> News > Three Biopôle members win the de Vigier Award 2023

Three Biopôle members win the de Vigier Award 2023

Less expensive cancer therapies, a navigation aid for the blind and three cleantech projects are the winners of the W.A. de Vigier Foundation Awards, each worth CHF 100,000. Federal Councillor Viola Amherd gave the keynote speech at yesterday’s festive awards ceremony in Solothurn.

From a record number of over 300 submitted projects, the jury picked their Top 15 in February. The 15 CEOs went through an interview process and presented their ideas to the Foundation Board, who chose the final ten nominees. “The five winners have one thing in common: They all want to make the world a better and more sustainable place by contributing innovative solutions for the greater good of our society”, says Carmen Lamparter, COO of the W.A. de Vigier Foundation.

Out of the five winners, three are based at Biopôle or soon-to-arrive on our campus:

biped.ai, at Biopôle since 2021, offers independence for the visually impaired. 270 million visually impaired people worldwide face challenges in their daily mobility, like avoiding obstacles and finding their way. biped is a small harness, worn on the shoulders, equipped with cameras. Just like a self-driving car, it can detect and predict all obstacles and play a short “beep” in bluetooth headphones to warn the user. The Swiss start-up received a lot of attention around the globe and has already sold the first three batches of its smart harness.

Limula, at Biopôle since 2022, develops automation for Cell and Gene Therapy. Cell and Gene Therapies (CGT) can save the lives of people with previously incurable conditions, including aggressive cancers. Unfortunately, the production of these highly personalized ‘living drugs’ is still so complex and expensive that only a small fraction of eligible patients has access to a treatment. Limula is developing a fully automated device that enables manufacturing of high-quality cell therapies at lower costs, on demand and at scale, with the potential to dramatically increase their accessibility.

Voltiris, soon-to-arrive at Biopôle, is working on Solar Modules to Combine Energy and Crop. Production Greenhouses require significant amounts of energy and growers are halting operations because of rising energy prices. They want to produce solar energy but current solutions reduce crop yields by shading them. Voltiris’ color-optimized solar modules filter sunlight and transmit only the components needed for photosynthesis to crops, while producing solar energy with the unused light. This enables the production of renewable energy without impacting crop yields and ultimately allows growers to keep producing food. Voltiris has realised initial projects in Switzerland and abroad and has several large scale project in Switzerland in the pipeline.

Source content: Startupticker.ch

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