News15.04.2021

We invest a seven figures sum in Virtonomy

  • Virtonomy replaces clinical trial tests in regulatory approval processes for medical devices with software simulations (so-called in-silico testing)
  • American and European regulatory authorities push In-Silico Testing

Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (DvH Ventures) invests a seven-digit amount in the Munich-based startup Virtonomy as the lead investor in their seed round. Virtonomy (virtonomy.io) virtualizes R&D processes in medical device development as a software-as-a-service provider by digitally mapping key steps in the development and approval processes of medical devices and products. This makes studies faster and considerably less expensive.

The simulation software developed by Virtonomy generates essential parts of clinical evidence in (pre)-clinical studies by digital simulation techniques. The so-called in-silico testing method - which is also used in the pharmaceutical industry - will save time and money in approval processes by shortening development cycles. Ethical aspects also speak in favor of the method. Among other things, the method can be used to replace animal testing required in the approval process. So far, Virtonomy has been able to win well-known customers, especially in the field of cardiology.

Virtonomy was founded in December 2019 by Dr. Simon Sonntag (CEO) and Wen-Yang Chu (CTO). Dr. Sonntag is an internationally recognized expert in medical simulation as well as digital imaging and serial founder. Chu was a senior software engineer with expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence at Philips Healthcare prior to founding Virtonomy.

"Virtonomy's founding team is highly experienced and well-connected in the medical technology field. The software addresses and solves a relevant problem in conducting clinical trials in the global medical device market. We expect software-based simulations and in-silico testing methods to experience very strong growth over the next five years, which is already supported by international regulatory initiatives."

The in-silico testing method is being actively pushed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Both regulatory authorities expect that in the coming years, 30 to 40 percent of all testing required in the approval process will be done using software simulations. These simulations will be based on, among other things, virtual anatomical studies based on imaging techniques and (patho)physiological models.

"We are very pleased to have DvH Ventures as an investor. This gives us a long-term perspective and a strong partner for future financing rounds. With their long experience in business development and scaling of start-ups, we see DvH Ventures as an optimal partner to achieve our ambitious goals. In addition, we now have access to a broad media reach, which we will use to further strengthen our corporate branding."

The seed investment in Virtonomy is the first investment from DvH Ventures' Digital Health fund, which was launched in fall 2020 and has raised €60 million in a first closing to date. Other investors in the seed round include Initiative for Industrial Innovators, Bayern Kapital and Plug & Play Ventures.

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