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Estonian HealthTech startup Antegenes raises €2.3M to advance personalised cancer prevention

Estonian HealthTech startup Antegenes has raised €2.3M to bring its innovative genetic tests for personalised cancer prevention into wider use in healthcare.

The funding was received from investors, Enterprise Estonia and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Antegenes raised 1.6 million euros from investors in a seed round, which was led by Estonian fifth unicorn Pipedrive co-founder Timo Rein, Pipedrive’s first investor Peep Vain and entrepreneurs Aare Kurist and Andreas Henn Otsmaa. In addition, other Estonian investors and entrepreneurs participated in the round. The financing round was advised by investment banking company Keystone Advisers and law firm Sorainen.

Antegenes’ novel genetic tests assess patients’ personal cancer risks and include clinical recommendations for further personalised cancer prevention. Tests are based on innovative polygenic risk score technology which helps to clarify individual’s genetic predispositions to cancer. It, therefore, allows for more accurate prevention and early detection measures – crucial in the fight against cancer. The tests are currently used to determine the genetic risk of four cancers: breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and skin melanoma.

Personalised cancer prevention into wider use

“The investments make it possible to bring personalised cancer prevention into wider use in healthcare, including in new markets. In addition to Estonia and the United Kingdom, we have started operations in Sweden, Norway, Portugal, and Spain. In the coming months we will also enter the German market,” said Dr Peeter Padrik, founder and CEO of Antegenes. “To reduce cancer deaths, the genetic predisposition of cancer should be analysed for all people, and our vision is to implement this internationally with our partners. This is why the current investment round is very important for our growth and next steps. We are glad that investors share our vision of the future of healthcare.”

“Antegenes team has been working for a number of years to help people identify and prevent some of the most difficult chronic conditions all of us are potentially subject to during our lifetime. Of course, to realize such a vision one needs to overcome enormous challenges, and we want to support the team as it tackles them. It takes many years to build a great business – and similarly, create a lasting health change – and we believe the current milestone gives a boost to Antegenes team to take some exciting steps towards their future,” added lead investor Timo Rein.

Based on peer-reviewed international research

In addition, Antegenes has received two grants to bring research-intensive innovation to international healthcare. The first is the BRIGHT project, which is financed with 2.28 million euros by EIT Health, of which 500,000 euros is a grant to Antegenes. At the centre of the project is Antegenes and the breast cancer genetic risk test AnteBC. The goal of the project is to implement the AnteBC test in breast cancer precision prevention in Estonia, Portugal and Sweden, with further developments in Europe more broadly. By enabling precision prevention with targeted screening, BRIGHT promises to improve patient outcomes and significantly reduce breast cancer mortality. The partners of the project are the University of Tartu, IESE Business School, Tartu University Hospital, Estonian Health Insurance Fund, Uppsala University Hospital, North Lisbon University Hospital Centre, and GE Healthcare. EIT Health, part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, is a network of the best healthcare institutions in Europe, supporting the development of the most promising start-ups and business concepts.

The second grant is through the Norway Grants Green ICT programme, which supports business cooperation between Estonia and Norway. The goal of the 200,000-euro funding is to implement the breast cancer genetic risk test AnteBC as part of a breast cancer screening routine in Norway. The partners of the project are the University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospital, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, and Oslo Cancer Cluster. All partners have a strong scientific and clinical background and are acknowledged institutions in the field of oncology both in Norway and internationally.

Antegenes’ products are based on peer-reviewed international research and have been evaluated and validated using anonymous population data from the Estonian Biobank and UK Biobank.

Antegenes is an Estonian health technology company and medical laboratory founded in 2018 with a goal to develop and implement advanced genetic tests based on polygenic risk scores technology for precision prevention of major complex diseases. Antegenes is an official spin-off company of the University of Tartu.

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