Chronomics secures seed funding, policymakers urged to put tech talent “at the top of the agenda”, and more EU news in brief

Also: Sandoz selects finalists for Healthcare Access Challenge, while applications for UK medtech business accelerator close on 20 January.
By Leontina Postelnicu
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Chronomics raises £1.12m in seed funding. Chronomics, a consumer epigenetic testing start-up founded in 2017, has secured £1.12m in seed funding, including investment from Anthemis and follow on funding from global venture capital firm SOSV. It has launched what it calls a “unique” epigenetic saliva testing kit that enables people to see how environmental and lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, and smoking affect the body at DNA level, and provides them with a personalised improvement plan based on the results.

SOSV initially invested in Chronomics through the RebelBio life sciences accelerator. The start-up also secured funding from leading angel investors, including Highland Europe senior partner Laurence Garrett, who was a board member of BlueGnome, a University of Cambridge spin-out that was acquired by Illumina in 2012. 

“We have always been interested in the DNA testing space, and Chronomics is the first company that we have discovered that radically departs from the ‘once in a lifetime’ test business model, to a subscription. It actually shows how your epigenome changes over time, why that matters and what to do about it,” said SOSV venture partner Bill Liao.

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Dutch Social Genomics start-up selected as finalist in Sandoz competition. Sandoz has unveiled the three finalists for the second edition of its Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk), selected from more than 400 entries, which will see entrepreneurs and innovators from the Netherlands, Uganda, and the US take part in a four-day accelerator to "refine" their ideas targeting the use of digital technology for healthcare, and then pitch them to a panel. The winner of the competition will receive seed funding and support from Sandoz to turn their idea into a scalable solution.

This includes Dutch start-up Social Genomics, which is building an "AI-based smart social network" to enable people with rare and undiagnosed diseases to share their experiences and offer access to insights about treatment options and scientific research "on a global scale".  

“Despite all the advances in modern medicine, universal access to healthcare is still arguably the largest unmet medical need. We believe a major step towards improving healthcare access globally is to identify and understand the specific needs of local communities. That’s what Sandoz HACk is all about,” said Richard Francis, Sandoz CEO and Division Head.

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More than 700 CEOs, founders and employees of Europe start-ups sign letter for policymakers. Over 700 CEOs, founders and employees of European start-ups have signed a letter urging policymakers across Europe to “put talent at the top of their agenda”.

“Giving employees a stake in the business they are working for is Silicon Valley’s tried and true method for accelerating growth. But in many European countries, current policies that govern employee ownership are ineffective and often punitive,” the letter, which was sent earlier this month, reads.

“If we don’t eliminate the talent bottleneck, we risk squandering the incredible momentum that European tech has built up in recent years. The next Google, Amazon or Netflix could well come from Europe, but for that to happen, reforming the rules of employee ownership is definitely not optional.”

Kry (Livi) CEO and founder Johannes Schilt, Alan CEO and founder Jean-Charles Samuelian, Natural Cycles CEO and founder Raoul Scherwitzl, and DocPlanner CFO Peter Bialo are some of the executives from the digital health world that have signed the letter.

The initiative was launched by venture capital firm Index Ventures and European entrepreneurs.

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Four days left to apply for UK medtech business accelerator. Applications for the Imperial College-led MedTech SuperConnector are open until 20 January, with the upcoming cohort set to focus on the development of new tech to improve mental health, wellbeing, and happiness.

The accelerator is aimed at early-career researchers and graduate students, and applicants from Imperial and the programme’s partner institutions will initially join a two-day hackathon to develop product ideas. Teams selected will then be part of a six month-project through which they will receive entrepreneurship training and mentoring support, while also having access to up to £60,000 per venture, equity free, and a £1,000 individual stipend per month.

More information about the project can be found here.

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