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Startups 2019

Rising Startup


Dr Thomas Lindhorst, Dr Birgit Werner

Innovation & Business Idea

Antisense (AS) drugs interact with the origin of disease-causing proteins, their mRNA molecules. This early intervention enables access to diseases that are untreatable with current therapeutics. Despite high hopes only a few AS drugs have entered the market so far due to issues in safety & tox, efficacy, delivery and even production. The main cause is the still natural-like sugar phosphate backbone of current AS-technologies. UGISense has:

  1. replaced the natural-like backbone by a completely artificial peptide-like one, to overcome safety and efficacy issues and
  2. added PK-adjusting properties to solve the delivery issues.
  3. Ugimers are synthesized by premanufactured building blocks to perfectly meet the needs of the medical target. On the long term, Ugimers will be the first choice in the AS-field. Development in collaboration projects with partners from the pharma industry is the fastest way to get Ugimers into clinical development and to the market. The broad family of Ugimer patents allows the granting of target-based licenses while building up a development pipeline.

Customers / Target Market

Our customers are primarily pharma companies who see the AS-treatment as a solution for their targets/indications. The approval of three AS-drugs since 2016 opened an enthusiastic market environment . There is currently an active licence/collaboration and M&A market segment. The antisense market is expected to have a volume of $4.5 B in 2022.


Competitors (IONIS, Roche, Sarepta, Alnylam) are limited in the number of tissues that can be reached by their technologies. Ugimers overcome the main issues (safety/tox, delivery) seen in other AS-technologies. Additionally, Ugimers can be equipped with properties to adjust pharmacokinetic properties or introduce tissue specific delivery. With Ugimers, AS-drugs are accessible for a rational drug design process.

Intellectual Property Status

The Ugimer™ antisense technology is protected by a family of umbrella patents, full FTO has been confirmed by an expert opinion. The latest and most important patent application was filed in 2014 and is already granted in the EU and AU. Ugimer™ is a registered trademark. All Ugimer™ related IP and trademarks are under the roof of UGISense.

Development Status & Future Steps

All current projects (in oncology, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), metabolic diseases and peripheral neuropathy) are in the development phase, with DMD being the most advanced with a POC in an animal model. Once the POC in a disease relevant animal is reached, projects shall be partnered with pharma. In the next financing round, the project portfolio shall be extended.

Exit Strategy

The most likely exit scenario is an acquisition of UGISense by one of our pharma company partners.

Team Description

Birgit Werner and Thomas Lindhorst founded the company in 2016. Both have more than 20 years of experience in biotech where they held management positions in the AS-field. Both are chemist by training and have been the main developer of the Ugimer-technology. Thomas and Birgit secured a seed financing round for UGISense in 2016 and in 2018 the first tranche of the series A financing round.

Financing Need

UGISense offers an investment opportunity of €2 M for the second tranche of our Series A financing round. This will finance all UGISense activities until Q3 2020 to show technological superiority and to get POCs in our current development projects. These milestones will be the basis to enables license deals with industrial partners.

Searching for

Funding, Collaboration