Paris, France, March 12, 2019 – Metafora Biosystems, a company developing diagnostic tests to detect abnormalities in cellular energetics, today announces that it will receive a €1M ($1.14M) grant from Bpifrance as part of the French government’s Innovation Challenge initiative.
This grant will fund the launch of the CellMETA-analyzer, a completely automated platform that can detect any type of cancer cell and has great potential for large-scale manufacturing. Combining the best of biological science with mathematical modelling, the platform could help in the fight against cancer. Metafora initially plans to develop the platform for liver and pancreatic cancers, two cancer types for which there is currently no early diagnostic test, followed by others such as colon cancer.
Metafora is one of the 65 awardees selected in the second round of the publicly-funded Innovation Challenge, which forms part of the French government’s investment plan, operated by ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), Bpifrance and FranceAgriMer. The Challenge supports the innovative projects of start-ups and SMEs by helping to accelerate the growth of those businesses which aspire to become leaders in their sector and expand their global reach. The Challenge selects innovation projects that show potential to be particularly beneficial to the French economy. It offers the co-financing of selected projects in research, development and innovation with total costs of between €600K and €5M ($681K – $5.7M). Winners will receive the awards at a ceremony this summer.
“We are delighted to be one of the eight health sector winners of the Innovation Challenge and would like to express our heartfelt thanks to both the General Secretariat for Investment and Bpifrance for the trust they have placed in us. We are also grateful to the Medicen Paris Region competitiveness cluster for its support and expertise during this project,” said Vincent Petit, CEO of Metafora. “We are very proud to have been selected. Our company is the only industrial player in the world that is able to characterize the nutritional needs of cells for fuelling their energetic metabolism, which is deregulated in a number of diseases, including cancer. Our unique platform enabling individual detection and identification of cellular energetics for the effective early-stage diagnosis of diseases is essential in the fight against cancer.”
Clémentine Lamarre, health sector manager at Bpifrance adds: “We are delighted to support Metafora even further. This support will validate and strengthen the robustness of its unique and innovative platform and demonstrate its interest in the field of oncology diagnostics.”
About Metafora Biosystems
Metafora develops a platform for the discovery, development and distribution of diagnostic tests that detect abnormalities in cellular energetics.
Using RBDs (Receptor Binding Domains), patented reagents that quantify cell nutrient transporters, coupled with powerful algorithms, the platform is able to detect abnormal nutrient consumption that may be the cause of illnesses such as neuro-metabolic diseases, cancer or inflammatory disorders.
Its first product, awarded CE marking in 2017, is a specific, rapid and reliable test to help diagnose De Vivo disease (also known as GLUT1 deficiency syndrome), a seldom diagnosed rare disease. Metafora obtained Forfait Innovation funding for this test in 2018. It launched a clinical study in over 40 centers in France, the results of which are expected in 2021. It received €3.2M ($3.6M) for this study through the European Commission’s SME Instrument H2020 funding program.
Founded in 2011, Metafora is led by an experienced team and holds seven patent families. The company, based in Paris and Evry, has already raised €4 million ($4.7M) from business angels. It has fifteen employees. The company is supported by Medicen Paris Region, a competitiveness cluster for innovative health technologies.