Simsen Diagnostics Awarded Vinnova Grant for FIRM Liquid Biopsy Project

Gothenburg 2024-04-23 – Simsen Diagnostics announces having received a Vinnova grant through the strategic innovation program Swelife to strengthen Life Science in Sweden and improve public health. 

The project, titled FIRM Liquid Biopsy (Future Immunotherapy Response Monitoring using Liquid Biopsy), aims to enhance the health outcomes and survival rates of lung cancer patients by monitoring immunotherapy response. The project is a collaboration between three different parties: VGR/Sahlgrenska University Hospital, RISE and Simsen Diagnostics.  

A significant portion of lung cancer patients undergo immunotherapy as part of their treatment regimen, alongside surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Currently, the assessment of treatment response and efficacy relies solely on imaging. However, this method faces challenges in accurately determining tumor shrinkage and lacks sensitivity when the tumor burden is minimal. Moreover, these expensive imaging procedures are typically performed at three-month intervals, potentially delaying adjustments to ineffective treatments.  

The burden of ineffective treatments weighs heavily on patients, healthcare institutions, and society as a whole, posing a challenge that the FIRM liquid biopsy project is presently striving to tackle. 

Simsen Diagnostics’ solution, Simsen® Personal, is an exceptionally sensitive method capable of detecting minimal quantities of tumor DNA from just simple blood samples. This personalized solution is tailored to each patient’s unique DNA profile, facilitating the customization of therapy based on individual responses. 

Measuring ctDNA in blood samples, easily obtainable at local healthcare centers rather than relying solely on imagining at larger hospitals and utilizing patient-specific tumor DNA profile to monitor treatment response, enables cost-effective personalized treatment that results in improved care for lung cancer patients.  

In this project, VGR/Sahlgrenska University Hospital serves as the end user and requirement setter, providing invaluable clinical expertise in genetics and clinical needs. Notable contributions come from prominent researchers Dr. Anna Rohlin and Dr. Sukanya Raghavan. Meanwhile, RISE plays a crucial role, offering extensive knowledge in medical technology and diagnostic products, and taking the lead in project management. Driving this project forward are Docent Joakim Håkansson and Dr. Yalda Bogestål from RISE. 

“We are excited to announce the reception of this grant alongside our amazing partners. This collaboration brings us one step closer to implementing our solution in clinical settings, ultimately improving patient care and potentially saving lives.” says Stefan Filges at Simsen Diagnostics.  

About Swelife 

Swelife is a strategic innovation programme, funded by the Swedish Government via the Swedish innovation agency, Vinnova, and by the programme’s partners. Swelife supports collaboration within academia, industry and healthcare, with the goal to strengthen Life Science in Sweden and to improve public health. 

About Region Västra Götaland & Sahlgrenska University Hospital 

Region Västra Götaland oversees healthcare and medical services in the area. Sahlgrenska University Hospital serves as the primary county hospital for Gothenburg residents and plays a vital role in driving healthcare and medical advancements within the region. Sahlgrenska aims to improve healthcare through the application of strong innovation and clinical research in close and broad cooperation with academia, industry and patients. 

About RISE 

RISE is Sweden’s research institute and innovation partner. Through international collaboration with industry, academia and the public sector, it ensures business competitiveness and contributes to a sustainable society. RISE has high expertise in medical technology and diagnostic products for healthcare and is a key partner for many companies in ensuring the quality of their products before clinical implementation. 

About Simsen Diagnostics   

Simsen Diagnostics is a biotech startup focusing on transforming cancer monitoring. Specializing in designing patient-specific tests, Simsen® Personal, the flagship solution, is based on ultrasensitive technology capable of detecting cancer years before standard-of-care tools. Founded in 2020 as a research spin-out from Sahlgrenska Academy, Simsen Diagnostics has experienced steady growth, gaining recognition from the pharmaceutical industry. Situated in BioVentureHub at AstraZeneca Gothenburg, the company is at the forefront of providing innovative solutions in cancer monitoring. 

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Pontus Rehn

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Pontus Rehn has over 20 years of experience in commercial leadership roles in the medical device and IVD industries, including global and regional positions like VP Market Development, Chief Commercial Officer, and Director of Commercial Strategy. 

Lina Said

Laboratory and Quality Manager

Lina Said, a licensed Biomedical Scientist, brings 18 years of experience from Sahlgrenska University Hospital to her role as the Lab and Quality Manager at Simsen Diagnostics. Her primary focus is ensuring quality assurance and fostering an optimal work environment for the lab. 

My Vu

Lead Laboratory Technician

My Vu is currently doing a master’s degree in biotechnology and demonstrates expertise in laboratory procedures. Her previous experience includes analyzing COVID samples and conducting her bachelor’s thesis at Fraunhofer. My is analyzing all the samples that comes to the lab.  

Stefan Filges

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Stefan Filges, an accomplished bioinformatician with a Ph.D. in ultrasensitive sequencing, became part of Simsen Diagnostics in 2022. He played a crucial role as a co-author in the original publication of SiMSen-Seq, which was published in Nature Protocols. 

Camilla Hietanen

Head of Sales and Marketing

Camilla Hietanen holds an M.Sc. in Business Development from the Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship. Her academic background encompasses studies in Sports & Nutrition, and she brings prior experience from various Start-ups. Within Simsen Diagnostics, her primary focus lies in Sales and Marketing. 

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