upCAT #3 – Teams pitch successfully on Demo Day

On March 10, 2015, the accelerator program “upCAT” of the KIT Founders Forge ended in applause on the final Demo Day. After twelve weeks of intensive work, the six participating teams presented their business model to an expert audience consisting of business angels, venture capitalists, and Karlsruhe network partners. Six entirely different teams participated in the upCAT #3:

  • ChromX: Software for chromatography modeling for process development and robustness studies for the biopharmaceutical industry
  • LehrWerk: Construction kits as teaching materials for prospective engineers and technicians
  • Paralution: Software and consulting to accelerate the calculation of computer-supported simulation
  • Softtop: Weatherproof covering for bicycles and e-bikes
  • Storrays: Technology for manufacturing ultra-high density peptide arrays
  • tego energy: Energy supply modules for energy harvesting

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Particularities of life science startups

For some years now, increasingly more startups in the life sciences sector emerge at the KIT, such as Amcure, Incella, Acquifer, Corvolution, or recently 300Microns. In this area there are highly exciting projects that, through their immediate international focus, have larger growth opportunities than a classic startup but are much more complex and thus also more labor intensive in the design phase.

While a technical or IT-based startup is mainly oriented on the market, a successful life sciences startup must also always act in the scientific field. Only those which are present at conferences and verifiably document results that were generated with the startup technology in scientific publications are perceived in the academic market, which is often the entry market.

The scientific founders therefore often remain in the academic field rather than transferring into the management of the startup company completely, which is otherwise usual. As co-founders, they assist in the advisory panel, the so-called Advisory Board, with product development, shape the corporate strategy, and support the acquisition of customers through their academic network.

The financing of life science startups is also a particular challenge. When laboratory tests for product development or manufacturing are required, the young company is going to incur high costs. Here, the KIT can help by providing for the initial phase of the founding with fully equipped laboratory and office spaces in the KIT’s own high-tech incubator for moderate rental fees.

Last but not least, life science founders need a lot of stamina. Economic success arises much later for them due to the long phases of product development and approval, particularly in the clinical field. In comparison, non-technology-based startups can offer a different product or service on the market after a short startup phase.

Are you currently working on a technology from which a business idea can be developed? Are you toying with the idea of founding a company? Do you need advice on founding? Then use the offers of the KIT Founders Forge and make an appointment with the consultant team of the KIT Innovation Management – we support you in your startup projects.

Gene Transfer of the Next Generation – KIT Spin-off Incella GmbH Has Developed a New Method to Optimize Gene Transfer in Cells for the Development of New Cell Transfectants

Die KIT-Wissenschaftler und Gründer des Spin-offs Incella Dr. Pavel Levkin und Dr. Gary Davidson

Genome research and microbiological diagnosis are major components of biomedical examinations. In pharmaceutical industry, such screenings of cell cultures are made to understand the functions of genes or to produce antibodies against certain diseases in a cell. A method frequently applied for fundamental research into cell biology is cell transfection. Foreign DNA or RNA molecules are introduced into a cell, thus causing a genetic modification. Lipid-similar molecules are applied most often for cell transfection.

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High content screening from a single source – KIT spin-off ACQUIFER AG offers a platform for image based life science research

Dr. Urban Liebel und Thomas Schurr

To study complex biomedical questions extensive screening experiments are necessary. In the research of widespread diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, a very high number of samples are studied under fully automated microscopes. However, on a global scale hardly any laboratories have the complete equipment and resources of interdisciplinary employees which are necessary for this. Biological methods, robot supported laboratory automation, intelligent microscopes, very large amounts of data, automatic image evaluation, and secure data exchange with other laboratories are always individual challenges. ACQUIFER AG offers a cost efficient overall solution for this.

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