Predica Diagnostics enables early cancer detection with mRNA molecules

Starting in 2019, CEO Marco de Boer has been busy establishing Predica Diagnostics. The company is convinced that it’s possible to detect cancer in an early stage, by using a new kind of technology: ciRNAseq, targeted sequencing of mRNA molecules that denote the presence of cancer in tissues. “It’s time to take the next step and validate our technology.” 

Marco has a background in the field of molecular biology and expanded his business acumen with an MBA from the Nyenrode University. “Since my graduation, I’ve worked for all kinds of companies. But I’ve always wanted to start my own company, in my ambition to contribute to improving health. Fortunately, I met William Leenders, the intellectual father of our technology. He was looking for someone who could expand on his technology, and had sufficient experience in business.”

More than basic research

William developed his technique of detecting mRNA molecules at Radboud University. “But if you want to start using a technique to actually help patients, it has to go through a whole process. A university is mainly concerned with basic research, and we’re now in the process of converting that research into something tangible, to help people. Obviously this process comes at a considerable price.”

With the help of financial support from the province of Gelderland (RedMedTech Discovery Fund), Leenders and De Boer were able to start Predica Diagnostics. Marco explains that the next step requires additional investors. “Our 2022 goal is to validate our technology on the basis of an investment in our company.” However, looking for investors is an art in and of itself — but fortunately, Marco doesn’t have to go through the process alone. “I’m from Noord-Holland and didn’t have a network in Gelderland. So that’s where Briskr came in.”

“Briskr introduced us to the Business Angel Network meeting, for example. Here, we were able to pitch our proposition to Angels from the Nijmegen area. This was a valuable experience, as we have increased our network and we are in discussion with potential investors.”

2022 is the year of growth

Through Briskr, Marco also came into contact with OostNL. “OostNL supported us through a “Groeiversneller – Economic Board Voucher”, which allowed us to explore our technology during the Health Innovation Round Table. We’re still in a developmental phase, but we need to know how potential users perceive our product. The Round Table allowed us to present our ideas to gynaecologists and other experts in the field.”

Marco’s plans for Predica Diagnostics are clear: “With the help of an investor, we can speed up and complete technical validation. Then, when that’s successful, it’s time for clinical validation.” Clinical validation is a long process because it involves working with patients who  followed over extended periods. “If all goes well, we’ll have a certified test on the market in three years. But to get to that point, we still have a long way to go. That’s why we’re always looking for new investors or partners.”