed a rapid test for easy detection, which was launched in 2015 in Germany. Abviris´ new assay allows the early diagnosis of the disease and enables therefore less invasive treatments. Consequently, it provides a significantly improved prognosis for the patient.
“Thanks to the commitment of HTGF and MBG, we have the chance to diagnose thousands of cases much earlier than before. The positive effect for afflicted persons is invaluable, since the main issue with oral cancer is the staging, that means the status of the tumor at the moment of diagnosis“, says Dr. Ralf Hilfrich, technical director of Abviris. Dr. Philipp Rittershaus, investment manager at HTGF confirms: “If a head-and-neck tumor is detected in an early stage as small, local condition, the prognosis is usually very, very good.“
In preparation for the integration of the rapid test into a nationwide screening program, the assay is currently evaluated in the Hamburg City Health Study (HCHS). The HCHS represents the largest local medical study worldwide and includes a cohort of 45.000 patients in the age of 45 to 74 years. The examinations started in 2015 and will be completed in 2020.
About Abviris Deutschland GmbH
The company was founded in 2014 by Dr. Ralf Hilfrich (technical director) and Stefan Raupach (commercial director) with the vision to establish a new cancer screening program for the early detection of HPV-induced mouth and throat cancer. The two founders combine more than 40 years of experience in the development, manufacturing and marketing of in-vitro diagnostics. Located in Ammersbek near Hamburg, the company distributes the rapid test since 2015 to dentists, dermatologists and other specialists, who offer cancer prevention services to their patients.
About MBG Schleswig-Holstein
MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein was founded in 1994 on the initiative of the provincial government of Schleswig-Holstein as a local investment company. The mission of MBG is to strengthen the capital base of small-scale companies and thus to support their bankability. MBG generally commits in silent partnerships in start-ups as well as established companies. In individual cases, MBG invests in the form of open participations. The team of MBG currently supports more than 500 companies exceeding 100 million Euro of investment.
MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein mbH
Tel.: +49 431 66 701 35 93
Fax: +49 431 66 701 35 90
About the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF)
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 600,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, as well as strategic corporate investors including ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Lanxess, media + more venture, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 576 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 304 million HTGF II).
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Philipp Rittershaus
Tel.: +49 228 823001-33
Fax: +49 228 823000-50