Founded in April 2012 by Prof. Pierre Dupont and Dr. Thibault Helleputte, privately held company DNAlytics(Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) has recently become a new spin-off of the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL). During the summer of 2012 a technology transfer from UCL to DNAlytics took place, soon followed by the official “UCL Spin-Off” label that was granted to them in September.
Consequently this Fall, DNAlytics received the support of the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation; created and personally financed by Roch Doliveux(CEO of UCB). The Fund’s initiative focuses on helping young entrepreneurs advance in the necessary steps towards development, by providing them with acquired experiences, networks and financial resources not only as a moral duty, but also as a contribution to social progress.
For DNAlytics, the importance of this Fund and its support has been twofold. First, acknowledgement of the quality of the start-up project and its value proposition by an opinion leader such as M. Doliveux has been a true asset in persuading and acquiring their first customers and partners; including convincing a jury of scientific experts and industrial veterans. Second, this support has been materialized by a 50.000€ loan.
Equally important to DNAlytics recent achievements, is its active participation in Biowin and in the activities of its sub-cluster Wal-Dx, both of which have provided them with the perfect setting for integrating into the Belgian biopharma ecosystem. This DNAlytics UCL Spin-off is a great example of how Biowin delivers tremendous support to young and small startups by providing opportunities for collaboration that are easily recognized.
Following the aforementioned accomplishments, the company is now prepared and eagerly looking forward to serving new customers, with many commercial activities already underway. In the company’s early stages of development, both Dupont and Helleputte were members of the Computing Science Department of the Institute for Information and Communication Technologies, Electricity and Applied Mathematics of the UCL, respectively acting as Professor and Post-doctoral researcher. Dupont is currently a Professor at UCL and will likely keep his position.
As a UCL spin-off their aim will be to provide innovative pharmaceutical and biotech tools for data analysis in order to improve the efficiency of clinical research approaches via personalized and predictive medicine. Helping IVD companies reach their true goal by providing decision support solutions and not merely biological measurements is their other aim. Their focus will be to provide its customers with expertise in data mining/machine learning, in the form of a service activity, so as to identify (multivariate) biomarkers and design predictive models based on this those markers. The typical predictive tasks that represent DNAlytics’ core business model are, diagnostic and prognostic; treatment response prediction (theranostic); and adverse events predictions. Their first customers to date comprise of pharma and biotech companies as well as clinical research centers, some of which are active in the field of In Vitro Diagnostics and located in both Belgium and in France.
Also worth mentioning, DNAlytics is currently in the process of developing another, more product-oriented, type of activity, making use of cutting-edge cloud computing technologies so as to deliver diagnostics directly to doctors through innovative methods. Another young Belgian company, worth keeping an eye on.
Prior to its creation as a Spin-Off project, DNAlytics received the following awards; Best Healthcare startup project at the Mind & Market Entrepreneurship Fair (Spring 2011); the Innovation Award from the Microsoft Innovation Center (December 2011); The transferred technology for the PhD Thesis of Thibault Helleputte received the IBM Belgium/F.R.S.-FNRS Computer Science Award (December 2011).
About the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund
Created in 2008, the Fund provides financial support for entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector with an aim to stimulate entrepreneurial initiative in the fields of health, well-being and living conditions, and support for patients and their families by recognizing that business start-ups, especially in the field of health and welfare, are a key force for the development and progress to overcome unmet medical needs and the ageing population.
In essence, the Fund supports concrete, practical initiatives that are likely to have multiple effects on employment and boost social, scientific or cultural innovation.
Chemin du Cyclotron, 6
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)10 47 24 15
Fax: +32 (0)10 45 03 45