Publication date: 26/09/2019
Epify BV is a recently established biotechnology company that translates sound epigenetic biomarker discoveries into clinical practice to help doctors improve the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. The company is the result of a collaboration between Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, the innovation ecosystem of the Limburg region in the Netherlands, and Novalis Biotech Incubation, a Belgian venture fund that aims to impact the rapidly evolving field of bioinformatics and life sciences.
With this first round of funding Epify will focus on developing a portfolio of biomarkers for the detection of colorectal cancer, the second most prevalent and deadly cancer in Europe and the US. The biomarkers have been discovered by the research group of professor Manon van Engeland at Maastricht University, founder of Epify. The company aims to make these biomarkers available for non-invasive diagnosis of CRC at the earliest possible stage, so patients can benefit from therapeutic interventions while they still have a very good prognosis.
“Colorectal cancer is still underdiagnosed at an early stage, and too many patients still suffer from poor outcomes due to the lack of high-performing, non-invasive tests. With these exciting innovations from professor van Engeland’s team we hope to provide better tools to clinicians to diagnose and treat their patients at the earliest stage possible.” – Epify’s CEO Joris Schuurmans commented.
Prof van Engeland stated “We know we can improve cancer survival by diagnosing disease at the earliest possible stage. Epigenetic alterations occur early in cancer and have long been considered promising biomarkers. I am excited about the opportunity to help develop sound scientific discoveries to clinically actionable tools. Epigenetic biomarkers are especially promising since epigenetic processes are known to be involved in the origin and progression of cancer.”
Jan Van Den Berghe, founder and director of Novalis added: “Epify presents yet another exciting investment case where we can help bring real clinical impact in a field that has seen an enormous disparity between the progress in the scientific field and implementation in the provision of healthcare. We are impressed by the potential of the biomarker discoveries within Epify and the track record of the team to bring these biomarkers into clinical practice.”
Epify develops epigenetic biomarkers which control gene activity and are implicated in a wide range of cancers, driving and influencing the course of the disease. Using these biomarkers, Epify aims to drive earlier detection and more accurate diagnosis, facilitating personalized oncology and a better prognosis for cancer patients. To this end Epify collaborates with academia, clinicians, professional investors and industrial molecular test providers to translate these biomarkers from sound discovery to clinical applications.
Novalis Biotech Incubation seeds biotechnology and life sciences related companies. Novalis develops innovative investment ideas at the early stage and supports their evolution. Our investment ideas focus on the interaction between bio-informatics and life sciences. Novalis strongly believes in applying innovative information technology to advance prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of disease.
About Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus
Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus supervises the entire process involved in the development of innovations related to health and life sciences (valorization) for scientists, researchers and students. Excellent facilities for imaging equipment contribute to the Campus position as the ideal location for building ecosystems involving imaging, regenerative medicine and innovative diagnostics. The Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus sets itself apart by offering the complete innovation chain: fundamental and applied research, equipment, the clinic and the cross-over possibilities with the other Brightlands campuses.