Quantgene can detect early-stage cancer in a single blood draw

What we are doing is a potential game-changer in medicine. … it makes the detection [of dead cells form tumors] single-molecule precise.
Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi – CEO and Co-Founder of Quantgene

The Founder

In this interview, we talk to Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jo-bhakdi-5048811/), originally born and raised in the Rhine-Main Area in Germany, but now founder of the AI and Big Data Startup Quantgene (https://www.quantgene.com/, https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/quantgene) in Santa Monica, CA. Quantgene describes itself as a deep genomics startup. They also have an office in Berlin and they hire for both locations.

By training Jo is an economist, who graduated from the University of Tübingen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_T%C3%BCbingen), a research-heavy university know for its 11 Nobel Laureates in Medicine, Chemistry, and Physics.

Jo started out in advertising and marketing (marketing strategy). He went from there in corporate development, especially mergers and acquisitions. This brought to the USA, first to New York with a stop in venture capital. He was working with his first startup in quantitative seed-stage investments.

What we developed is blood test, that guides physicians in detection of early stage cancer.
Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi – CEO and Co-Founder of Quantgene


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The Startup


To give you an idea of what we are doing: It is a few megabytes – a simple sequencing of your genome. What we are doing generates files of 200+ Gigabytes
Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi – CEO and Co-Founder of Quantgene


Quantgene is a deep tech startup, working with ai, machine learning, and big data to fight cancer. They describe themselves as a deep genome startup. Quantgene is working on unlocking specific hints about cancer in the human genome since cancer is “encoding” itself into the human genome. Quantgene developed a very specific new capability to unlock the human genome of a very deep level. Startups like 23andme generate averages in genome sequencing, a kind of simplification. Quantgene’s approach, on the other hand, is much more specific, but also very complex. They are looking for dead cancer cells – so-called cell-free DNA – in your blood sample. This only works if they are not working with averages but analyze a single copy of DNA in a sample. They had to develop a vast software infrastructure and their own chemistry to make their idea work.

Quantgene also has an office in Berlin, from which Jo joined the Startuprad.io interview. They call it the “Mustererkennungs Einheit” which means the pattern recognition unit.

Quantgene launches in 2020 (as planned before Corona) first in the USA and within some time they want to launch in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.


When you have very early cancer, no one can see, and no one can find – with the current methods. The cancer cells die, and they shed the dead cells into your blood. So they are in your blood as cell free DNA.
Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi – CEO and Co-Founder of Quantgene



The Video Interview is set to go live on May 7th 19.00 CET(1 pm Eastern, 18.00 London )


What Quantgene develop here in the last five years is a very specific capability. We call it the deep human genome.
Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi – CEO and Co-Founder of Quantgene

Venture Capital


At the time of the interview, Quantgene was raising a note. They are also looking to raise a Series B (all as planned before Corona). https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/quantgene


We are roughly 5 years ahead of our peers.
Johannes “Jo” Bhakdi – CEO and Co-Founder of Quantgene

The Audio Podcast

The audio podcast of this interview will be published soon.


Further Readings / Additional Ressources

Human Genome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genome

Gene Sequencing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_sequencing

23 and me: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/23andme

Hereditary Mutations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_variation




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