Seven million euros for iThera
The Munich-based medical technology start-up iThera Medical GmbH raised 7 million euros in mid-September. The capital will be used chiefly to finance clinical studies.
In these clinical studies, the MSOT technology developed by iThera is to be used for the diagnosis of breast cancer and Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. The Munich-based company aims to detect tumours and inflammation simply, precisely and without invasive surgery. The start-up is active in the field of optoacoustic imaging for medical diagnostics and has developed the laser light-based MSOT technology (Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography). In order to open up the clinical market and further develop the technology, the spin-off of Helmholtz Zentrum München closed a EUR 7 million financing round in mid-September.
The MSOT technology uses the so-called photoacoustic effect - the conversion of light energy into sound waves - to characterize and differentiate different tissue types in the body and convert them into 3D images. In contrast to conventional imaging methods, concentrations and spatial distributions of certain biological marker molecules such as haemoglobin, melanin, water or lipids can be measured and displayed. Until now, such a diagnosis has often only been possible through invasive procedures such as endoscopies or biopsies. "iThera is setting a milestone in medical diagnostics with its technology. Light-based technology can help doctors make important diagnoses easier and more precise, thus saving patients from stressful procedures and significant costs for healthcare systems," explains Dr. Ulrich Eisele, Managing Director of Fluxunit. OSRAM has long been active in the field of lighting for medical applications such as microscopy and endoscopy.
The MSOT inventors and co-founders of iThera are renowned biomedical scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München: Leibniz Prize winner Vasilis Ntziachristos, 48, heads the Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging and Daniel Razansky, born in 1974, heads the laboratory for experimental biological imaging. From 2011 to 2013, the start-up was supported by the GO-Bio Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with millions of euros in funding. In 2014, iThera was awarded the German Innovation Prize.