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Startups 2019

Emerging Startup

FerroSens GmbH

Dr Christian Homann, Dr Anne Thews, Andreas Richter, Rainer Szalata

Innovation & Business Idea

Iron deficiency affects more individuals than any other health problem, diminishing well-being and increasing the risk of disability and death among more than two billion people. Effective and simple treatment is available, but most of the persons affected are unaware of their need for iron. FerroSens has developed the screening device FIDscreen that reliably detects a person’s iron status at the point of care and gives an immediate result. The proprietary technology is based on an optical measurement on the lower lip, avoiding painful blood withdrawal and time-consuming laboratory processing.

Customers / Target Market

FerroSens plans its market entry in Asia, where prevalence for iron deficiency is high (e.g. more than 30% in children and pregnant women in China), and iron deficiency is a well-recognized problem. FerroSens will especially focus on markets where the healthcare system is sufficiently developed to pay for FIDscreen and the associated measurements. Customers will include health care professionals, but also government agencies and strategic partners aiming at fighting nutrient deficiencies e.g. by fortified food. Later expansion to the regulated medical market worldwide is planned.


FIDscreen is the only product that can reliably detect iron deficiency without blood withdrawal and laboratory processing. The only related non-invasive technique can only measure hemoglobin and detect anemia, but is not sensitive and specific to iron deficiency. All tests available to date that are specific for iron deficiency require blood withdrawal.

Intellectual Property Status

FerroSens has freedom to operate, and the technology of FIDscreen is protected by two patent families. The patents cover the measurement method, which allows the discrimination of the weak desired signal from an overwhelming background and quantitative extraction of a specific molecule signal.

Development Status & Future Steps

To date, FIDscreen has been validated in six clinical studies with close to 1,000 subjects in all states of life. Next steps include medical device approval (CE certification), setting up serial production and establishing sales channels. First revenues have been achieved through a cooperation with a multi-national food and beverage company, including a large clinical trial in Asia. For market entry, a 3-step commercialization is envisioned: first targeting Asia and the screening market, followed by entry into the lifestyle market and finally the regulated medical market.

Exit Strategy

After demonstrating market success, FerroSens plans to partner with established industry players to roll out its technology worldwide.

Team Description

Dr. Christian Homann (CEO) is co-inventor of the technology. He holds a PhD in physics and is an expert in optics and spectroscopy.
Dr. Anne Thews (CMO) is a medical doctor with more than 20 years of experience in medical marketing and various management positions at IVD companies (Beckman Coulter, Philips, Curetis). She has been involved in building new international business units as well as start-up companies.
Andreas Richter (CFO) has 18 years of experience as CFO for Life Sciences Companies (e.g. Direvo, 4-Antibody, AYOXXA), and is an investor in several Asian companies.
Rainer Szalata (CTO) is a physicist and expert in product development and production engineering.
Max Eisel is responsible for quality management and research on further products.

Financing Need

For medical device approval and market entry, FerroSens is looking for an investment of €2 M. An additional €1.5 M shall be raised for expansion at the beginning of 2021

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FerroSens GmbH