Dname-iT raises £500,000 from EMV Capital and KU Leuven’s Gemma Frisius Fund to scale-up its ground-breaking verification platform for NGS Laboratories.
DName-iT is delighted to announce that EMV Capital (“EMVC”), the VC investor specialising in early-stage high-growth deep tech companies, has led a new £500,000 investment into DName-iT, supported by EMV Capital investor network and the Gemma Frisius Fund, a venture seed capital fund formed jointly by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, KBC Group, and BNP Paribas.
DName-iT is a portfolio company of EMVC. EMVC is a wholly owned subsidiary and the corporate finance and venture capital arm of NetScientific Plc (AIM:NSCI).
DName-iT has developed an advanced, scalable platform to deliver simple, cost-effective specimen authentication and identify both specimen and reagent contamination issues in laboratory tests using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). NGS is used increasingly for neonatal and oncology analyses where mistakes can be critical and pathology providers are under increasing pressure to ensure accuracy. DNames® are a proprietary, molecular barcoding system that is hugely scalable to generate millions of unique “DNA barcodes”. When combined with DName-iT’s software tools, the platform can deliver assured identification through the NGS process for patients’ blood, saliva and extracted-DNA specimens – for instance spotting when patient’s samples have been swapped, or have been cross-contaminated. DName-iT’s platform offers to Laboratories simple integration to their NGS workflow through easily adding DNames® to the specimen prior to analysis, avoiding the complexity and dual costs of current parallel specimen verification processes. The output from the DName-iT platform contains no genomic- or patient-identifiable information and does not impact the NGS analysis for medical purposes. Reports generated by DName-iT can reveal insights to systematic and random issues with workflow processes, and provide the Laboratories and their customers with assurance that NGS results are valid.
The investment is expected to enable DName-iT to accelerate further industry pilots, already started in Europe and planned for the USA, consolidate its technology and commercial strategies prior to product launch, build go-to-market partnerships with Laboratory equipment vendors, and drive its first commercial sales. The funds will further support the expansion of the team to drive future growth, and allow additional investment in the software underpinning DNames®. Future plans for DName-iT include integration of DNames® into specimen capture tubes to extend the reach of assured NGS specimen identification to the point of care.
Kevin Dean, interim CEO of DName-iT, said:
“This injection of capital underscores the confidence placed in DName-iT by both EMV Capital investors and the Gemma Frisius Fund, affirming our potential to support with specimen and process assurance the rapid growth of NGS testing in medicine. This fundraising will amplify our go-to-market efforts by enabling us to further validate our technology, strengthen our team, invest in research and development, and cement supply chain partnerships ready for formal product launch.”
Dr Ilian Iliev, MD of EMV Capital, added:
“EMV Capital has now raised c. £5 million since the start of the year, despite the difficult prevailing market conditions. This success shows our ability to identify and nurture high-potential companies that are poised for success in the rapidly evolving deep tech landscape. We are delighted that EMV Capital assisted DName-iT, recognising the company’s potential to accelerate the growth of personalised medicine.”
DName-iT is a spin-out from the world-renowned Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and is developing a platform to improve the accuracy and elimination of errors in genetic testing in high-priority areas such as cancer diagnostics, precision medicine and non-invasive prenatal testing.
To avoid sample authentication errors and to correct for sample contamination in NGS workflows, DName-iT has created a proprietary molecular barcoding system, called DName® barcodes that allows the detection of sample swaps and contamination.
Once the DName® barcodes are spiked into the samples, the barcode stays with the patient genetic code throughout the process, irrespective of the number of sample handling and transfer steps. In the end the results of the genes of interest are read as well as the DName® barcodes, where the laboratory can confirm the patient identity, avoiding independent patient validation steps such as additional SNP fingerprint testing, not only making the entire NGS workflow less time-consuming, but also more cost efficient.
About EMV Capital
EMV Capital is an award-winning deep tech VC investor specialising in early stage high-growth companies in the life science, sustainability, and industrials sectors in the UK and internationally.
EMV Capital develops unique investment strategies for each portfolio company, drawing on its EIS fund and extensive network of private investors, family offices, institutions, and corporate VCs. Delivery and successful execution of these investment strategies enables innovative portfolio companies to raise funding to drive transformational growth.
EMV Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of NetScientific plc (AIM:NSCI), the deep tech and life sciences VC investment group.
EMV Capital has a multi-disciplinary team of specialist investors, portfolio managers, capital raisers, legal, finance, marketing, and support staff. The company is focused on primary and secondary investments, through debt and/or equity.
Gemma Frisius Fund (GFF) is a seed capital fund, established in 1997 as a joint venture between KU Leuven, KBC Private Equity and BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity.
The Gemma Frisius Fund provides seed capital in the early phases of the development of innovative, research-based spin-off companies. Investment is not restricted to a specific technology domain. Every opportunity in which the knowledge, technology or intellectual property of KU Leuven can be exploited in a spin-off company is eligible. Since the establishment of the fund in 1997, an extensive portfolio has been built up.