Molecular diagnostics specialist GNA Biosolutions completes € 6 million (US$ 6.7m) financing round

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1 July 2015

GNA Biosolutions GmbH (GNA), a manufacturer of ultrafast pathogen diagnostic instruments, will receive fresh capital of € 6 million in a series B financing round. Founded in 2010, GNA welcomes new investors Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement GmbH, b-to-v Partners, and UnternehmerTUM-Fonds who are investing in its highly promising molecular diagnostics technology. The financing round was led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital. Existing shareholders include Mey Capital Matrix, KfW and the company’s founders. . .

Working with a laser-based PCR process, GNA facilitates reliable pathogen detection. The technology enables physicians and hospitals to diagnose bacterial diseases within minutes, with no need for time-consuming laboratory diagnostics. The specific DNA sequences for the pathogen under investigation are extracted and artificially multiplied (Polymerase Chain Reaction = PCR). The laser component of GNA’s technology is used for the necessary PCR thermo-cycling process (sample heating and cooling) and to read out results. Compared with traditional PCR diagnostics, this laser-based approach supplies results within just a few minutes. With low requirements in terms of sample preparation, it also facilitates the development of inexpensive diagnostics products.

GNA will use the funds from this financing round to bring its first product, the Pharos400 instrument, to market maturity. The Pharos400 processes samples with its integrated laser unit and allows a real-time detection and quantification of the results. Given its highly integrated diagnostics cartridges, Pharos400 will enable untrained hospital staff to quickly and easily obtain meaningful diagnoses. GNA will also work on developing tests for other hospital bugs. The company will focus above all on attracting university hospitals as its potential first customers.

Dr. Dieter Kraft, Investment Partner at Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, comments: “With GNA Biosolutions, we are delighted to be supporting a company which operates at the interface between sophisticated mechatronic engineering and the growing global healthcare market, and one that has developed key innovations in this market.”

“PCR is now one of the fastest-growing areas of diagnostics. In recent years, the molecular diagnostics market has become a cornerstone for the world of medicine and beyond. GNA’s novel laser-based process enables physicians to treat patients faster, safely and more effectively– especially when it comes to time-critical diagnoses”, remarks Dr. André Zimmermann, Partner at the Tübingen-based growth financer SHS. Reinhilde Spatscheck, Managing Partner at SHS adds: “What convinced us is GNA’s innovative technological approach and the great potential this new PCR technology has for deployment. SHS is keen to invest in diagnostics applications that offer great growth potential.”

Comments Johan de Ruiter, Lead Investor at b-to-v Partners: “Multi-resistant bacteria present a significant problem in Germany, where between 400,000 and 600,000 treatment-related infections occur each year. Given the ultrafast availability of test results, the technology developed by GNA Biosolutions GmbH is particularly suited to applications in point-of-care diagnostics. Not only that, applications in other areas offer additional potential for marketing the technology.”

Andreas Unseld, Investment Manager at UnternehmerTUM Fonds, adds: “The efforts and initiatives currently underway in the political arena to improve hospital hygiene and get the problems associated with multi-resistant bacteria under control also require rapid, meaningful tests and diagnostic instruments capable of use, for example, in patient admissions. We see GNA as being ideally positioned to play a major role in the diagnostics market in future.”

In view of this financing round of great importance to GNA’s further development, the company’s management team – Drs. Lars Ullerich, Federico Bürsgens and Joachim Stehr – have issued the following statement: "We have already benefited from the business and industry expertise of this team of investors during the contract negotiation stage. With this financing round, we are now well positioned to jointly tackle the next key technological development steps and strategic decisions."

About GNA Biosolutions

GNA Biosolutions is developing a pipeline of diagnostic instruments and assays for robust, ultra-fast detection of important human pathogens based on its proprietary Laser PCR technology. The world’s fastest thermal cycles for DNA amplification and detection can be achieved by ultra-fast laser-heating of nanoparticles within the sample solution, an optothermal technology that allows heating and cooling rates many orders of magnitude faster than other PCR methods. The localized nano heating technology is combined with fluorescent-free DNA detection, making ultra-fast DNA-based tests possible within 15 minutes or less. GNA Biosolutions has designed and manufactured the Pharos400 instrument that works with 8-plex test cartridges offering a simple and cost-effective detection of multi-resistant pathogens like MRSA or viruses at point-of-care.

GNA Biosolutions GmbH was spun-out of the Institute for Photonics and Optoelectronics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, in 2010, and is located in the Innovation and Start-Up Center for Biotechnology (‘IZB’) in Martinsried near Munich. For more information please visit the website: www.gna-bio.com

About Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC)

Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) is the corporate venture company of the Bosch Group, a leading global supplier of technology and services. RBVC invests worldwide in innovative start-up companies at all stages of their development. Its investment activities focus on technology companies working in areas of business of current and future relevance for Bosch, above all, automation and control, energy and environment, enabling technologies, and healthcare. RBVC also invests in services and business models as well as new materials that are relevant to the above-mentioned areas of business.

About SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement mbH

The Tübingen-based investment company SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement invests in medical technology and life science companies with a key focus on expansion financing, change of control and succession situations. SHS acquires both minority and majority investments. Founded in 1993, SHS is an experienced sector investor that supports its portfolio companies with a cooperative network for launching new products, with regulatory matters, or in entering additional markets. Among the national and international investors in SHS funds are the European Investment Fund, professional pension schemes, funds-of-funds, family offices, entrepreneurs, and the SHS management team. The AIFM-registered company is currently investing funds from the fourth generation of funds, for which its investors have provided € 125 million. The company makes equity investments of up to € 20 million. Transactions on a medium double-digit million scale can be performed together with a network of co-investors. SHS’s Managing Partners are Reinhilde Spatscheck, Dr. Bernhard Schirmers, Hubertus Leonhardt, and Uwe Steinbacher.

About b-to-v Partners

b-to-v Partners AG is a venture capital company with offices in St. Gallen and Berlin. With around 200 members, it is also one of Europe’s leading networks of private entrepreneurial investors. b-to-v combines the industry expertise and experience of its entrepreneurs with the longstanding venture capital expertise of its in-house team. With this investment approach, b-to-v has set itself the goal of generating sustainable added value for its portfolio companies and investing entrepreneurs. At core, the b-to-v philosophy is all about investing together and a desire to mutually benefit from the financial, content-based and personal support provided from entrepreneur to entrepreneur.

About UnternehmerTUM Fund

UnternehmerTUM Fund, Garching (Munich), invests in young technology companies across Germany in the fields of information and communications technology, medical technology and clean-tech. Portfolio companies benefit from UnternehmerTUM’s longstanding experience in developing young companies. The UnternehmerTUM Fund has in-house industry experts and a unique network of connections in industry and to other venture capital investors.

EIF, ERP and CIP: The UnternehmerTUM Fund is supported by the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Union via its Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), and the ERP-EIF and LfA-EIF funds-of-funds.

About KfW’s ERP Start-up-Fund

KfW finances and supports, among other things, business start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as well as investments in growth and employment in Germany. The ERP Start-up Fund, administered and co-financed by KfW, offers equity financing for innovative, technology-based enterprises with very good growth prospects. The Fund finances research and product development as well as the launching of new products, processes or services. KfW always cooperates with a lead investor and offers financing at market conditions.

About Mey Capital Matrix GmbH

Founded in 2010, MEY Capital Matrix GmbH is an independent private investment company.

The basic idea behind MEY Capital Matrix GmbH involves making entrepreneurial investments in young life science and medical technology companies and offering hands-on support in terms of financial background and management competence.

The investor and owner is Gerhard Mey, a dedicated SME entrepreneur. He is co-owner and supervisory board member at one of the world’s 100 top automotive suppliers.

MEY Capital Matrix GmbH currently holds investments in five promising young companies.

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GNA Biosolutions GmbH
Dr. Lars Ullerich
Geschäftsführer GNA Biosolutions
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