MedTrace Pharma A/S graduates NOME
MedTrace, one of the first companies entering the NOME mentoring programme, graduated this year. When they embarked on this entrepreneurial journey the founders hardly knew each other. Today, they have a well-functioning team and with the help of NOME, they have successfully handled a pivot in their business model, won the Danish Tech Challenge, conquered a merger as well as raised 30 M DKK. Now they are aiming to conquer new markets and have a global presence becoming ambassadors for Nordic entrepreneurship.
MedTrace is hardly a dust bunny, though. But as the CEO and co-founder, Martin Stenfeldt says, the beginning and evolution of the life science company has a certain serendipitous feel to it.
From never having met each other, the three co-founders found each other, like many startups, by networking testing their ideas and raising money. The new team joined NOME even before they really knew each other, they went on to win the Danish Tech Challenge, merge with a software company and raise around 30 M DKK in just a few years.
The company graduated the NOME programme on February 26th, 2019. As one of the four first companies, this is a landmark exit.
When Rune Wiik Kristensen reached out to the startup where Martin Stenfeldt was working as an interim CEO at the time he was hoping they could invest, little did he realize that he would end up being a co-founder. Rune initially got Martin on board as a consultant, but quickly realized that Martin’s strong business development background was essential for MedTrace’s success, Martin Stenfeldt, in parallel realized the potential of the company and went on to become the co-founder. Together they found Peter Larsen, who had the technical profile they needed.
“Rune brought to us a diamond in the rough. Together with NOME, we have turned it into a gift for humanity. That might sound self-confident but we have confirmation from doctors around the world that they need this solution,” says Martin Stenfeldt.
“As part of the NOME programme we were invited to the Research Triangle in the US (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) for the NOME kick-off with the other three companies in the first cohort. We learned about IP, fundraising, regulatory affairs and such. That not only taught us some of the critical things we needed to get this company off the ground, but really established us as a team. Most people starting a company know their co-founders from before, they’re colleagues, family, or friends. We just found each other,” says Martin Stenfeldt.
“With our mentor team in NOME, we have always had a very strong base to turn to. We had three awesome mentors who have never been afraid of telling it like it is. The fact that we have three such diverse people is such an advantage; they are able to see things from different perspectives so they don’t necessarily provide the same feedback. The solution for us is often to be found in a triangulation of their different views.”
A milestone in the coming two years is to get into the US. They have already received approval to skip the first two phases of the application for developing a new drug and in spring 2019 they are submitting an IND to get the approval to run the first US trials. After that, they’ll receive the final decision from the FDA. In the States, they are also focusing on cardiology. That has been something the mentor team has helped MedTrace focus on. Their solution has many applications that can be included; oncology, neurology, and diabetes for example.
“When we have been obsessed with the many tracks we could follow, our mentors have helped us immensely by making us focus on the most important one to reach our goals. In the future, we will expand, to at least oncology, but that is not our focus right now,” says Martin Stenfeldt.
Luckily, the team will still have their mentors behind them. At the very last session, they were asked to become MedTrace advisors. They all said yes.
“We are honored to have them continue with us. We have known each other for three years. They are not in it for the money. They are volunteers and I have never met such competent, passionate group of people with that amount of sector-specific experience. With them we will continue to obtain more knowledge and insights into the areas we will embark on,” says Martin Stenfeldt.
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About MedTrace Pharma A/S
MedTrace develops a system that automates production and injection of [O-15]-H2O (radioactive water), the gold standard tracer for blood flow analysis in PET. Until now, radioactive water has only been available for research because of its half-life of only 122 seconds, which makes it impossible to store before use. MedTrace has solved this problem by inventing a system that combines production and injection of the tracer in one automated process. This way, the tracer becomes practically available when the patient and scanner is ready, just-in-time.