i&i Biotech Fund will invest up to EUR 340 000 into Czech startup Sophomer s.r.o. The funding will support further technology development
15 March 2023
The originators of Sophomer in their chemical laboratory.
Prague, 15 March 2023 – Czech academic startup Sophomer s.r.o. has announced an investment of up to EUR 340 000 from i&i Biotech Fund. The funding will be used for further technology development, team expansion and new laboratory space. Sophomer s.r.o. was established at the end of 2022 as a result of a collaboration between the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry CAS, the company Elisa Development, and the bio-innovation center i&i Prague. The establishment of Sophomer represents another unique example of successful technology transfer.
Sophomer s.r.o. specializes in the development and production of synthetic polymers for in vitro diagnostics. The first product to be launched in the upcoming months is SophoMer F10. This polymer could fully replace the widely used bovine serum albumin (BSA) in common immunological assays. BSA blocks unwanted signals during testing, which in turn increases the measurement accuracy.
“Because the production of our fully synthetic polymer requires no animal-derived constituents, we eliminated the problem of pathogen occurrence and the associated need to obtain veterinary certificates. It also means we’re able to produce individual lots in a standardized quality, which typically presents a significant challenge otherwise. Lastly, SophoMer F10 is at least five times more efficient than BSA.”
CEO of Sophomer, s.r.o.
Martin Burkhard, managing director of Sophomer s.r.o., describes the key advantages of the new polymer: “Because the production of our fully synthetic polymer requires no animal-derived constituents, we eliminated the problem of pathogen occurrence and the associated need to obtain veterinary certificates. It also means we’re able to produce individual lots in a standardized quality, which typically presents a significant challenge otherwise. Lastly, SophoMer F10 is at least five times more efficient than BSA.”
The company is currently collaborating with a leading European manufacturer on the development of diagnostic kits utilizing SophoMer F10 as the primary component. In addition, internal tests carried out by several important in vitro diagnostics manufacturers are nearing completion. If everything turns out well, nothing should prevent the world's largest manufacturers from using SophoMer F10 polymer in their diagnostic kits. Finally, Sophomer s.r.o. has also recently begun developing three additional polymers.
“We were particularly interested in this young Czech startup because of its dynamism. In record time its team managed to sign a licensing agreement, start operations, secure their first contract, and launch the first product."
CFO of i&i Biotech Fund
Tomáš Maršálek, partner at i&i Biotech Fund further explains the reasons for the investment. “We were particularly interested in this young Czech startup because of its dynamism. In record time its team managed to sign a licensing agreement, start operations, secure the first contract, and launch the first product. We have every faith in their science and in their ability to attract industry partners. We’re pleased to be a part of this promising project from square one,” says Tomáš Maršálek.
“Technology transfer is a long haul, but it’s an essential part of conveying research results into practice. Without it, many outstanding scientific discoveries would fall to succeed."
CEO of i&i Prague
The ability to attract its first investor represents an important milestone in the history of the company, the creation of which is a model example of effective technology transfer. “Technology transfer is a long haul, but it’s an essential part of conveying research results into practice. Without it, many outstanding scientific discoveries would fall to succeed. Our task in this journey is to be a useful intermediary, helping cutting-edge technologies find applications on the market,” explains Jiří Moos from i&i Prague, which has been with the project since its inception.
Martin Kovalčík, firstname.lastname@example.org, +420 777 472 863
SophoMer F10 development in an academic institution:
About Sophomer s.r.o.
Sophomer s.r.o. is an academic startup founded by a group of people who come from both industry and academia. Their vision is to bring together two seemingly unrelated fields: immunochemistry and polymer chemistry to help anyone who uses immunoassays in their work. One of the startup's first and widely applicable products is SophoMer F10, a polymer that can replace the widely used bovine serum albumin, currently a component without which the development of immunological analytics is seemingly unimaginable.
Read more here: www.sophomer.com.
About i&i Biotech Fund (i&i Bio)
i&i Bio is a Luxembourg-based venture capital firm that invests in innovative European Life Sciences companies focused on drug discoveries, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. The Fund was created thanks to the cooperation of the biotech incubator i&i Prague and the European Investment Fund (see below). With over €47M under management, i&i Bio plans to invest in about 20 early-stage companies. i&i Bio is led by an experienced team of professionals with backgrounds in private equity, healthcare and venture capital supporting entrepreneurs on their journey to global success. Thanks to close cooperation with the fund’s main sponsor, the biotech academic incubator i&i Prague, i&i Bio is supporting and advancing transformative Central European technology companies.
About the European Investment Fund (EIF)
The Fund is supported by an investment from the EIF, with the support of:
lnnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of the EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing; and
the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF), implemented by the EIF with the financial support of the Participating Member States. The objective of the EGF is to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring that companies in the Participating Member States have sufficient short-term liquidity available to weather the crisis and are able to continue their growth and development in the medium to long-term.
About i&i Prague
i&i Prague focuses on the transfer of new technologies into practice. It was established at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS and is dedicated to innovations in the field of drug development, diagnostics and medical devices originating from academic institutions. It supports the creation of spin-off companies and the sale of licenses. So far, the company has participated in the creation of or otherwise supported 15 spin-off companies from 5 countries, has an equity stake in 9 of them and has invested over 70 million crowns. Overall, the spin-offs in i&i Prague's portfolio have raised more than CZK 1.8 billion from other investors. In 2021, i&i Prague established the i&i Bio Investment Fund in cooperation with the European Investment Fund.
For more information visit www.iniprague.com.