SeNostic GmbH raises seed round for the clinical development of a novel technology for the differential diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases
January 25, 2016
The diagnostics company SeNostic GmbH announced today the closing of a seed round of financing led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF). SeNostic will set out to develop and commercialize a reliable differential diagnostic test for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy-bodies. Currently, the company is validating its SeedCycler platform technology that makes use of highly specific, directly disease-defining biomarkers. The proceeds of this round will be used to deliver proof of feasibility backed by a broad range of clinical data utilizing an advanced prototype.
Approximately 15 million people are currently suffering from neurodegenerative disorders in the EU and the USA alone, with approximately 3 million new cases each year. Today’s diagnostic procedures are mainly based on neurological and psychological examination of suspected cases, which however remain unreliable even when supported by advanced diagnostic procedures. As a result, an accurate diagnosis is often only possible in late stages of the diseases. Without the ready availability of reliable, directly disease-related diagnostics, affected patients cannot be optimally treated, and would profit only to a limited extent from future therapies. In contrast, an accurate, early diagnosis would allow to influence the disease course therapeutically and provide optimal health-care for patients.
SeNostic’s patented technology called SeedProfiling exploits specific protein deposits present in the nervous tissue of affected patients, which begin to form 10 – 15 years prior to the manifestation of the first disease symptoms. These deposits are at the heart of the disease definitions and causally linked to the diseases. At a low concentration, fragments of these deposits, so-called seeds, are also present in the lumbar liquor of patients. SeNostic uses its SeedCycler platform – a proprietary amplification technology – for the standardized detection and characterization of these biomarkers in order to make them accessible for accurate clinical liquor-diagnostics. Based on previous clinical results, the overall accuracy is expected to exceed 95%.
Dr. Thorsten Lührs, founder and managing director, explains: „SeNostic’s focus on seed biomarkers is the key factor for the remarkably high reliability of our technology-driven approach. Seed biomarkers are present at very early stages of the most important neurodegenerations, but not in healthy people. The precise differentiation and classification of diverse neurodegenerations with a single test offers an equally high benefit for clinical diagnostics and for therapy development. Accordingly, we will offer our technology early on for the stratification of clinical trial groups and for the accurate tracing of disease progression in single patients.”
“Neurodegenerations are often hard to distinguish clinically. In fact, several recent studies showed that up to one third of today’s Alzheimer diagnoses are incorrect, and that other neurodegenerations are present instead. Particularly, Alzheimer‘s disease with Lewy-bodies und Parkinson’s can have overlapping symptoms at early disease stages“, adds Dr. Christiane Ritter, founder and future CSO. „Such misdiagnoses not only reduce the quality of life of affected patients and their relatives, but also cause substantial excess costs for the healthcare system. In dementia with Lewy-bodies, the second most prevalent dementia, side effects of wrong medication can even have dramatic adverse consequences. SeNostic hence thrives towards providing a tool that ensures reliable diagnosis at the earliest time point possible.“
Dr. Christian Jung, Senior Investment Manager with High-Tech Gründerfonds, comments: „SeNostic’s SeedCycler platform is unique by its ability to amplify disease-identifying seeds in patient’s liquor samples. This sets their technology apart from the majority of other pursued approaches, which rely on non-causally disease-linked biomarkers, like for example immunological biomarkers. The test that SeNostic will offer can easily be implemented in the daily clinical practice and would be a cost attractive option for the early recognition of for example Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease – including decisive advantages in terms of sensitivity and specificity.”
In the course of this seed round, the company will set up the resources at its new business location in Hannover Medical Park. The company has previously been supported by a pre-seed financing granted by the Mittelständischen Beteiligungsgesellschaft (MBG) of the state of Lower Saxony.
SeNostic GmbH, founded in 2014, is a Braunschweig-based diagnostics company with a focus on the development and marketing of novel technologies for the diagnosis of neurodegenerations – addressing a global billion € market.
The patented SeedProfiling technology forms the core of the company. It has the goal to achieve the reliable differential diagnosis of severe neurodegenerative disorders by the standardized detection and characterization of pathological seed biomarkers. For this purpose, the company develops the SeedCycler, an analytical platform for the amplification, characterization and quantification of diverse seed biomarkers based on their biophysical properties.
Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy-bodies, Parkinson’s disease and Pick’s disease are the most common neurodegenerations, which globally affect millions of patients. In developing neurodegenerations, diverse proteins form deposits in the nervous tissue. These have the capability to amplify and spread by the self-templating recruitment of additional molecules – a process also referred to as ‘seeding’. In fully healthy individuals, no seeding-active protein deposits are present in the nervous tissue. Without reliable, directly disease-related diagnostics, patients often cannot be treated optimally, and also could not adequately profit from future therapies. This is particularly true for the earliest of pre-clinical disease phases.
Notice: The SeedProfiling technology and the SeedCycler platform are not yet commercially available and are under development.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds 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 Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gründerfonds has about EUR 576 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 304 million HTGF II).