The team at the biotech startup Epiqmax met in the Histone Modifications group at the Biomedical Center Munich. With their knowledge and extensive experience in the fields of mass spectrometry and epigenetic modifications, their aim is to make a contribution to the development of epigenetic drugs.
1. Who are you and what do you do? Please briefly introduce yourselves and your service!
Here at Epiqmax, we measure what are known as epigenetic modifications. These modifications occur in the nucleus of the cells in our body and can be altered by environmental influences. These modifications also influence numerous diseases, which means we are able to establish a direct correlation between existing lifestyle factors and possible diseases. We currently offer our service to the pharmaceutical industry and research labs to manufacture improved and personalized drugs. Over the long term, we would like to refine our expertise to create a diagnostic test for use in hospitals.
We founders all met at LMU. Victor (bioinformatician, 32) and Moritz (biochemist, 30) both completed their doctorates with Axel (biologist, 51) at the faculty of Molecular Biology. That was where the strong desire arose to apply the benefits provided by epigenetics to achieve medical progress in the field of personalized medicine.
Analyzing epigenetic modifications
2. But that’s nothing out of the box!
For the most part, antibodies are used to analyze epigenetic modifications. However, in the field of epigenetics, they pose many problems and lead to equivocal results.
We solve those problems by using what is known as a mass spectrometer for analysis. This device measures modifications with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. That even allows us to scale our procedure and to continue to develop the entire process flow for clinical application.
3. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
As nice and convenient as a mass spectrometer might be, the price for this type of device is in the mid-six figure range. That’s why we’re diligently looking for investors who understand the potential of our idea and are willing to support us.
4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
We are more than happy now six months after our founding. We’re already working with clients. Early communication with these clients has particularly shown us where adjustments need to be made to really enter the market.
Oh yeah, and then there are the figures: We’re able to measure more than sixty modifications in less than ten minutes while simultaneously playing three quick rounds of foosball. I’d like to see someone else do that.
Munich: An ideal location for biotech companies
5. What does Munich mean to you?
As a founding team made up of a “native,” a national “newcomer” and even an international “newcomer,” we feel Munich is the ideal location for our team. In particular on Campus Martinsried, we’re in close contact with many biotech companies and other biotech startups. As a result, we’re getting a great deal of support and are just excited about the steps to be taken next!
6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
Neither of the two. We decided to put on “reality” glasses and to develop our company step by step. On one hand, that means we aren’t planning to fly to the moon (like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk), but on the other hand, we also don’t want to just vanish into thin air.
7. FC Bayern Munich or TSV 1860 Munich?
That is a very delicate matter. To maintain peace within the team, we can only say so much: Our company colors were painstakingly selected to express utmost soccer neutrality to avoid representing any of the camps within the team…