Dutch-based MLA Diagnostics raises funds for clinical trials in tailored skin cancer treatments

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Netherlands-based MLA Diagnostics, a company focused on enhancing personalised treatments for skin cancer patients, has secured fresh funding to advance its development and move towards clinical trials.

While the exact funding amount remains undisclosed, MLA Diagnostics revealed it secured a “strategic 7-figure investment”.

The round saw participation from NLC Health Ventures (via Momentum and the NLC Health Impact Fund), LIOF, and Brightlands Life Sciences Ventures (BLSV).

Developing a prognostic test for early-stage melanoma

Cutaneous melanoma, a type of skin cancer that develops from the pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes, takes thousands of lives yearly, with many facing unnecessary treatments or inadequate surveillance.

Current care leads to patient anxiety and suboptimal outcomes, highlighting the need for improved prognosis systems among dermatologists, pathologists, and oncologists.

This is where MLA Diagnostics looks to make a difference.

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The Dutch company has introduced a newly developed and patented DNA methylation-based molecular test technology. This technology helps pathologists in diagnostic labs by offering a realistic prognosis through DNA extracted from patient biopsies.

Leveraging the LY75 gene promoter methylation biomarker, the test distinguishes between low and high-risk disease, empowering clinicians to tailor treatment with greater accuracy for personalised patient care.

MLA Diagnostics’ co-founder, Manon van Engeland says, “Our molecular test is very easy to use because it can be applied to the regular diagnostic workflow that is already being implemented at clinical pathology labs.”

MLA Diagnostics was founded In 2019 by NLC Health Ventures, Brightlands Life Science Ventures, Prof. Manon van Engeland, and Dutch entrepreneur-scientist Egbert Smit, who has over 15 years of experience in building startups.

Egbert and his team aim to revolutionise melanoma prognosis by translating scientific insights into practical, life-changing solutions. They have previously secured non-dilutive funding from various sources, including EIT Headstart, LIOF’s Limburg Business Development Fund, the national MIT program, RVO, and Rabobank.

Brief about the investors: NLC Health Ventures, Momentum, HIF

NLC Health Ventures is an early-stage healthcare investor in Europe that claims to have spearheaded transformative innovations such as pain monitoring systems, ultrasound cancer detection, and neonatal light therapy.

With four captive funds (including Momentum and the NLC Health Impact Fund supporting MLA Dx), and a portfolio spanning 11 European countries, the firm claims to bring scientific advancements to life and make early-stage ventures investible.

Brightlands Life Sciences Ventures serves as the venture fund for Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus BV, focusing on investments in spin-offs originating from Maastricht University and Maastricht University Medical Center.

LIOF is the regional development organisation of Limburg (Netherlands), dedicated to enhancing economic structure and growth. It provides support to entrepreneurs through advice, networking, and financing. 

Managing the Limburg Startup Capital Fund (LCSF), LIOF focuses on startups and SMBs contributing to key societal transitions in energy, circularity, healthcare, and digitisation. The LCSF facilitates innovation development from idea to market through two financial instruments.

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Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a News Reporter and Social Media Marketing Lead at Silicon Canals. He covers developments in the European startup ecosystem and oversees the publication's social media presence. Before joining Silicon Canals, Vishal gained experience at the Indian digital media outlet Inc42, contributing to its growth with insightful content. Despite being a college dropout, his passion for writing has driven his career in journalism.

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