How Lifespin revolutionizes the diagnosis of diseases with metabolic information and artificial intelligence

Katharina Kittelberger

Startup Stories

All living organisms have a metabolism. Because diseases always affect it, they are detected directly here. Health startup Lifespin, based in Regensburg, Germany, is taking advantage of this by developing a software-as-a-service solution for general health assessment and faster disease diagnosis. Founded in 2017, the deep-data startup's solution is based on quantitative readouts of metabolism (aka metabolic scanners) and an extensive biodatabase for early disease detection. 

When is someone healthy and when does disease begin? And how can Lifespin help here? Dr. Ali Tinazli, CEO, explains: "We often know what is sick, but not what is healthy. Our biodatabase has over a hundred thousand digital metabolic images of healthy and sick individuals, which allows us to detect disease early and define what being healthy actually means."

Participating in our 5-HT X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma" offered the young company the chance to thematically explore pharmaceutical drug discovery further. In an interview with 5-HT, Ali explains in more detail about the experience gained at the event and how 5-HT can support Lifespin on its future journey. 

Dr. Ali Tinazli, CEO of Lifespin 

The early diagnosis of diseases by means of metabolic measurement aka metabolomics

Lifespin primarily collects metabolic data. By digitizing these, it produces a steadily growing database at the population level for patient-specific medical care. 

"More precisely, we capture a large amount of metabolites simultaneously in one measurement within a few minutes, creating a "fingerprint" of a person or organism at the time the sample is taken. All of these fingerprints help us understand what affects a person's health. Be it risks, therapies or a number of other factors," Ali adds. 
Additional information is provided in a Lifespin explanatory video, which describes the testing platform in more detail. 

In addition, Lifespin offers "research use only" (RUO) products for human medical research and pharmaceutical drug development, as well as clinical trial support. These include: 

  • Biomarker Panel in blood

  • Biomarker Panel in urine

  • Biomarker Panel in Cerebo Spinal Fluid (CSF)

  • Biomarker panel in saliva

  • Monitoring of different drug levels in blood and urine

  • Biomarker panel for specific life science applications

"In addition, we have already developed the first biomarkers for the early detection of multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease. The first in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests as software are in preparation including the corresponding regulatory steps." 

Lifespin's versatile platform  

"Many companies in metabolomics either work as contract research organizations (CROs) for the pharmaceutical industry or limit their research to only one specific disease. 
Our platform is more versatile and can be used for drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry as well as diagnostic procedures such as early detection of MS, Parkinson's disease or various forms of cancer," explains Ali, describing how Lifespin differs from other startups in the metabolomics scene.  

Since our metabolism ages with us, the healthy state of a 20-year-old woman, for example, cannot be compared to that of a healthy 60-year-old man. To provide an ideal disease diagnosis, we map a wide variety of metabolic scenarios in a disease or aging context in our comprehensive database.

From the beginning, a strong U.S. focus has been important to Lifespin. Ali explains: "With Boston as a healthcare innovation hub, the U.S. is the world's most important healthcare hub. We recently established our U.S. office, Lifespin, Inc. based in Boston. This is our signal to the market of great interest in partners for our go-to-market in the U.S." 

Targeting the pharmaceutical industry as a customer 

So far, Lifespin has been able to win customers from the pharmaceutical and nutrition sectors. Now the young company wants to scale: "To improve our offering in the long term, we are now pursuing the strategy of further sharpening our customer profile in the direction of pharmaceutical companies. Here we are focusing on precisely those who, like us, work on cancer as well as neurological and metabolic diseases."

Larger network through X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma" 

"First and foremost, the event allowed us to expand our German network. In addition, the conversations with the ten different pharmaceutical companies present allowed us to efficiently target exposure towards our preferred customer group. At the same time, new and very interesting topics came up in the discussions that I had never thought of before. This further enriched our perspective," says Ali.

Ultimately, he emphasizes that participating in the X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma" gave Lifespin a valuable opportunity to share their concept and vision with the 5-HT community and to receive immediate constructive feedback and suggestions on this.

"In summary, the X-Linker was great. Especially the very good engagement and the amazing, tight organization distinguished the event from other virtual conferences. For this, a big praise to the organizers of the event."

Staff recruitment and further commercialization as immediate plans for 2022 

Lifespin is currently focusing on recruiting new staff: "As soon as we have filled our Business Development position in Pharma Services this summer, we will take a more focused approach to working with our pharmaceutical partners. In addition, we continue to advance the commercialization of the first two prototypes for early diagnosis for MS and Parkinson's disease. On schedule, we expect the first commercial MS tests by the end of this year 2022."

In addition, Ali launched a fundraising effort aimed at finding the right strategic partners from Europe, the U.S. and Asia. In terms of further collaboration with 5-HT, he concludes, "We will continue to pursue exciting discussions and events through our collaboration with 5-HT."  

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