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Eight innovations from scientific start-ups

Recycling 3D printing waste, vaccination plasters, energy-generating sun shades, live DNA images, IVF pregnancy tests, heat-producing computers, anti-cancer spreading agents and artificial antibacterial peptides. The start-ups behind these eight innovations have each been awarded a €250,000 government loan from the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker.

These eight new enterprises will convert their scientific and innovative knowledge into commercial applications. To help them valorise their knowledge, they were selected to receive a loan from the Ministries of Education, Culture and Science, and Economic Affairs. These loans may also help the new businesses to secure additional funding from external parties.

“If you can turn innovative, scientific knowledge into applications that benefit society, this knowledge gains huge added value, both in a social and in an economic sense,” State Secretary Dekker said. “The eight start-ups receiving a loan from us today are prime examples of this.”

In the assessment of the proposals by Technology Foundation STW, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, ZonMw, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NWO, the most important criteria were scientific innovation, commercial prospects, the quality of the teams and their affiliation with universities.

The loans are part of the early phase take off funding. In addition to these loans, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp and State Secretary Dekker have awarded 31 grants with a maximum value of €40,000 that will allow researchers to conduct a feasibility study into the commercial application of their innovative knowledge.

The eight new start-ups are:

3DPPM

Ninety percent of the polyamide powder used in 3D printing currently goes to waste. Technology developed by 3DPPM, which is connected to Eindhoven University of Technology, allows more than 50 percent of this powder to be re-used. This procedure is already being applied on a small scale; the take-off funding will be used to scale up the process, so more than 500 kilos can be processed in one go.

MyLife Technologies

MyLife Technologies, affiliated with the University of Twente, produces plasters with hundreds of micro needles for transdermal delivery of vaccines. The needles are so small that patients do not notice anything. What makes the MyLife Technologies needles so special, is that they are made of porous ceramic material, that has pores only several millionth of a millimetre in size. The take-off funding will allow MyLife Technologies to provide a proof of concept in an animal model.

SolarSwing Energy

SolarSwing Energy is a start-up affiliated with Radboud University Nijmegen. It is a transparent, high-performance energy-generating blind for use in glass façades and roof structures. This offers substantial savings in energy use for climate control, and it is an integrated solution that offers attractive design options. A prototype is expected to be available in July 2015 which can be tested outdoors. A party is interested in purchasing 350m2 SolarSwing Energy for use in their own office.

LUMICKS

LUMICKS, a spin-off from the VU University Amsterdam, is marketing a product that can produce live images of DNA protein interactions. This offers significant insights into the processes affecting DNA, and is therefore key for cancer research. The technology offered by LUMICKS is unique and based on the smart combination of microscopic techniques (including microscopy combined with fluorescence) and systems to manipulate liquids at a scale of one thousandth of a millimetre (microfluidic systems). The take-off funding will allow LUMICKS to develop a demonstration device for the market.

ARTPred

Researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Center have developed a method to use a simple urine test that can predict IVF embryo implantation failure with 96 percent accuracy. The take-off funding for ARTPred will be used to conduct a larger validation trial. This test can predict for some 30 per cent of women involved whether implantation will be successful, which means they can avoid aggressive medical treatment.

Nerdalize

University of Groningen start-up Nerdalize combines the substantial cooling requirements of large computers with the need for domestic heating: Nerdalize wants to use computers in the form of in-house heating elements to make complex calculations and to heat homes. By using the same energy twice, Nerdalize heats houses for free whilst selling the generated computing power to clients.

Oncodrone

Oncodrone, a life sciences company at the Radboud University Medical Center, has developed a substance that can reduce cancer metastasising. This technology can be used to fight prostate and breast cancer. The take-off funding will allow Oncodrone to collect important information about the substance’s behaviour in the body (absorption, spreading, digestion, etc.) and toxicity.

Madam Therapeutics

Bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to regular antibiotics. Madam Therapeutics uses research results from the LUMC and the AMC to fight bacterial infections with naturally-occurring special proteins, peptides. The technology is based on a family of antimicrobial peptides, which are derived from naturally occurring peptides that combat bacterial infections. These peptides have properties that are tailored to special applications. The take-off funding will be used to provide the proof-of-concept in clinical studies to fight nasal MRSA infections in hospitals.