Take-off funding for eight scientific start-ups

22 January 2015

Recycling of 3D printer waste, vaccine plasters, energy-generating sunscreens, live images of DNA, IVF pregnancy test, computers as heating, a substance that prevents the spread of cancer, and artificial antibacterial peptides. These are the eight subjects of the scientific start-ups that received a grant in the form of a 250,000 euros loan from State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker on Wednesday, 14 January 2015. The proposals for the start-ups were evaluated by NWO, Technology Foundation STW and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) and were funded as part of the NWO programme Take-off.

Take-off financing - visual

These eight new companies will convert their innovative scientific knowledge into commercial applications. To help them make a successful start with their knowledge valorisation these companies have received a loan from funds made available by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. These loans will also help the new companies to obtain more funding from external parties,

State Secretary Dekker: “If you know how to convert innovative, scientific knowledge into applications that benefit society then that scientific knowledge gains an enormous added value from both a societal and economic perspective. Eight start-ups that have received a loan from us today are textbook examples of this.”

During the evaluation of the proposals by STW, ZonMw and NWO the most important criteria were scientific innovation, commercial perspective, the quality of the teams and their connection with the university. The loans are part of the science funding instrument Take-off. Besides these loans, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, and the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, Sander Dekker, awarded 31 grants with a maximum value of €40,000. These grants will enable scientists to carry out a feasibility study into the commercial application of their innovative knowledge.

The eight new start-ups:


Ninety percent of the polyamide powder used in 3D printers is wasted. 3DPPM, which is connected with Eindhoven University of Technology, processes that waste in such a way that about half of this powder can be reused as a raw material. The process already works on a small scale and the Take-off funding will be used to scale up the process so that more than 500 kilograms can be processed in a single batch.

At the Erasmus MC a method has been found for using a simple urine test to determine during an IVF treatment whether the fertilised eggs placed in the womb will result in a successful pregnancy. This test has proven to be 96 percent reliable under clinical conditions. The Take-off funding for ARTPred will be used to carry out a larger validation trial. In about 30 percent of women this test can demonstrate in advance that the implantation will not be successful and that will save these women from having to undergo an intensive treatment.

LUMICKS is a spin-off of the VU University Amsterdam and it wants to market a device with which live films can be made of how molecules interact with a DNA molecule. Such films can be used to understand processes in which DNA is damaged, like in the case of cancer. The possibility that LUMICKS offers is unique and that is partly due to the smart combination of microscopy techniques (including fluorescence microscopy) and systems to manipulate liquids at the scale of one-thousandth of a millimetre (so-called microfluidic systems). LUMICKS will use the Take-off funding to develop a demonstration device for the market.

Madam Therapeutics
A growing number of bacteria are resistant to standard antibiotics. Madam Therapeutics uses results from Leiden University Medical Centre and the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam to control bacterial infections. It does that with the help of special proteins called peptides. These peptides are inspired by a peptide that occurs naturally in the human body and that can destroy or inactivate bacteria and fungi. The artificial versions developed have properties tailored to special applications. The Take-off funding will be used to carry out clinical studies to provide the proof-of-concept for the control of the MSRA hospital bacteria via the nose.

MyLife Technologies

MyLife Technologies is connected with the University of Twente. It produces plasters with hundreds of minute needles that can administer vaccines under the patient's skin. The needles are so small that the patient does not feel them. What makes the needles of MyLife Technologies so special is that they are made of a porous ceramic material where the pores are just several millionths of a millimetre in size. MyLife Technologies will use the Take-off funding to provide a proof-of-concept on an animal model.

Nerdalize is a start-up of the University of Groningen. It combines the fact that large computer centres require substantial cooling with the need for heating in homes. Nerdalize wants to place computers in the form of heating elements in houses to perform complex calculations while heating the houses at the same time. The house owners will have lower energy costs and Nerdalize will be able to offer calculation services against a sharp market price because no cooled “server farms” will be needed.

Oncodrone has developed a substance at RadboudUMC that can inhibit the development of certain prostate and breast cancer cells into dangerous mobile cells. This reduces the chances of the cancer spreading. Oncodrone will use the funding to gather important information about the behaviour of the substance in the body (absorption, spread, metabolism, etc.) as well as the toxicity.

SolarSwing Energy
SolarSwing Energy is a start-up connected with Radboud University Nijmegen and is a transparent, high-yield energy generation sunscreen for use in glass facades and roofs. This offers substantial energy savings for climate management and is an integrated solution that offers fantastic design opportunities. In July 2015 a working prototype is expected that can be tested outdoors. There is also a party with a serious interest in purchasing 350m2 of SolarSwing Energy for use in the facade of their own office.

Source: Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap