Qbic Arkiv Fund, Foundation Majoie and SOFI invest 2.0 million EUR in UGent spin-off Biogazelle, a company that offers software and laboratory services for gene expression analysis. Biogazelle will primarily use the investment to further develop its research on therapeutic RNA targets for specific cancer types, and to expand its commercial activities.
Biogazelle (www.biogazelle.com) was founded in 2007 as Ghent University spin-off company, and focuses on gene expression analysis. To this purpose, several state-of-the-art laboratory methods such as RNA sequencing and digital PCR are being used, complemented with custom developed unique software tools, including qbase+.
Jan Hellemans, CEO and co-founder explains:
“After a successful start period with an annual growth rate of 70% during which Biogazelle’s qbase+ software was launched and a laboratory service was initiated, it was important to acquire additional funding to support the growth and internationalization of our commercial activities on the one hand, and to start our own research programs on the other hand.”
Jo Vandesompele, CSO and also co-founder, adds:
“RNA based therapeutics, in particular long non-coding RNAs, constitute a very promising area for the development of a new type of anti-cancer medicines. Because of our expertise and know-how, and because the traditional pharmaceutical industry is not yet very active in this domain, it offers exquisite opportunities for Biogazelle. We will prioritize top candidate RNA targets, followed by high-throughput testing in our lab using anti-sense silencing technology.”
“In our search for capital, we have deliberately selected partners that can support our growth strategy not only from a financial perspective, but also by means of their knowledge and experience. The story we are writing benefits from a broad sounding board.”
Biogazelle is a Ghent University spin-off founded in 2007 by Jo Vandesompele and Jan Hellemans from the Center for Medical Genetics. Since 2010, Biogazelle offers expert laboratory services in the area of gene expression analysis. To this purpose, several state-of-the-art laboratory methods such as RNA sequencing and digital PCR are being used, complemented with custom developed unique software tools, including qbase+.
Biogazelle continues to build on its core values of collaboration, courage, passion and open communication.
Qbic is an interuniversity seed capital fund that invests in spin-off companies from UGent, VUB en UA and their associated colleges and university hospitals. Qbic was founded in May 2012 with an initial capital of 30.5 million EUR and supports startup companies financially and with hands-on advice and support. Qbic ARKIV Fund is a common initiative with ARKimedes-Fund II.
More information on Qbic on www.qbic.be
With the SOFI-fund, Flanders makes budgets available to translate the ideas from promising researchers into new products, services and processes. SOFI (Spin-Off Financing Instrument) disposes over 20 million EUR risk capital for the start-up of new, innovative companies resulting from the success stories from strategic research centers in Flanders: iMinds (ICT and digital media), Imec (nanotechnology), VIB (biotechnology) and VITO (energy and sustainability). The first SOFI-fund financed 18 spin-off projects.
Because of the success, the Flemish government made additional risk capital available for innovation development at universities and colleges through SOFI II. Researchers are supported through capital or convertible loans up to 1 million EUR, but also through small starting loans up to 50 000 EUR. The Flemish investment company PMV coordinates the SOFI fund.
About the Foundation Fournier-Majoie
Our mission is to identify and help entrepreneurial researchers willing to proceed through the development of solid and useful solutions to the benefit of cancer patients. We currently apply venture philanthropy principles. We bring our financial support to projects dealing with biomarkers, diagnostic tools, medical devices, and technology platforms if the research provides a real answer to medical needs in oncology. www.fournier-majoie.org