The Netherlands is swiftly rising to the top as a hub for healthcare and life sciences innovation. More and more Dutch startups are engaged in a range of cutting-edge initiatives, such as the creation of digital health tools, the development of new treatments for diseases, and patient care improvements, among others.
One area where biotech firms have made a significant influence is rare illnesses. In Europe, 36 million individuals are thought to have a rare disease, and many of them lack access to care. Startups, however, are attempting to provide novel treatments for these ailments and are enhancing patient care.
Hence, today we bring you a list of Dutch-based biotech and life sciences startups that are changing the healthcare landscape and have raised funding in 2022. Certain details of these startups, such as founders’ names and the funding amount, have been sourced from Dealroom.
Check them out below.
Founder/s: Stef van Grieken, Jelle Prins, Elise de Reus
Funds raised: €5.5M
Cradle empowers scientists to ‘reverse engineer’ proteins with the desired specific properties and has built a working platform already used by several early-stage design partners. The company’s machine learning platform helps scientists to design and program ‘cell factories’ faster and improve the chances of getting the experimental results they want. Cradle intends to make its solution accessible to scientists without a machine learning background through an intuitive and collaborative online platform.
Founder/s: Matt Regan (CEO)
Funds raised: €25M
Micreos develops targeted antibacterial solutions based on endolysin- and phage technology as a sustainable alternative to antibiotics. Endolysins are naturally occurring enzymes that can only attack bad bacteria while leaving the helpful ones unharmed. These helpful bacteria are a crucial component of our microbiome, which is frequently referred to as our body’s natural defence. According to Micreos, endolysins are safe and environmentally friendly. The company claims to have pioneered the development of this technology and brought the world the first endolysin-based precision antibacterials.
Founder/s: Tom Kamperman, Claas Willem Visser, Michiel van Alst (CEO)
Funds raised: €4M
IamFluidics creates a microencapsulation technology, known as “in-air microfluidics”. This technology combines the flexibility and clarity of inkjet printing with the high quality of making microfluidic particles. The company claims that the technology can make up to 1,000 times as many samples per minute as chip-based microfluidic technologies. The current generation of microencapsulation processes mainly uses non-degradable plastics and energy-intensive processes. It has limited control, resulting in a lot of material (up to 50 per cent) being lost.
Together with controlled shape, composition, and size at the industrial production scale, these microparticles enable affordable, sustainable, and high-quality products. The company is collaborating with top-tier companies in these areas and says that it can play a leading role in reducing microplastics and in the upcoming revolution in biotechnology.
Founder/s: Alex Schmeets (CEO), Guuske Busscher
Funds raised: N/A
BioMosae is developing a low-cost biological crop protection ingredient Canto, based on enzymes. From scientific literature, enzymes are not only known for their antifungal activity but also for their growth-enhancing properties. Canto will be the active ingredient for the next generation of highly effective affordable biological crop protection products to protect crops from pathogens for which no good biological alternatives are currently available.
Founder/s: Peter de Keizer
Funds raised: $2.5M
Cleara Biotech is a preclinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing therapies for treating different pathologies of “scarred cellular” senescence, including late-stage cancer and chronic diseases. The company uses its knowledge of senescence subtypes to create drugs that will eradicate them in the corresponding disorders. Understanding the molecular and biological processes that underlie these diseased phenotypes allows Cleara to take advantage of their weak spots for safe and selective clearance.
Founder/s: Prof. Pieter Roelfsema, Prof. Xing Chen, Dr Bert Monna
Funds raised: undisclosed
Phosphoenix aims to enable blind people to regain functional vision, even after extensive damage to the eye or optic nerve. The company is developing a prosthesis to stimulate nerve cells in parts of the brain that are involved in visual perception. The prosthesis stimulates nerve cells artificially by inserting electrodes into the brain using a specialised probe. One electrode stimulated creates the sense of a dot of light, while several electrodes stimulated can make recognised patterns. In the finished product, the patient will put on a set of spectacles that have a built-in camera, allowing them to view a condensed version of the outside world through the electrical stimulation of brain patterns.
Founder/s: Prof. Dr Marcel Karperien, Dr Sanne
Funds raised: €6M
Hy2care develops a novel technology platform consisting of injectable hydrogels to fight osteoarthritis. The gel is based on natural components, which transform into a gel upon surgical injection into the cartilage defect. The hydrogel completely fills the defect and enables the body to regenerate new cartilage tissue naturally. Over time, the gel will degrade, being replaced with the newly formed natural cartilage.
Founder/s: Prof. Dr Arjan Griffioen, Diederik Engbersen
Funds raised: €5M
CimCure focuses on the design and development of a novel class of active cancer immunotherapies. The company develops cancer vaccines through its proprietary Immune-Boost (iBoost) technology of targeted conjugate vaccines. It has discovered particular targets in the vasculature of tumours. Eradication of tumour blood vessels and inhibition of their growth will lead to inhibition of cancer growth.
Founder/s: Guido du Pree, Hans van Wijngaarden
Funds raised: €6M
Xyall’s technology solutions address the need for accuracy, speed and ease of use in an automated system to make the ‘most’ efficient use of existing staffing levels. The company says its Automated Tissue Dissection solution enables accurate Region of Interest determination and dissection. “It eases your staff’s workload while allowing you to process more cases per hour, free of cross-contamination.” Xyall scans the Hematoxylin & Eosin stained slides and the dissection slides, displaying tissue samples at the right magnification. This makes Region of Interest detection easier for the pathologist.
Founder/s: Claudine van der Sande
Funds raised: undisclosed
Xinvento (zin-ven-toh) aims to improve the lives of people with congenital hyperinsulinism. Congenital hyperinsulinism, often known as CHI, is the most common cause of severe, sporadic, and chronic hypoglycemia in infants and young children. Hypoglycemia (a ‘hypo’) results from an over-secretion of insulin, which causes blood sugar levels to fall dangerously low. The youngster may experience seizures, go into a coma, sustain lasting brain damage, or even pass away without receiving correct and prompt therapy to stop hypos.
With the help of Xinvento’s research and development, congenital hyperinsulinism patients will have easier access to contemporary medicine.
Founder/s: Bart Sanders
Funds raised: €1.8M
STENTiT is a medical device spin-off company of the Dutch Eindhoven University of Technology, focusing on the development of regenerative endovascular implants. The company claims to be an emerging player in the field of regenerative medical devices, offering a breakthrough solution for cardiovascular interventions by developing first-of-its-kind endovascular implants with regenerative capacity. Using a catheter-based approach, these devices provide the ability to restore arteries without the need for invasive surgical intervention. The aim is to ultimately restore the affected blood vessel from the inside out to provide a lifelong solution.
Founder/s: Rutger Tulleken
Funds raised: undisclosed
AMT Medical has developed a minimally invasive medical device for heart bypass surgery. It is based on the ELANA Bypass, invented by neurosurgeon Prof. Dr C.A.F. Tulleken and his research team at the UMCU. The technique is designed to make traditional heart bypass procedures faster, safer, easier, and less invasive for the patient.
The Seaweed Company
Founder/s: Amine Kharoub, Edwin Sneekes
Funds raised: undisclosed
The Seaweed Company specialises in the development of high-quality seaweed products, including animal feed supplements, food products, and biostimulants. The company has its own seaweed farms in Ireland, Morocco, India, and the Netherlands. Its aim is to cement its position in the sector to get seaweed as an ingredient on the menu of farmers, consumers and companies in Europe.
Founder/s: Hans Slijp, Peter van Dam
Funds raised: €125K
ECG-Excellence is helping patients and healthcare professionals in making maximum use of the power of 12 lead Electrocardiogram technology.
During an ECG, up to 12 sensors (electrodes) are affixed to the chest and limbs. The electrodes are wire-connected stick-on patches that are connected to a monitor. They record the electrical signals that make the heartbeat. The data is stored in a computer, which then shows the waves on a monitor or on paper.
The company says, “Our software relates the ECG data to the heart anatomy and uses inverse cardiac modeling as a base technology to re-create detailed heart activation maps from the ECG data. This level of data processing is already sufficient to outperform the existing embedded algorithms for ECG waveform analysis. This analysis is supported by the unique standardization of the outputs which are compared with a normal distribution of healthy persons’ ECG data. This way ECG Excellence supports triage decisions.”
Founder/s: Sebastian Nijman, Thijn Brummelkamp
Funds raised: €28M
Scenic Biotech was spin-out of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Oxford University. The company is focused on identifying genetic modifiers, a new class of disease targets, for drug intervention. Also known as disease suppressors, genetic modifiers are genes that act to suppress or completely block the effect of a disease-causing mutated gene. Scenic is leveraging its Cell-Seq discovery platform to identify genetic modifiers across multiple therapeutic areas. It is building a pipeline of disease-modifying therapeutics to treat devastating diseases, including inherited rare diseases and cancer.
BIOND Solutions (BI/OND)
Founder/s: Dr Cinzia Silvestri, Dr Nikolas Gaio, Dr William Solano
Funds raised: €3.66M
BIOND Solutions, (pronounced beyond), aims to help researchers factor in diversity early on in drug development through silicon microchips. The company’s platform enables the culturing of complex 3D tissues (organoids, ex vivo tissue, spheroids, and microtissues) for applications in kidney research, oncology and cardiac simulation.
Currently, the company offers two different chips. The first microchip is called inCHIPit – the name is based on the Latin word “incipit,” which means “here begins…”, signaling a starting point. The company claims that inCHIPit is versatile, but it is currently thinking of it in terms of cancer research. The second, called MUSbit, is for muscles. With this chip, cardiac and skeletal micro-tissues can be anchored to two pillars in an open well that sits above a porous microfluidic channel where a perfusable blood vessel can be recreated.
Founder/s: Prof. Dr Ard Peeters
Funds raised: €1.2M
Orexa is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that develops and commercialises therapeutics to increase food intake.
The company says the lead compound is a proprietary oral formulation based on a well-known anaesthetic for human use. Founder Peeters discovered that food intake is changed by local administration of anaesthetics in the stomach. He expected that the food intake would decrease, but to his surprise, he found out that the test animals ate more.
The effect has been experimented with in dozens of animal studies and healthy volunteers, claims the company. As a result, it has been patented, and Orexa has filed a patent for an innovative tablet formulation.
Founder/s: Kristof Vercruysse, Marc van Moorsel
Funds raised: €39M
TargED (Targeted Enzyme Delivery) Biopharmaceuticals develops biological drugs to improve the treatment of thrombosis. The company develops its biological drugs using small antibodies (“VhH”) to deliver enzymes to sites of thrombosis, enabling ‘targeted’ thrombolysis.
The lead compound is Microlyse, a proprietary clot-busting compound that binds to a protein present in all forms of thrombosis. TargED says it is the first compound to achieve targeted enzyme delivery, using a single domain antibody (VhH), directly to blood clots. It then dissolves faster and safer compared to standard care, and recently featured on the cover of the medical journal Blood.
The company’s Microlyse is currently under development for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and Acute Ischemic Stroke (AIS).
Founder/s: Jaap Goudsmit, Koenraad Wiedhaup, Ronald Brus
Funds raised: $140M
Leyden Labs utilises its platform to target commonalities of viral families to protect against many viruses simultaneously as opposed to vaccines that typically protect against a specific virus variant. The company’s platform is built on two concepts: broad protection against known viruses, new variants and newly emerging viruses, and protection at the gate, i.e. in the mucosa (e.g. in the nose and throat). According to Leyden Labs, its intranasal product candidates (e.g. nasal sprays) will be self-administrable, providing people with the freedom to protect themselves instantaneously from infection and prevent transmission.
Besides, Leyden Labs has a pipeline of mucosal protection products, including PanFlu, which uses CR9114, the only human monoclonal influenza antibody that protects against influenza A and B, in-licensed from Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Founder/s: Marcelo Ribeiro, Lisanne Blauw, Robert Passier
Funds raised: €1.8M
River BioMedics is focused on cardiac drug discovery. The team has built a suite of 3D cardiac models including, 3D cardiac strips, heart-on-a-chip and the ‘highly innovative’ mini heart, to support their drug discovery programmes and enable partnerships.
Founder/s: Violette Defourt, Eugene Golov
Funds raised: €75K
Rapidemic is a developer of diagnostic kits for infectious diseases. The company has developed a point-of-care test that is similar to the PCR test and detects viral DNA or RNA. It uses primer technology to detect new airborne infectious diseases. Quality diagnostics often involve laboratory setup and tools. Rapidemic provides testing equipment that can quickly and reliably identify infectious illnesses (such COVID-19) in order to deliver these applications to the patient without the need for laboratories.