MADx receives €2.5 million EU funding

MADx was the only Austrian life sciences company to convince the top-class selection jury in the Horizon 2020 funding program "EIC SME Instrument - Phase 2".

Allergies affect around 30% of the population. Early and comprehensive diagnosis of an allergic disease helps to prevent severe damage and keep treatment costs low. Currently, allergy diagnostics often require sufferers to undergo an unpleasant procedure (skin test), and the results cover only a fraction of the allergy panel. The new Allergy Explorer test system, or ALEX for short, is the first in the world to be able to test quickly and reliably for up to 300 allergens simultaneously. A small drop of blood plasma or serum is sufficient for comprehensive analysis.

€ 2.5 million EU funding commitment

MacroArray Diagnostics CEO Christian Harwanegg on the new investment: "We see the funding commitment from the EU as a great honor for our unique diagnostic procedure. With the newly acquired funds, we are further developing the ALEX allergy testing system for use by a new customer segment. In doing so, we are relying heavily on laboratory equipment with a high degree of automation." MacroArray Diagnostics' project was the only life sciences project selected from across Austria. In total, the EU is investing EUR 94.25 million in 57 projects from 17 countries and all technological directions as part of the call. The aim of the H2020 funding program EIC SME - Phase 2 is to support the market introduction of pioneering projects and to accelerate the growth of innovative companies. Another aspect of the funding commitment was the near monopoly of manufacturers from the United States. "In Europe, the market in allergy diagnostics is dominated by a single U.S. corporation, and we want to change that," says Harwanegg.

The functional principle of the Allergy Explorer ALEX.

Allergy Explorer ALEX is based on the well-known lock-and-key principle by which an antibody binds its counterpart, the antigen. Allergy sufferers have specific antibodies in their blood that are absent in non-allergy sufferers. The new test system can quickly and accurately detect these from a single drop of blood plasma or serum, providing a comprehensive, individual antibody profile. Up to 300 different allergens are taken into account, including all known allergy triggers. The new method was developed by Christian Harwanegg and Georg Mitterer in Vienna. Together with business angel Christian S. Dennstedt, they founded MacroArray Diagnostics GmbH in early 2016. In practice, the use of ALEX is already being tested, for example, in the allergy outpatient clinic at Vienna General Hospital. Christian A. Müller from the Medical University of Vienna and head of the allergy outpatient clinic on his experience with ALEX: "The Allergy Explorer (ALEX) from Macro Array Diagnostics combines proven diagnostic methods with the latest findings in allergy research."

About MacroArray Diagnostics GmbH (as of April 2018)

The Viennese start-up MacroArray Diagnostics develops revolutionary methods for allergy diagnostics. The company's foundation was supported by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws) within the framework of the PreSeed and Seedfinancing funding programs with a total of EUR 1 million. Already in its founding year, the company was awarded the Austrian Founder's Prize Phoenix. In 2017, MacroArray Diagnostics was pleased to take second place in the aws business plan competition "Best of Biotech". In March 2018, the EU pledged an investment from the SME program. This will enable the company to realize important further development steps. Currently, MacroArray Diagnostics employs 13 people. Due to the good sales development and the newly received funding, the company can increase to more than 20 employees this year. The added value in the chain of suppliers is almost entirely in the domestic market.