Lausanne, 09 April 2020
Annaida Technologies SA today closed an oversubscribed seed financing round led by HEMEX. Zürcher Kantonalbank, Fongit Seed Invest (FSI), Business Angels Switzerland (BAS), Privilège Ventures, Venture Kick and an angel investor also joined the round to support the start-up developing non-invasive embryo screening technology.
Every year more couples turn to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) when trying to conceive. The unreliability of IVF multiplies costs as more cycles and tests are required, adding to the emotional and physical burden of such procedures. A crucial aspect of the cycle is the choice of the best embryo for transfer, the one with the highest chance of becoming a healthy baby. Current methods, by examination under a microscope or by taking a biopsy of as much as 15 percent of the embryo’s cells, are too qualitative or too slow and invasive, resulting in successful pregnancies 35 percent of the time on average. Doctors need something better.
To improve the IVF process, a non-invasive yet quantitative embryo screening method is highly sought after. EPFL spin-off Annaida is developing the device to achieve it, harnessing a technology that is delicate enough to use on a human embryo. The startup’s device performs microscopic Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (“µNMR”) at a scale 10-fold better than existing technologies. Like an MRI scanner, shrunk to suit embryos about one-fifth of a millimeter in size the device will allow IVF clinics to perform their analysis on-site and within an hour. Fertility is a growing global market, already worth over CHF 20 billion, with patients already spending over 1 billion on screening embryos for viability. Europe’s clinics perform over 700,000 cycles every year, more than any other continent, making it the ideal place to start. Beyond IVF, Annaida’s device can enable other valuable applications in biochemical research and pharmacology. This is only the beginning.
Annaida Technologies SA was incorporated in June 2019 with a first investment by HEMEX and an angel investor. The funds allowed for substantial advancements to the device and the establishment of essential collaborations for future progress. The goal of the current, milestone-based CHF 1M seed round is to validate the device’s safety and to run preclinical trials to define biomarkers for embryo viability.
“In this round we are adding a diverse set of investors which provide a unique mix of relevant expertise, a valuable network, ability to further support Annaida in the future and the stability needed to fully realize our potential. We are fortunate to have investors that share our vision and see beyond the uncertainties of today’s market” said CEO Gora Conley.
“With this support we are now able to push forward our development towards a technology that will have unparalleled performance, high resolving power, and that is safe for use on something as delicate as a human embryo. Annaida will bring µNMR, and the know-how we are developing, to areas where the current solutions simply don’t offer enough” said CTO Marco Grisi.
ABOUT ZÜRCHER KANTONALBANK
Zürcher Kantonalbank is a leading universal bank in the Zurich economic area with Swiss roots and international reach. It is an independent, incorporated public-law institution of the Canton of Zurich and has received top ratings from the rating agencies Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch (AAA/Aaa). With more than 5,000 employees, Zürcher Kantonalbank offers its clients a comprehensive range of products and services. The bank’s core activities include financing businesses, asset and wealth management, trading, capital market transactions, deposits, payment transactions and the card business. Zürcher Kantonalbank provides clients and distribution partners with a comprehensive range of investment and retirement provision products and services.
HEMEX AG is a privately-owned Swiss investment and consulting company headquartered close to the Basel global life sciences hub, with its main focus to bring innovative drugs, medical devices and in vitro diagnostics to the market. HEMEX specializes in supporting early-stage start-ups, offering tailored solutions to accelerate the project into a successful and sustainable business. Additionally, HEMEX helps start-ups in their efforts to find non-dilutive and dilutive funding. More at https://hemex.eu/
ABOUT FONGIT SEED INVEST (FSI)
Fongit Seed Invest (FSI) is a Geneva based Seed-Money Fund investing in young technology companies since more than 20 years. It provides smart seed capital and it actively assists entrepreneurs to foster, expand and strengthen their venture by leveraging its strong network of partners and experts. FSI focuses in ventures having disruptive, proprietary and patented enabling technologies and solely invests in fully committed teams capable of delivering rapidly unique and innovative products and technology-based solutions.
ABOUT PRIVILEGE VENTURES
Privilège Ventures invests mainly in Swiss and European seed level companies – often we are the first professional investor on the cap table. We have more than 20 companies in the combined portfolio of Fund I and II. We believe in deeptech driven by compelling entrepreneurs allowing the creation of value for our investors over time.
ABOUT BUSINESS ANGELS SWITZERLAND
BAS (Business Angels Switzerland), founded in 1997 and the oldest business angels club in the country, supports startup companies through capital financing. BAS members invest their own time and money and have financed more than 150 startups within the framework of the club with a track record of more than 9 Exits. Alone in 2019 over CHF 2,3m were invested in 17 startups, 1st round or follow on rounds. Members also share expertise, know-how and personal contacts with the companies they invest in.
ABOUT VENTURE KICK
Venture Kick kicks spin-off projects out of Swiss university labs by providing up to CHF 150,000 in seed-money, a global network to investors and hands-on coaching. Venture Kick is organized as a fully private and philanthropic foundation with the goal of fostering job creation, and social and economic prosperity in Switzerland. Since 2007, Venture Kick has invested CHF 30 million in 700 projects, which today represent 519 companies and more than 7,000 jobs. Startups supported by Venture Kick have raised more than CHF 3.5 billion in investments to date. www.venturekick.ch/portfolio
For further information please contact:
Annaida Technologies SA
Dr. Gora Conley, CEO
+41 78 631 33 53