Estonian healthtech startup Antegenes secures €2.3 million to advance personalised cancer prevention

Healthtech startup Antegenes are pioneering a personalised approach to cancer prevention. The innovative company has now raised a total of €2.3 million and is ready to bring its tests to new markets across Europe.

Cancer is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases facing society. It’s reported that 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. It’s a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs – and there are an estimated 200 different types. The sad reality is that all of us will be impacted at one point – whether directly or indirectly. 

One of the key ways to tackle cancer and have a chance of overcoming it is prevention. And this is what Antegenes want to advance – developing a personalised cancer prevention test. 

Personalised Prevention

Founded in 2018, 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 an 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 to four cancers: breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and skin melanoma.

Dr. Peeter Padrik, founder and CEO of Antegenes, explained: “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.”

The funding

The startup has just raised €2.3 million for its pioneering genetic tests. 

The Tartu-based startup received €1.6 million from investors in a Seed round which was led by Pipedrive co-founder Timo Rein, Pipedrive’s first investor Peep Vain and entrepreneurs Aare Kurist and Andreas Henn Otsmaa. Other Estonian investors and entrepreneurs participated in the round. The financing round was advised by investment banking company Keystone Advisers and law firm Sorainen.

On top of this, Antegenes received two grants to bring research-intensive innovation to international healthcare. The first is from the BRIGHT Project, financed by EIT Health, which supplied €500k to the healthtech team.  At the centre of the project is Antegenes and the breast cancer genetic risk test AnteBC. The aim is to implement the AnteBC test in breast cancer precision prevention in Estonia, Portugal and Sweden, with further developments in Europe more broadly. 

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.

The second grant came from the Norway Grants Green ICT programme, which supports business cooperation between Estonia and Norway. The €200k grant will be used to implement the AnteBC test 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. 

Dr. Peeter Padrik commented on the future plans with this funding: “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.”

Lead Investor Timo Rein added: “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.”