CryoCloud Lands €500k Pre-Seed for Cloud-Based Cryo-EM in Drug Design

CryoCloud, a biotech startup headquartered in Utrecht, the Netherlands, recently achieved a notable landmark in its quest to transform the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) sector, securing €500,000 in pre-seed funding.

Founded in 2021 by Robert Englmeier, Ilja Gubins, and Boy Persoon, the company swiftly evolved from its initial idea, navigating through various accelerator programmes, to unveiling an innovative cloud-based data analysis platform. This platform aims to improve the accessibility and efficiency of cryo-EM in drug development and research.

The funding round was spearheaded by Nina Capital, with significant investments from Utrecht Health Seed Fund and ROM Utrecht Region, highlighting the confidence in CryoCloud's capacity to innovate within the traditional cryo-EM domain. Cryo-electron microscopy, a Nobel Prize-awarded technique, plays a crucial role in determining the 3D structures of proteins and is increasingly utilised in structure-based drug design. In contrast to predictive models like DeepMind’s AlphaFold, cryo-EM enables experimental determination of protein structures and visualisation of targets in their native or drug-bound states.

CryoCloud's platform seeks to overcome the prevalent challenges in the scientific field, such as the prohibitive costs, complexity, and inefficiencies of conventional cryo-EM computing infrastructure. By providing scalable cloud storage and robust data analysis workflows via an easy-to-use web application, CryoCloud is democratizing access to advanced research tools for scientists around the globe, minimising the requirement for extensive infrastructure and specialist expertise.

This recent investment underscores the confidence in CryoCloud's potential to disrupt the status quo. Marta-Gaia Zanchi, Founder & Managing Partner at Nina Capital remarked, "CryoCloud's innovative approach to leveraging cloud technology in cryo-EM is not just a major step for structural biology, but a testament to the transformative power of digital solutions in the life sciences sector."

The funding will be instrumental in further developing CryoCloud's platform, with a focus on adding advanced data analysis features and integrating AI to optimise cryoEM data processing. This aligns with the broader industry trend towards digitalisation and automation in the life sciences, which promises to enhance research efficiency and reduce turnaround times for critical projects.

On the company’s progress, Irene van de Poll, Investment Manager at ROM Utrecht, notes “The team at CryoCloud have managed to build out their cloud-based platform in a short time and are already creating traction. Their technology can have an enormous impact on the speed of development in the life sciences sector.”

Reflecting on the importance of innovation in the field, Robert Englmeier, CEO of CryoCloud, stated, "The landscape and throughput of cryo-EM has evolved significantly in the last 6 years, yet the way data is analysed remained the same - leading to bottlenecks and creating entrance barriers. Our mission is to make cryo-EM more accessible and to streamline the research process, which is now possible with our platform."

“We are happy to invest in CryoCloud’s solutions, to make the complex and costly process of CryoEM analysis more accessible to researchers” said Timo Koopmans, Investment Manager at the Utrecht Health Seed Fund. “Their platform has the potential to greatly expand the use of CryoEM in the life sciences.”

As CryoCloud prepares for its next phase of growth, it is poised to attract further investment and forge partnerships with leading companies and key opinion leaders in the field. The startup's vision to simplify and accelerate cryo-EM data analysis resonates with the broader industry's move towards more integrated, efficient, and automated research methodologies, promising a brighter future for scientific discoveries and innovation.