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Startups 2019



Dr Jonas Helma-Smets, Dr Dominik Schumacher

Innovation & Business Idea

Tubulis combines advanced chemistry and biologic know-how into two proprietary technology platforms that together overcome the limitations of current antibody drug conjugate (ADC) technologies. Business objective is to demonstrate the potential through internal pipeline development and by becoming the ADC partner of choice.

  • Disease and indication flexibility opens a range of unexplored avenues for ADC development
  • Low-risk, high-return partnering strategy to “save” existing biopharma assets as well as develop innovative conjugates
  • Out-license of successful mid-stage clinical development programs generates sustainable business model with high potential
  • Tubulis has raised over €3 M in non-dilutive funding and gained support from prestigious KOLs as well as innovation awards
  • Vision is to deliver on the potential of ADCs and facilitate a paradigm shift to catalyze the discovery and development of ADCs with integrated, disease-specific MoAs and better outcomes for both patients and partners

Customers / Target Market

Pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies. ADC market.


99% of publicly known ADC programs are within oncology, 89% of all ADCs are using established cytotoxic payloads and 87% are based on heterogeneous and unstable conjugation (Cysteine and Lysine). ADC development is stuck in established structures and true innovations fall behind. Based on a highly competitive ADC conjugation technology portfolio, a clear concept for accelerated and de-risked ADC discovery & development and a novel and unique business model, Tubulis is tackling ADCs from a different angle. 

Intellectual Property Status

The next-gen ADC conjugation portfolio has been registered for patents ( a) WO2017186855; b) WO2016066749; c) WO2018041985). Our first patent has recently been granted by the USPTO (10,208,084). An FTO analysis indicates freedom-to-operate.

Development Status & Future Steps

We have gathered extensive experimental data showing superiority of our technologies compared to state-of-the-art conjugation technologies, thereby addressing major bottlenecks within the ADC field. We have established several discovery projects with partners to identify ADC components beyond the current scope of the ADC community. Tubulis® has been promoted as an official success story by EIT Health since 2016 and is regarded as one of the most promising startups from all over Europe. Tubulis and its technologies was awarded highly innovative by multiple organizations including MIT Technology Review and the Leibniz Founder’s Prize endowed with 50.000 €.

Exit Strategy

Our commercial vision for 2024 is to have 2 ADCs in clinical trials, a high number of promising ADC candidates and a broad IP-Portfolio covering screening, conjugation technology, novel linkers and ADCs. The investment case provides various exit options including technology platforms, product candidates and the company.

Team Description

The management team consists of Dr. Dominik Schumacher (CEO) and Dr. Jonas Helma-Smets (CSO). Helma-Smets is a biologist by education, an expert in recombinant antibodies and an experienced entrepreneur. Schumacher is a business chemist with experiences in Finance and Controlling. He has recently been awarded Top Innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review. The team is embedded in a strong network of  scientific, and business advisors.

Financing Need

Seed financing: €3 M

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