DKFZ spin-off Heidelberg Epignostix raises €4.3m seed funding

DKFZ spin-off Epignostix raises €4.3m seed round to commercialize diagnostic tumor classifier.

Press release: Heidelberg, July 2, 2024

Heidelberg Epignostix GmbH, a deeptech start-up committed to precision cancer diagnostics today announces €4.3M in seed funding. This investment will enable Heidelberg Epignostix to make a substantial leap forward in driving market development for its flagship indication for brain tumor classification.

CARMA FUND I Capital GmbH & Co KG led the round with participation from High-Tech Gründerfonds, LBBW Venture Capital GmbH and Start-up BW Seed Fonds. Heidelberg Epignostix’ technology is underpinned by more than ten years of intensive research originally at the Hopp Children’s Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and Heidelberg University. Combining epigenetics with artificial intelligence-powered bioinformatics, their software algorithms enable precise cancer classification of subtypes that are otherwise difficult or impossible to distinguish. The technology is based on DNA methylation which is a pattern of chemical tags on tumor DNA functioning as genomic fingerprints. The algorithm has been applied to more than 150,000 patient samples to date.

The company is addressing brain tumor classification due to the high need for improved diagnostic accuracy. Methylation-based tumor classification is now recommended by WHO guidelines as a precise classification tool which enables enhanced clinical care for cancer patients.

“CARMA FUND I Capital is excited to support this highly promising approach in precision cancer diagnostics” said Martin Raditsch, managing partner of CARMA. Katharina Severin, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds adds: “We very much look forward to working with the outstanding Epignostix team to create a transformative portfolio for cancer diagnostics in brain tumors and beyond.”

“Heidelberg Epignostix is absolutely thrilled to have secured financial backing from a group who have profound expertise in healthcare and the oncology market,” said David Jones from KiTZ and DKFZ, co-founder and general manager at Heidelberg Epignostix. “We have a very robust technology, and we expect to bring the Heidelberg Brain Tumor Classifier as an approved diagnostic test to the market in 2025.” Felix Sahm, co-founder and Head of Molecular Neuropathology at the Heidelberg University Hospital adds: “We are focusing on brain tumors first, where a sizeable patient population and high relevance in childhood cancer have already led to rapid adoption but will expand into other tumor indications quickly.”

About Heidelberg Epignostix GmbH:

Heidelberg Epignostix is a healthcare company whose mission is to transform cancer diagnostics through data science. The company has developed novel AI-based bioinformatics algorithms with utility in cancer classification for improved accuracy in cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapy management. The lead product, the Heidelberg Brain Tumor Classifier, is currently available as a research-use-only resource. Heidelberg Epignostix is located in Heidelberg, Germany. For more information visit

For further inquiries: Areeba Patel, Head of New Technologies Heidelberg Epignostix GmbH Köpfelweg 58 69118 Heidelberg Germany Email:

About CARMA FUND I Capital GmbH & Co.KG:

CARMA FUND I is an early-stage investment fund for advancing Life Science and Healthcare technologies. The fund started off with a First Closing in June 2022 and has €50M under management. The Fund, based in Munich and Frankfurt am Main is uniquely suited for young companies and projects from the Life Science and medical space due to an extra-long term, flexible investment modes and its close relationships with leading technology transfer offices and industry partners.

For further inquiries: Dr. Martin Raditsch, Managing Director CARMA FUND I Capital GmbH & Co.KG Herzogstr. 64 80803 Munich Germany Email:

About High-Tech Gründerfonds:

The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances tech start-ups with growth potential and has supported more than 750 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of its fourth fund, HTGF now has about 1.4 billion euros under management. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts support young companies with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected about 6 billion euros of capital into the HTGF portfolio via more than 2,000 follow-on financing rounds. In addition, HTGF has already successfully sold shares in more than 180 companies. Fund investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital and 45 companies from a wide range of industries.

For further inquiries: Dr. Katharina Severin, Investment Manager High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH Schlegelstr. 2 53113 Bonn Germany Email:

About LBBW Venture Capital GmbH:

LBBW VC is the independent venture capital subsidiary of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW). Since 1998 it is investing in early-stage disruptive deep tech, IT and life science companies in the DACH region with a passion for entrepreneurs and their ideas. The tech team is interested in mainly software driven approaches in various industrial sectors. In the life sciences LBBW VC invests in drug development, diagnostics, MedTech and Healthcare IT. Investing on behalf of LBBW VC allows a long-term view which is especially helpful when investing in early innovations.

For further inquiries: Dr. Caroline Lehmann, Investment Manager LBBW Venture Capital GmbH Königstr. 10C 70173 Stuttgart Germany Email:

About MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg:

MBG Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg GmbH is one of the largest providers of venture capital in Germany. It invests in the public interest and is a partner to SMEs. It currently provides around 660 small and medium-sized companies in Baden-Württemberg with over 209 million euros in equity capital. As a fund manager, it manages several venture capital funds for institutional investors such as banks, insurance companies, foundations and the public sector, such as the Start-up BW Seed Fonds active here.

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