Trince Raises €4M in Funding

Trince, a spin-off of Ghent University (UGent) developing innovative and efficient technology to insert genetic material into cells, raised €4m in funding.

Backers included Novalis Biotech Acceleration, Qbic II, and private investors.

The company intends to use the funds to expand its development efforts.

Led by Philip Mathuis, CEO, and Kevin Braeckmans, Chief Scientific Officer, Trince is advancing cell-based science and therapeutics by facilitating the delivery of molecules into cells, both in vitro and ex vivo. The company’s LumiPore transfection platform, which is covered by a portfolio of pending patents, combines laser exposure with photothermal nanoparticles to convert light energy into heat to transiently permeabilize the cellular plasma membrane. It can be used to deliver a wide variety of effector molecules (e.g. nucleic acids or proteins) into virtually any cell type, including hard-to-transfect cells such as immune cells for cell therapies.

The technology is the result of a decade of research by the team of Kevin Braeckmans and Stefaan De Smedt, professors at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of UGent. The intellectual property will be transferred to Trince, and the spin-off will also receive a license on the results of joint research conducted by the University of Lille (CNRS, France) and UGent.

To begin with, the company will focus on the development of two products. For research applications, the spin-off has created a laser-based device which, in combination with proprietary nanoparticles, allows to load cells with the desired molecules. In addition, there is a modified technology in which direct contact of the cells with the nanoparticles is avoided by encapsulating them in a fiber structure. This allows the technology to be safely and easily translated for use in the production of genetically modified therapeutic cells.