TargED receives NWO Take-Off 2

Congratulations to the team of our portfolio company TargED Biopharmaceuticals, as they have been awarded a Take-Off 2 grant from NWO (the Dutch National Science Organization)!

TargED closes seed investment for the development of a next-generation thrombolytic clot-busting drug

We’re thrilled to announce UHSF’s first investment, in TargED Biopharmaceuticals, together with Curie Capital and FIRST Fund. TargED is developing a next generation clot-busting drug with unique properties, initially focusing on acute ischemic stroke as its target, with several thrombotic diseases as potential spin-offs.
Please find the press release below:
TargED closes seed investment and partners with UMC Utrecht for the development of Microlyse – a next-generation thrombolytic clot-busting drug
November 24th, 2020
Utrecht, the Netherlands – TargED Biopharmaceuticals, a biotech spin-off of the University Medical Center Utrecht founded by Associate prof. Coen Maas, PhD, Steven de Maat, PhD, Marc van Moorsel and Kristof Vercruysse, raised EUR 1.35 million to develop a unique biotechnological drug for rapid degradation of blood clots that obstruct the vasculature. The funds include a seed investment from FIRST fund, Curie Capital and Utrecht Health Seed Fund as well as a public-private-partnership with UMC Utrecht, supported by additional funding from Health Holland.
Every year, approximately 1.3 million Europeans and 800.000 US citizens have a first stroke. Stroke is the second most common cause of death and a major cause of disability in developed economies. The majority of stroke events are caused by an occlusion of a blood vessel (thrombosis). TargED’s Microlyse, a new proprietary clot-busting compound, binds to a protein that is present in all forms of thrombosis, ranging from those that obstruct the largest vessels to the smallest vessels in the body (microvasculature). Due to its unique mechanism of action, Microlyse can stimulate a natural pathway that dissolves these blood clots. This therapeutic approach can be used to rapidly eliminate occlusive blood clots and has the potential to outperform current stroke care therapeutics. Next to acute ischemic stroke, thrombosis is seen in a wide range of cardiovascular conditions for which TargED expects that Microlyse is also applicable, such as the life-threatening disease TTP (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura).
Kristof Vercruysse, interim CEO of TargED said: “The first results of Microlyse based on the work of Coen Maas and Steven de Maat underscore the potential of Microlyse to break down blood clots in various diseases. We appreciate the support from our investors to realize next development steps, and I am honored to be part of a company that has the potential to positively impact millions of lives by enabling patient access to these lifesaving treatments.”
Bart van der Worp, MD PhD, Neurologist specialized in cerebrovascular diseases at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, stated: “Given its mode of action, Microlyse has the potential not only to improve the chance of recanalization of an occluded artery as compared to intravenous thrombolysis using currently available drugs, but also to reduce the risk of intracranial bleeding, the most feared complication of thrombolysis. Greater efficacy and an improved safety profile could lead to better outcomes for thousands of patients worldwide. To assess the potential benefit of Microlyse, further preclinical and clinical research is needed.”
Rianne Ellenbroek, PhD, Investment Manager of FIRST commented: “We are very excited to support the TargED team on their journey to further develop the strong scientific work Coen Maas and Steven de Maat have established with support of the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA). Microlyse is a therapeutic innovation that has a strong potential to lower the burden of cardiovascular diseases related to thrombotic events.”
Background statements
Fonds InvesteringsRijpe STarters (FIRST) is a pre-seed fund that finances pioneering scientists in The Netherlands active in the emerging fields of regenerative medicine and cardiovascular diseases. FIRST is founded by the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA) and Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders (RegMed XB) with support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) supports the FIRST fund as registered fund manager, making available its network, expertise, and facilities.
For more information, please visit www.biogenerationventures.com/first.
About Curie Capital
Curie Capital is a private life-science seed fund, based in Amsterdam, investing in early stage Dutch companies with skilled teams and promising medical products in healthcare, together with other VCs. Curie Capital is managed by the two partners, Mariette van der Velden and Han de Groot who both have extensive experience in investing, entrepreneurship and in creating value for companies. Curie Capital invests with the aim to make a positive impact on patients and healthcare.
For more information, please visit https://www.curiecapital.nl
About Utrecht Health Seed Fund
Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is an early stage life sciences & health investment fund based out of Utrecht, The Netherlands, focused on scalable technologies in the field of Life Sciences (therapeutics and diagnostics), Medical Devices, Digital Health, and Animal Health in the earliest stages of development. UHSF is established by Utrecht Holdings with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht.
For more information, please visit www.uhsf.nl.
Marc van Moorsel
E: marc.van.moorsel@targedbiopharmaceuticals.com

New Utrecht-based fund investing in Life Science & Health start-ups

The Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) officially launched at the end of March. Over the next three years, it’ll be looking to invest in promising start-ups based in the province of Utrecht and working in the field of Life Sciences & Health (LS&H).

Jaap de Bruin (UHSF Fund Manager) explains the reasons for setting up the UHSF, “Utrecht is a hotbed for medical start-ups. Yet there are many great ideas that simply aren’t being exploited due to a lack of early-stage funding. And this is hampering both technological and economic advancement. The UHSF will be acting as a catalyst in this respect with its €5.4 million investment fund.”


The fund aims to help around twenty promising companies accelerate and scale up their technologies in the field of Life Sciences (biotech, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics), Digital Health, Medical Devices, and Animal Health.

De Bruin paints the bigger picture, “The ultimate goal is to improve outcomes, and make healthcare more efficient and affordable. The province of Utrecht is home to a wide range of innovative public and private LS&H research organizations, healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, who together have created an ecosystem ripe for LS&H start-ups. However, we noticed that there is a gap in early-stage funding between research (public) and venture capital (private). It’s this gap we’re aiming to fill.”


The UHSF is partly financed by the Kansen voor West program [‘Opportunities for West’], which is in turn financed by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Kansen voor West is looking to boost the regional economy and innovation with its investment in the fund. Ronald van Raak (Kansen voor West Program Manager) explains its involvement, “I believe wholeheartedly that this will succeed. Utrecht is one of the last provinces to set up such a fund. This had to do with establishing a structure rather than anything to do with the region’s level of innovation. Utrecht is home to many researchers, and engagement is high.”

The UHSF aims to initially invest between €100K and €250K in the form of a convertible loan or equity, preferably in partnership with co-investors. Companies must be based in the province of Utrecht and in an early stage of development equivalent to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 2 and 7 to be eligible for UHSF funding.

TRL is a system used to define the stage of development for a specific product or service innovation. The higher the TRL, the closer the innovation is to proving its technological and functional viability, and the closer it is to be implemented on a large scale.


Expertise and positioning

The UHSF’s team members have been investing in early-stage LS&H businesses for many years now and will be applying their combined knowledge and leveraging their collective networks to benefit the new fund.

The UHSF works closely with the Utrecht Regional Development Corporation (ROM). ROM’s goal is to support local businesses and strengthen the region’s economic structure, with a particular focus on sustainable environments, human health, and digitalization. These goals are closely aligned with those of the UHSF.

Nathal van Rijn (ROM Coordinator) explains how he views the partnership, “Our partnership aims at identifying promising young businesses at an early stage so that we can then support them financially at a later stage when they need larger investments. Besides collaborating and coordinating, ROM business developers are also available to help UHSF-funded start-ups develop their strategies and plan their growth.

The fund has a lot of potential and provides an impetus and the much-needed investment to help start-ups develop their innovations at a stage when sufficient funding is generally unavailable.”

Van Raak (Kansen voor West) is of the same opinion, “I have a lot of faith in the UHSF team. They have a great deal of expertise between them and are ideally positioned in terms of their networks.”

Utrecht Health Seed Fund launced

On March 24, 2020 a new investment fund will be launched – the Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF). The goal is to invest a total of €5.4 million in promising start-ups located in the province of Utrecht that are developing scalable technologies in the field of Life Sciences & Health: Life Sciences (biotech, pharmaceuticals & diagnostics), Digital Health, Medical Devices & Animal Health. The Utrecht Holdings team manages the Utrecht Health Seed Fund.

We look forward to promising investment proposals!

Utrecht Health Seed Fund

The Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is a joint initiative established by Utrecht Holdings and the Economic Board Utrecht (EBU) with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union, University Medical Center Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht.