HERAN Partners is pleased to announce its investment in ImmuneSpec, a company at the forefront of advanced immunopeptidomics. The EUR 1,2m seed funding from HERAN HealthTech Fund I will enable ImmuneSpec to accelerate the further optimisation and commercial roll-out of their advanced immunopeptidomics analysis platform, a cutting-edge technology that facilitates rapid and reliable identification of immunogenic peptides through mass spectrometry (MS).

ImmuneSpec has developed proprietary protocols that allow researchers to accurately target all peptide regions that evoke an immune response. These “MAPPS” analyses represent one of the most comprehensive approaches to immunogenicity testing and are expected to play a pivotal role in the development of next-generation biologicals. Key applications include identifying immunogenic regions for broad-spectrum vaccine development, discovering neo-antigens for immunotherapy lead generation, and evaluating biologicals for unwanted immunogenicity.

The groundbreaking methodology behind ImmuneSpec was established at the Centre for Proteomics, a collaborative effort between the University of Antwerp (UA) and VITO. ImmuneSpec's approach sets itself apart from conventional MS-based methods through advanced purification of MHC-presented peptides, ultrasensitive MS analysis, and superior data analysis. This proprietary workflow results in higher immunopeptide purity and volumes, leading to an increased ability to identify immunogenic regions. Consequently, this leads to faster, more accurate, and more reliable immunopeptidomic research outcomes.  

"Our team of experts, including Professor Dr. Geert Baggerman and Professor Dr. Kurt Boonen, has been investigating novel techniques for enhancing immunopeptidomics analyses for several years. We are excited to apply our expertise to develop a commercial service offering," says Elise Pepermans, the newly appointed CEO of ImmuneSpec. "Compared to standard methodologies, our approach enables the identification of significantly more immunogenic target regions. Our superior MAPPS analyses will drive efficiency in drug development programs by reducing the risk of unqualified leads and poor clinical trial outcomes."

"Thanks to our strong scientific and market knowledge, HERAN is well-equipped to identify disruptive technologies with the potential to revolutionize an entire industry. Even during early discussions, ImmuneSpec demonstrated the disruptive value of their MAPPS offering," says Katleen Vandersmissen, Managing Partner at HERAN Partners. "Moreover, we were impressed by the team's scientific knowledge and their determination to build a company around their extensive research efforts. We are eager to support them in transforming ImmuneSpec into the go-to player for MAPPS analyses."

Lastly, Elise expresses her gratitude to all the partners involved in the launch of ImmuneSpec. "We want to thank the University of Antwerp and VITO for facilitating the incubation phase, and especially HERAN Partners for believing in us and the project. Their investment enables ImmuneSpec to establish lab facilities in the Science Park in Niel (Belgium) and expand the team with lab technicians, project managers, and data scientists."

HERAN Partners' investment in ImmuneSpec highlights their commitment to supporting innovative technologies with the potential to make a significant impact in the healthcare industry. By providing the necessary funding, HERAN Partners is playing a crucial role in the advancement of ImmuneSpec's immunopeptidomics analysis platform and its subsequent commercialisation, ultimately contributing to more efficient drug development and improved patient outcomes.


About HERAN Partners

HERAN Partners is a Belgium-based investment fund focused on supporting European start-ups and scale-ups in the MedTech and HealthTech industry. In addition to financial support, they provide a strong network, expertise, and mentorship in order to fuel growth at their portfolio companies. HERAN currently manages its first fund of EUR 75,5m which targets ventures with highly-disruptive & scalable technologies.

About ImmuneSpec 

Located in Antwerp, ImmuneSpec is a platform for advanced immunopeptidomics focusing on the identification of the sequence of MHC-associated peptides. They provide a state-of-the-art immunopeptidomics methodology for CROs, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies investigating leads for the development of broad-spectrum vaccines, identifying neo-antigens as leads for immunotherapy and testing of immunogenic regions of drug candidates.