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London Tech Week

Austrian Biotech picks €4.5M to power 3D tissue-based heart disease drug discovery

heartbeat.io

Austrian biotech company HeartBeat.bio AG has just closed a €4.5 million Pre-Series A round co-led by i&i Biotech Fund, Invest AG, aws Gründungsfonds II, and Tensor Ventures. 

This financing will facilitate the completion of a ready-to-use, fully integrated, automated, high-throughput Cardioid Drug Discovery Platform for proprietary and collaborative drug discovery programs in indications with a high medical need, such as drug-induced and genetic cardiomyopathies as well as myocardial infarction and fibrosis.

Cardiovascular diseases, which affect the heart and blood vessels, are the main reason why people pass away around the globe. But finding good treatments for these diseases is tough. That’s because many experimental drugs fail to work when tested on real patients, and we don’t have good models that can accurately predict how the human heart works. This makes it hard to develop new medicines for heart issues.

Founded in 2021, HeartBeat.bio’s Cardioid Drug Discovery Platform is changing the way new medicines are invented. Instead of using animals in the early stages of drug development, they focus on understanding human biology better. This approach covers everything from finding the right targets for treatment, modeling diseases, identifying promising candidates, and even testing them in a lab setting that mimics what happens in real clinical trials.

Vienna-based HeartBeat.bio partnered with Molecular Devices to make this happen. They combined their Cardioid technology, which is great for studying the heart, with Molecular Devices’ CellXpress.ai Automated Cell Culture System, a 3D biology innovation hub and a clever way to grow cells in a lab. They also use advanced imaging and smart computer programs to speed up the process.

With this new platform, HeartBeat.bio aims to create groundbreaking medicines more quickly, at a lower cost, and with a higher chance of success when they’re tested in real patients.

Michael Krebs, CEO of HeartBeat.bio said: “This financing round is an important validation of our Cardioid technology and will help to unlock the platform’s potential to disrupt the cardiac drug development paradigm. We are proud to have received funding from four complementary investors with the financial capacity to continue funding in our Series A venture round, which is planned for 2025.”

“We believe HeartBeat.bio’s technology has real potential to contribute to more effective drug development to treat cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, we also see an ethical dimension, as the deployment of this technology will lead to a reduction in the number of animal experiments,” commented Tomas Maršálek, CFO of i&i Biotech Fund.

“HeartBeat.bio’s leading proprietary Cardioid technology and revolutionary platform to scale the cultivation of cardiac organoids have huge potential to change the future of cardiovascular drug development,” said Philipp Schupfer, Board Member of Invest AG, and continued: “As the leading Private Equity Fund in Austria, we are very pleased to support such an innovative Austrian biotech startup which is quite exceptional in this segment. We are very keen to support HeartBeat.bio and its strong team in the future and we are already excited about the coming years.”

Including this investment, HeartBeat.bio has secured a total of € 10 million in private and public funds since company formation in 2021.

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