Kicks off fund with two strategic investments
Lausanne, Switzerland – September 28th, 2023 – Debiopharm Innovation Fund, the strategic investment arm of Swiss biopharmaceutical company Debiopharm, with $150 million under management, today announced the launch of its new seed funding initiative. It plans to deploy additional capital to support up to 15 seed-stage startups each year. Building on its strong track record of investing in 25 companies since the inception of the fund in 2006, with a focus on Digital Health since 2017, the fund will now add seed funding activity to invest in more companies even earlier, with the ambition to transform pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) and advance digital innovation in cancer care.
Debiopharm Innovation Fund is thrilled to help young Seed start-ups access not only capital, but also the wealth of knowledge accumulated through years of investing at the intersection of technology, pharma R&D transformation and patient-centric healthcare. These are inspiring times for novel ideas to come to life, as new disruptive AI models reveal fresh insights from complex data and dramatically accelerate the application of research learning into future standards of care. However, challenges also abound for young start-ups: market headwinds continue to squeeze access to capital, complex regulatory environments are hard to navigate, and finally, start-ups realize they may not always speak the same language as the large pharma corporations they want to partner with. This is where our strategic funding and guidance can be the springboard for startups on their path to growth, positioning Debiopharm at the forefront of the innovation stage globally. Debiopharm plans to support the most successful startups through their subsequent Series A financing, which will remain the fund’s flagship activity.
The fund has already started its activity with two Seed investments, with two more to be announced soon. The first two Seed investments include Tune Insight, a Swiss-based startup offering a privacy-preserving data collaboration platform enabling the training of artificial intelligence (AI) models through secure federated learning, and Neuroute, a UK-based startup that develops a no-code AI clinical development platform streamlining clinical trials processes of clinical trials, such as study design and site selection.
“We are excited to partner with Debiopharm and redefine the landscape of clinical development with AI,” said Livia Lifes, co-founder and CEO at Neuroute. “We are on track to make monumental progress in developing AI for clinical trials, which will enable transformative medicines to be brought to patients more effectively and efficiently.”
“Our latest seed round joined by Debiopharm will help us further develop our healthcare vertical, where we see a strong need for collaborations across data sets which today often stay in silos,” said Juan Ramón Troncoso-Pastoriza, co-founder and CEO at Tune Insight. “The potential of predictive AI models for precision medicine is tremendous, and our solution can help train these data-hungry models without ever compromising on data privacy and security.”
Looking to the future, the investment team holds strong convictions: “We believe that precision medicine starts with precision R&D, moving away from generic approaches to more personalized, biomarker-guided development,” said Marc Cikes, Managing Director of Debiopharm Innovation Fund. “We envision patient-centric clinical trials, with more patients able to access novel treatments earlier. Last, we imagine the emergence of AI-powered care, enabling earlier diagnosis, more precise prognosis, and truly individualized treatment pathways.”
The new seed funding activity will therefore pave the way for the next generation of treatments and digital health, providing healthcare professionals with better tools to improve experiences and outcomes for patients. Investments will focus on the next generation of pharma R&D to accelerate drug development, on new technology solutions enabling a more patient-centric approach in clinical trials, and on digital platforms uncovering new insights from clinical data for more personalized care pathways.
“At Debiopharm, we foresee a future where data sets the stage for the entire value chain of drug development, from generating novel drug designs to predicting clinical trial outcomes. The future of healthcare will be redesigned by AI-driven care and the companies behind those innovations,“ said Marc Cikes, Managing Director of Debiopharm Innovation Fund. “Despite tremendous advancements in treating cancer patients and the disease, there is still much more to discover in how we diagnose, treat, and cure cancer patients and by utilizing Debiopharm Innovation Fund’s extensive knowledge and expertise, startups will have the ability to grow into scalable, investment-ready companies that will have a lasting impact on patients worldwide.”
About Debiopharm Innovation Fund
Debiopharm Innovation Fund, the strategic investment arm of Swiss biopharmaceutical company Debiopharm, provides funding and guidance for companies with an ambition to improve the patient journey and transform pharmaceutical R&D. Since 2017 Debiopharm has invested in 15 AI and digital health companies, typically leading the investment rounds. As As of September 2023, Debiopharm Innovation fund is expanding its footprint through a new Seed financing activity.
For more information, please visit www.debiopharm.com/innovation-fund/
To learn more about investment criteria visit https://www.debiopharm.com/innovation-fund/approach/
Launched in 2019, Neuroute is a no-code AI clinical development platform with a mission to empower the way medicine is developed, enabling transformative medicine to reach patients. Their AI-powered platform uses data analytics to enable life science teams to make precise, data-driven decisions that foster efficient collaboration, clinical planning, and clinical development.
For more information, please visit https://neuroute.co/
Dr. Sam Dickens
Clinical Research at Neuroute
About Tune Insight
Founded in 2021 at the EPFL Laboratory for Data Security, Tune Insight orchestrates secure collaborations on sensitive or confidential data across companies, domains or jurisdictions, enabling collective analytics, federated machine learning or other approved computations while protecting data in-use and streamlining compliance. Their technology is built on highly efficient quantum-resistant combination of secure multiparty computation and homomorphic encryption. Tune Insight serves customers across multiple verticals, from healthcare to cybersecurity, financial services and beyond.