Due to the difficulty of identifying cancer cells quickly without extensive biopsy processing, operations must be repeated in up to one-third of all cancer cases today.
Refined Laser Systems, based in Münster, addresses a very relevant problem in cancer diagnostics that enables faster diagnosis. Just recently, the company raised €2.7 million in seed funding.
The funding round was led by Germany seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (that invested in Penta founder Lav Odorovic’s fintech Relio and Prewave), and APEX Ventures along with participation from NRW.Bank, Onsight Ventures and Papst Venture Capital. Other investors of the round include private investor Tom Merk, former EVP of leading laser manufacturer Coherent, Hans-Michael Hauser, former partner BCG, and laser and biophotonics expert and consultant Dr Werner Falkenstein, founder and CEO of former StarMedTec GmbH.
As a result of the funding, Refined Laser Systems will develop an intraoperative microscope prototype that can detect tumour margins directly in the surgery room and can be diagnosed within minutes by a remote pathologist and artificial intelligence.
Dr Max Brinkmann, Co-Founder of Refined Laser Systems, said: “We are delighted to raise the capital to build tools that will allow almost instant insights into tissue and cell systems and reduce stress for patients and the costs of cancer therapy.”
Dr Jan Engels, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds, commented, “Refined’s microscopy procedure will provide much-needed relief by simplifying and improving the workflow. In addition, the acquisition of the complete molecular fingerprint using Raman microscopy in combination with artificial intelligence as a diagnostic aid offers enormous potential for patient-specific selection and use of new cancer therapies.”
Dr Gordon Euller, Partner at APEX Ventures Medical Fund, commented, “We were convinced by the proven track record of Refined Laser System’s technology in the scientific community, coupled with the long-term vision of the founders. Having the ability to digitally process image tissue structures during surgery will allow surgeons and pathologists to establish diagnoses without delay. We expect to see significant improvement in patient well-being and care.”
Daniel Papst, Co-owner and managing director at Papst Venture Capital GmbH, added, “Our investment focus on patented technology found a perfect match in Refined Laser Systems’ IP portfolio. We are excited to help excel this new technology to a level where it will make a significant difference in patients’ wellbeing facing cancer therapy and reducing pressure on the health system.”
Quickly diagnoses cancer
During their studies at the Institute of Applied Physics, Max Brinkmann and Tim Hellwig met and have been working together ever since. As a spin-off from University of Münster, Refined Laser Systems was established in 2019 by Christoph Seidenstücker and the team for a German ministry of economy-funded technology transfer project.
The company employs 10 people ranging in age from 28 to 62. Its team consists of 10% females and 10% Middle Eastern descendants, and their core expertise is the development of laser and microscopy technology. In addition to pioneering laser systems for SRS microscopy and quantum technology, the company is committed to applying its technology to the clinic.