We are happy to announce that Industrifonden has led a €6 million seed round in Elypta, a Swedish cancer diagnostics company. Elypta was founded in 2017 and has developed the first metabolism-based liquid biopsy platform to enable the early detection of cancer and non-invasive monitoring. The company will use the funds to conclude the development of its laboratory kits and cancer diagnostic software. The software uses Elypta’s own proprietary algorithm and database to measure and analyse a panel of metabolites identified by co-founder Professor Jens Nielsen, and co-founder and CSO Dr Francesco Gatto, both of Chalmers University of Technology.
Elypta is a spin-out from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and builds upon research conducted at the Jens Nielsen lab. Using novel systems biology methodology, the founders identified a specific panel of metabolites that correlate with the presence of cancer. They relied on cutting edge computational methods to conduct a comprehensive and systematic analysis of multiple large data sets and identify patterns in metabolic pathways. The research findings led Elypta to develop a test based on a laboratory kit for measurement of relevant metabolites but importantly also a software that analyses the metabolite pattern identified in a sample, using its own proprietary algorithm and database.
Early and accurate cancer diagnostics are crucial to improving patient outcomes. The current gold standard, radiologic imaging, is less than ideal in many clinical settings as it requires the tumour to be large enough to be visible in imaging and exposes patients to radiation. Non-invasive, safe, and cost-effective tests, like Elypta’s, are needed for early cancer diagnosis and for patients’ continued monitoring.
Elypta’s test will first be developed in Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer. This cancer form lacks useful biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring. Most cases of RCC today are identified by chance, as a spot on an imaging report while looking for something else. Through this clinical study of RCC, we think Elypta is well-positioned to impact RCC patient survival and wellbeing.
The Elypta test, using the same product kit and a modified version of the software, has also shown promise in diagnosing several other cancer types. Clinical evaluation has already begun, and we expect this data to trigger additional investment opportunities.
Despite research breakthroughs and massive R&D investments, cancer, in its many forms, remains a major killer. But physicians now have at their disposal new and powerful treatments. A major question for the treating doctor, the paying healthcare system, and ultimately for the patient, is “Whom should be given which treatment, and when?” New therapeutics are often powerfully effective in some patients but useless in others. Normally they are very costly, regardless of outcome. Making the best possible treatment decision under these challenging—but exciting—conditions requires an accurate diagnosis, necessitating better biomarkers and diagnostic tools.
We believe that Elypta’s novel metabolite-based technology has the potential to add a highly sensitive and cost-effective tool to the physician’s toolbox, allowing them to offer a better standard of care. We see cancer diagnostics undergoing a major shift, driven by important technological advancements such as next generation sequencing (NGS). Large amounts are invested in NGS- and other DNA-based cancer diagnostics, and impressive advances are made every month. But the resulting tests are still costly and have yet to prove sensitive enough to detect early stages of cancer. In contrast, the biological properties of metabolites mean that detecting and analysing them in blood or urine is fundamentally different to a DNA-based approach, with other opportunities (and challenges).
Investing in Elypta is a great match for us as we focus on backing teams that address large, unmet medical needs by turning brilliant science into innovative solutions, new products and scalable, international businesses. Chalmers Ventures has been an investor in Elypta since its inception and are co-investing in this round. We are also excited to have Norrsken Foundation join us as a co-investor, as they expand into life science with their new fund. Adding to the expertise and network of the co-investors is Nina Capital, a Barcelona-based health tech seed fund. Elypta and Industrifonden also collaborated with Sciety in building a syndicate of experienced investors.
Elypta CEO Karl Bergman has done an excellent job in crafting and launching a strategy to bring the Elypta technology through product development, regulatory approvals, large scale validation, and onwards to market access.
We look forward to working with Karl, Francesco and the team as they execute on this exciting opportunity.
Jonas Jendi, Investment Manager