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Biopôle Start-up Fund: Latest recipients announced

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the latest round of our Biopôle Start-up Fund: Sulfiscon and biped.ai. The fund offers up to CHF 90,000 a year over three consecutive years to promising life sciences ventures. Sulfiscon is the first organisation to receive an initial 12 months of funding in 2023, while biped.ai will benefit from a second year of support. Both companies are established members of Biopôle’s vibrant life sciences community.

Sulfiscon has been based at Biopôle’s StartLab since March 2023. The company is expanding on research by its founders, where a new paradigm of pathological calcification was discovered. Pathological calcification can affect different organs and is associated with ageing and diseases. At present, surgery is the only available option for advanced calcification of soft tissues. The lack of effective therapies (apart from surgical removal) has led Sulfiscon to develop small molecule allosteric modulators that can be administered as drugs to treat pathological calcification disorders. The team will receive up to CHF 90,000 to help advance the project and the company will have the opportunity to reapply for two more consecutive years of funding.

The location of StartLab and the diversity of the companies present mean it’s the best place for us to grow our research and development.

Professor Alexander So, Co-Founder of Sulfiscon

Professor Alexander So, Co-Founder of Sulfiscon, explains how the fund will benefit Sulfiscon: ‘We are excited to be associated with StartLab at Biopôle because it provides us, as a young start-up company, with the ideal infrastructure. Its location and the diversity of the StartLab companies mean it’s the best place for us to grow our research and development. The support provided by the Biopôle SA team has been outstanding.’

Meanwhile, biped.ai has been selected for the second consecutive year, having first received the fund in June 2022. The start-up is developing an AI-powered harness for blind and severely visually impaired people that identifies potential obstacles and collision risks. It then plays short beeps in Bluetooth headphones to alert the wearer of any danger. The company will receive up to CHF 40,000 to develop the commercial phase of this innovative device.

biped.ai CEO Maël Fabien (second from the left) and other team members, together with Nasri Nahas, Biopôle SA CEO, in their office on the Biopôle campus.

Maël Fabien, CEO of biped.ai, outlines what the first year of funding has enabled the company to do: ‘The Biopôle Start-up Fund allowed us to cover part of our rent, hire new skilled people and launch our product on the market, in the most important year of our journey so far. We’re grateful for the continuous support of Biopôle, and we look forward to what the next 12 months will bring!’

Biopôle SA CEO, Nasri Nahas, says: ‘At Biopôle, we are proud to support emerging start-ups like Sulfiscon and biped.ai. The next year will be exciting for these groundbreaking projects and we look forward to following developments – and of course to supporting more projects like them through our programmes and community.’

Companies interested in applying for the Biopôle Start-up Fund can find all the information they need by clicking on the button below.

The next application deadline is 1st September, 2023.

Apply here
Biopôle Start-up Fund

Launched in 2021, the Biopôle’s Start-up Fund is a flagship initiative that helps the most promising life sciences ventures on campus to focus on what they do best. With up to three years of support with the costs of rental, research and development and key services, Biopôle SA supports entrepreneurial passion and early-stage innovation. The fund’s primary goal is to encourage start-ups that show scientific impact and growth potential. Companies are chosen based on scientific excellence, the relevance of their business model and the quality of founding and management teams.

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Supported companies 

Since the launch of the Biopôle Start-up Fund in May 2021, the following start-ups have been selected to enter the programme.