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Life Sciences Innovation Newsletter

Autumn 2020

Dear Marcom team,

As a valued member of our life sciences innovation community, we want to celebrate four years since our launch with you by sharing some of the success stories of this past year and by inviting you to connect and participate in our exciting upcoming events.

Enjoy your read! 

      
A snapshot of our virtual birthday celebrations. Click here to view the live stream as well as videos from our current projects, alumni and companies at the Campus Biotech Innovation Park.

Geneus in Numbers

Over the past four years, Geneus has supported the initiation of over 80 life sciences innovations. Our alumni have generated over 40 paid jobs and raised over CHF 12M.

Geneus’ innovators have won numerous awards and recognitions, including Venture KickVenture, Mass Challenge, and the Innosuisse Business Concept award. Our alumni participated in internationalisation programs such as Venture Leaders and received Innosuisse coaching.

Most importantly many have graduated to become promising, funded, growing startups.

Geneus provides a collaborative space, where life sciences innovators are supported to shape and test their projects prior to deciding to launch a startup, with the backing of EPFL Innovation Park, Foundation Eclosion and Fongit.

If you know someone who is considering starting their life sciences project – let them know that they are welcome to apply on our webpage www.geneus.ch. We’ll be happy to support them.

Innovating during COVID-19

We are so proud of our alumni and current innovators who have been very active during COVID-19.

Water Inception created a spin-off making eco-friendly masks. For each pair of Happy Turtle Masks sold, they will donate part of their profits to finance green turtles re-population programs in the Island of Con Dao in Vietnam in association with the National Park of Con Dao.

TalisLife, a digital health platform with a focus on stress & burnout, hosted a webinar (available for replay) during lock-down on how to cope with anxiety triggered by COVID-19 both on an individual and on an organisational level.
Their mobile application will be available in app stores very soon, which includes 1 month free. Sign-up for your free test at info@talislife.com 

CEDAM provide technical training to health professionals and first aid training to companies. During the Covid crisis, they pivoted to provide new e-learning services to customers and have now become the first practical first aid distance learning course in Switzerland. Read more here.

                

News from our Alumni

Terapet are developing the next generation of proton therapy for cancer treatment. Their technology enables medical doctors to monitor the proton dose inside the patients during treatment: in-vivo, non-invasive, in 3D, and in real-time. Terapet’s solution provides cancer patients with safer treatment and saves healthcare providers money and treatment time.
They have been featured in articles from Innosuisse, Venture Lab as well as on the Bilan Top 50 in Switzerland 2020.
Since our last birthday they have incorporated their SA and have officially joined Fongit. 
In July, they closed a seed investment round of CHF 1 Million, which will fund the development of their first full-scale prototype to be installed for clinical validation.
Most recently, Terapet won CHF 150 000 through Venture Kick. Read more about that here.


Dr. Christina Vallgren, Dr. Marcus Palm and leading radio-oncologist Prof. Raymond Miralbell (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève) founded Terapet in 2019.


Empowerment Lab empowers girls with digital skills to become successful and dynamic women of tomorrow.
In April, due to COVID-19, Empowerment Lab fast-tracked and launched a project, that allows them to offer their classes in a virtual setting. As a result of the success of this project, they will be continuing this offering.
Most recently they received funding from Confédération Suisse to teach courses on/in digital technology to 250 girls aged between 12 and 18 in Suisse Romande and to record videos featuring role models in the fields of Computer Science, STEM Entrepreneurship, media and art. Look out for their new and improved website that launched last month.


Virtual classes and the Empowerment Lab team.


EBAMed develops innovative solutions for non-invasive and automated treatment of heart arrhythmia’s by using proton-therapy (external beam ablation).
This month, EBAMed announced that they have been awarded a EUR 2.4 million non-dilutive grant by the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC), enabling them to optimize their hardware and software components, and to perform a first-in-human study starting 2021. Full details here. This March they joined the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator. They have also been listed in BILAN magazine’s 2020 edition as one of the 50 startups in which to invest in Switzerland in 2020.


The EBAMed team: Saskia Camp, Rosalind Perrin, Jérémie Gringet and Adriano Garonna.


Parithera have also made some interesting developments this year. They have pivoted their focus to use CTC filtration for liquid biopsy applications rather than as an adjuvant therapy.
Following their incubation at Geneus, Parithera received the Ignition grant from EPFL and were accepted by Prof. Philippe Renaud to continue their development in his laboratory. In August they were accepted for Innosuisse Core Coaching. In the upcoming months they will continue working to attract more funding to expand the team and further advance the technical development.


HeroSupport develops and commercialises personalised 3D-printed medical devices for perfect and comfortable immobilisation and positioning of patients during medical procedures, including radiotherapy.
Hero Support have been working with Prof. Zilli’s team on an immobilisation solution for their prostate cancer project (MRgTUS), supported by the Fonds National Suisse. A proof-of-concept of their first prototype on a volunteer was successful and as a result are continuing their collaboration.


The Hero Support product.



Vesta Biosciences are a personalised nutrition company developing a patent-pending technology for analyzing a person’s gut microbiome and its fermentation capabilities.
In 2020, they became incorporated, have grown to a team of four and begun incubation at Eclosion, from whom they have also obtained financial support. Vesta have mapped their regulatory strategy and refined their business model to the point where they will be begin their first customer tests next quarter.
On the clinical development front, they have obtained funding for two separate studies with the HUG and hope to use this data to pursue health claims in specific ICD-9 indications. They are also currently in the process of raising a seed round.

Our current Innoscience projects - Faculté des sciences ...

In 2020, FluoSphera designed a new logo to better illustrate their vision to improve physiological relevance of human in vitro testing. A green fluorescent capsule that contains the greek letter phi (for physiology), and that emits fluorescent signals reflecting either positive (blue) or negative (red) physiological outcomes. This is part of the technology of FluoSphera: fluorescence codes and cell encapsulation to measure physiological communications between human tissues in vitro.
FluoSphera won the Spring session Innosuisse Business Concept Award as well as the Best Pitch in Life Sciences. Their Advisory Board was created in July 2020 which comprises of Prof. Aurélien Roux (Full Professor UNIGE), Dr. Dimitri Moreau (Head of ACCESS Geneva) and Robert Slooves (Chief Business Officer, Geneva Biotech Center). They also began coaching with Pierre Comte, an accredited Innosuisse Coach which started late in August 2020.

A Vibrant Life Sciences Community

Campus Biotech Innovation Park now hosts 23 startups, 7 foundations, 3 VCs, 13 support organisations, as well as UNIGE, EPFL Extension School and Geneva Tsinghua Initiative in the SDG solution space.  

CBIP startups are thriving:

This summer, iOnctura SA, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of next-generation molecules targeting cancer and fibrosis, raised an additional EUR 5.1 million bringing its total Series A financing to EUR 20.1 million. Read more here.

Relief Therapeutics started clinical trial in patients with Covid-19. The findings of Dr. Youssef and his team demonstrate that some critically ill patients with COVID-19 experienced substantial clinical improvement when treated with RLF-100. Read about this news here.

ID-Gene are another example of how startups adapt to meet the new needs. ID-Gene offer fast, sensitive and reliable environmental DNA tests. They are now redirecting a part of their activity to the detection of the SARS coronavirus 2 in wastewaters (SARS coronavirus 2 being the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19). Recent studies showed that the quantity of virus in wastewaters arriving at water treatment plant seemed to be correlated with the number of infection cases reported in the region.

Esperare are a not-for-profit organisation who uncover the potential of existing therapies to address severe unmet therapeutic needs in rare diseases. In their latest news, they announced that the U.S. FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the prenatal treatment of XLHED, a life-threatening, rare genetic condition which prevents babies from being able to sweat. We congratulate Esperare for their wonderful work and this great achievement. 

ABCDx founders, Prof. Sanchez and Dr. Montaner are published in Nature Reviews Neurology. In this article, the authors discuss the current status of biomarker research in stroke towards clinical stroke management. The two Key Opinion Leaders bring together over 45 years of experience, 562 publications and 39 patents.

CHORD Therapeutics, a clinical stage bio-pharmaceutical company based at Campus Biotech Innovation Park, developing drugs for rare diseases, announced on October 13 the closing of a USD16 million Series A financing exclusively from leading healthcare investor Omega Funds. In conjunction with the financing, Omega Funds’ Managing Director Claudio Nessi and Principal Francesco Draetta will join the Board. Read the full press release here.

One of our missions is to provide a home for Geneva’s vibrant life sciences innovation community.
Over the past year we have welcomed 900 attendees to over 25 events that we have proudly virtually or physically co-hosted with partners including Open GenevaUNIGE, and the Geneva Tsingua Initiative. 
Each month 60 life sciences professionals join us physically and virtually for our monthly Café & Croissant.  CBIP also hosts the business concept course of Innosuisse, with 30 researchers and students learning how to tackle the challenges of launching a startup company. 


Serial entrepreneur Michel Jordi during the Geneus Open Day 
in November

If you want to stay up to date with developments in life sciences, we can warmly recommend Campus Biotech’s monthly feeds. Click here to sign up.

Our digital community has grown to include over 3500 life sciences innovation enthusiasts who follow our Facebook and LinkedIn page. 

Meet some Geneus Innovators

With 21 life sciences projects currently being initiated at Geneus, we only have space to highlight a few here. Attend our virtual Café & Croissant and the Demo Day at Geneus during the Global Entrepreneurship Week to discover the other projects!  

Yvan Freund produces media to communicate on innovative medical devices such as prostheses, implants and new applications. He designs visual systems to make scientific progress and medical advances visible. More information here.


Visual design of an augmented reality lumbar puncture simulator software – Yvan Freund, Geneus Innovator.

INNTRA 

Innovative Trauma Relief Access (INNTRA) develops and runs programs designed to build children and adolescent’s resilience and enhance their inner resources. These fun and artsy courses are led by youth-health specialists. 
In 2020, INNTRA has grown to a team of 15 and now includes a Business Advisory Board, a Socio-Educative Advisory Board, as well as a Monitoring & Evaluation Department. The Zen Inntra Connect video series for children and adolescents was created, launched and run by INNTRA Operational Team to relieve youth stress & anxiety post Covid-19 crisis and help to cope with difficult emotions.  INNTRA continues to plan the launch of their program in West-Africa with their local partners, as initially planned before the COVID crisis and elaborates an action plan to answer the needs of the youth in Lebanon. In the meantime, INNTRA will launch 2 pilot programs with a group of adolescents and young adult refugees (Easter 2021) as well as a program with local pre-adolescents (Summer 2021) in Switzerland.

D4P, a package of services around a digitised solution to deliver secured and traceable doses of medicines to patients at the patient’s door. D4P ensures the traceability of each unique drug dose until validation of the in-take by the patient and empowers the patient thanks to a digital access to the product’s information (e-leaflet) and to the pharmacist’s advice. Congratulations on winning a SILAB Prize in the form of a voucher.

Innovation in Action!

How do you transform an idea into innovation? Here are some of the activities that our innovators engage in on their entrepreneurial journey:

  • Innovators Unite
  • Peer and Pro Pitching
  • Value Proposition Design
  • Directors Feedback
  • Networking Events
  • Virtual Meetings

Many thanks to EPFL Innovation Park, Foundation Eclosion and Fongit for their valuable insights and connections.


Pro Pitch with the Netherlands Ambassador to Switzerland.


Innovators Unite: upgrade your innovation skills and mindset.


A visit from an Italian University.


Café croissant and connect.


The UNIGE Accelerator Program with Fongit. 


Virtual Workshops.

Coming up

Our Café & Croissant networking event is held every month. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with the growing life sciences community. Our next one will be a hybrid event and take place on 19th November. You can follow it live on our Facebook page.


BioAlps Networking Day is planned to take place on 9th November at the SwissTech Innovation Center in Lausanne. The event will focus on BioAlps’ community’s strengths and innovation and its ability to grow and develop innovative healthcare solutions in medtech, biotech and digital health despite the challenges faced with the new coronavirus.

Click here for the latest update on all BioAlps events.


The Global Entrepreneurship Week will be held this year from 16th to 22nd November. You can find the program of exciting events in Geneva on Liberez vos Idées.

We will be hosting a special Café & Croissant and CBIP open day on Thursday 19th November 9:30 – you are welcome to join.

If you’d like to join our events, send an email to events@geneus.ch and we’ll make sure that you receive the invitations.


Bring your innovations to life!

3 days ago

Geneus

Join CERN's first AI in Business workshop on December 1st.
Find out why every industry cares so much about AI and how companies approach it today.

CERN Knowledge Transfer (KT) would like to provide first-hand insights from industry and discuss examples of the kind of activities companies pursue to create value from AI.

If you are curious, sign up here:👇
indico.cern.ch/event/973900/
...

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5 days ago

Geneus

The Lake Geneva region, a life sciences cluster nicknamed the "Health Valley".
The study “Les sciences de la vie : Un secteur économique méconnu” has just been published by CCIG - Chambre de commerce, d'industrie et des services de Genève and BCGE.

Life sciences are still a little-known economic sector to the public, yet the Lake Geneva region has all the ingredients to be one of the world's most dynamic life sciences clusters.

It has an ecosystem of various players (university and research centres such as CERN, startups, SMEs, etc.) with expertise in fields ranging from proton therapy, neuroscience, bioinformatics, and more. Moreover, the canton of Geneva excels on a further level: home to the World Health Organization and more than 90 organizations, associations and foundations active in health, it is a capital, if not the world capital of global health.

In conclusion, the study outlines the need to strengthen the links between the various players, but also to the need to perpetuate and reinforce this ecosystem, among other things through a reinforced presence of giants in the sector.

Read about the Geneva actors in the “Health Valley” that make this region standing out on a global scale here:
www.ccig.ch/publication (Publication in French)

Geneus and Fongit are happy to have been able to contribute to the study!

GE - Economie & Innovation
...

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6 days ago

Geneus

In collaboration with InnoPeaks, La Forge is organising their accelerators' showcase in a 3D version. This includes virtual booths in an attempt to reproduce a level of interaction neglected by digital technology before.

To bring the project back to its roots, they recreated the Swisstech Convention Center virtually for you to visit.

So come and meet within this unique concept and get to know 30 startups of which several are supported by Geneus and discover the technologies that will make the world of tomorrow.

Register Now: bit.ly/SwissAS2020
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Pulse Incubateur HES

TalisLife Inntra @cedamsarl
...

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1 week ago

Geneus

The 10th Global Entrepreneurship Week in Geneva still goes strong until tomorrow! Geneus was thrilled to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship this week together with our innovators and entrepreneurship enthusiasts from all over the world. Thank you to all the creative organizers that made such a celebration virtually and physically possible!
We are looking forward to celebrating soon again.
If you are looking to join the GEW or missed a session, check the program for lives or replays here:👇
2020.liberezvosidees.ch/gew/programme
Libérez vos idées, semaine de l'entrepreneuriat à Genève
venturelab
Fongit
...

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2 weeks ago

Geneus

If you are working on a project that can be modified, repurposed, or reimagined for the goals of global health, then you might be interested in UnitaidExplores’ funding mechanism.
UNITAID supports innovations that have transformative potential to improve public health in low- and middle-income countries. To do so they target small projects with the potential for large change.
Sounds like your project fits right in? Read more about Unitaid in the link below: 👇
unitaid.org/news-blog/unitaidexplore-keeps-seeking/#en
...

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2 weeks ago

Geneus

We are live! ...

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