Following a successful Health Holland Venture Challenge coaching program, involving the preparation of a business plan and a slide deck, Cyclomics participated into a pitch contest in front of a jury consisting of seasoned biotech entrepreneurs and experts. After a long deliberation of the jury, the winners were announced two weeks later at the Dutch Life Sciences conference at the Pivot Park in Oss. The combination of an excellent business plan and a crystal clear pitch and discussion session led to the unanimous decision of the jury to declare Cyclomics as the winners of the Health Holland Venture Challenge fall 2017, thereby winning a prize of 25.000 EUR.
The Cyclomics team participating in the Venture Challenge program consisted of founders Alessio Marcozzi, Jeroen de Ridder and Wigard Kloosterman, each working at the University Medical Center Utrecht, and Genoveva Heldens from the Utrecht University Tech Transfer Office. “We are thrilled that we have won this prize, as a recognition of our strong technology combined with the team efforts to outline a great plan forward”, says Jeroen de Ridder, co-founder of Cyclomics and group leader at the University Medical Center Utrecht.
Together, the team worked out a detailed technical and clinical development plan, as well as a market entry strategy based on Cyclomics’ proprietary DNA concatemerization technology for cancer liquid biopsy genetic testing. The plans were sharpened during several coachings sessions led by Health Holland coaches Chretien Herben and Math Kohnen. Five other early stage companies participated in the Health Holland: Excoris, PupilApp, Adem, MarkMyGenes and UPyTher.
Cyclomics technology enables highly-accurate sequencing of short DNA molecules, specifically short circulating tumor DNA, derived from liquid biopsies (blood, urine, saliva) of cancer patients. The technology leverages recent long-read single-molecule sequencing methods, particularly real-time and long-read sequencing developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Within the business plan designed during the Venture Challenge, a first genetic test is described, focusing on TP53 mutation detection in patients with head-and-neck cancer. Unlike other methods, Cyclomics TP53 test provides single-molecule mutation detection accuracy and a fast sequencing assay for mutation identification across the entire TP53 gene.
The Cyclomics TP53 test is now tested in a clinical study together with the University Medical Center Utrecht and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Cyclomics is a spin-off from the University Medical Center Utrecht.