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Three innovators selected for Biopôle’s Start-up Fund

It gives us great pleasure to announce that three more companies will benefit from Biopôle’s Start-up Fund over the coming year. Voltiris has been selected for its first year of funding, while Limula and Parithera will enjoy a second year of support. The programme offers up to CHF 90,000 each year – for up to three consecutive years – to boost research and development. It now supports a total of eight promising life sciences companies.

Voltiris is a renewable energy company whose technology allows greenhouses to be used not only for crop production, but also to generate electricity. This is possible through the installation of solar modules that allow ‘spectral filtering’: some components of light are used to grow crops, while unused light is converted into renewable energy. This means growers can be more energy-independent, profitable and sustainable.

‘Voltiris has come up with a very interesting offering that combines energy efficiency and production yields,’ said Pierre-Jean Wipff, Innovation and Partnerships Director at Biopôle. ‘We’re thrilled to support this innovative company and to accompany them in the consolidation of their understanding of how spectral filtering can positively drive plant biology such as increased nutritional content.’ Voltiris will use the funds to buy tools that will further its expertise and market its existing solutions.

From left to right: Nicolas Weber, CEO of Voltiris, Nasri Nahas, CEO of Biopôle SA, Jonas Roch, CTO of Voltiris and Pierre-Jean Wipff, Innovation and Partnerships Director at Biopôle.

Meanwhile, Limula has developed a tool to help bring cell-based therapy to more patients. Although cell therapy has huge potential to save lives, production is currently expensive, laborious and highly manual. This means only a small portion of those who need treatment receive it. Limula is building a platform to automate steps in the manufacturing process to increase capacity.

‘We believe smart automation is the only way to make cell and gene therapies widely accessible,’ says Luc Henry, CEO of Limula. ‘Over the past 12 months, the Biopôle Start-up Fund has supported our laboratory activities at StartLab. We will use the fresh funding to build a series of functional prototypes that early adopters can test to collect user feedback.’ The team is on track to build an MVP (minimal viable product) by the end of 2024.

Last year’s grant was pivotal in advancing our R&D and building our first prototype

Antoine Herzog, CEO of Parithera

Parithera’s mission is to save lives by providing a minimally invasive diagnostic instrument that analyses cancer treatment resistance. This will allow clinicians to adjust a patient’s treatment when the current one isn’t working, thus increasing their chances of survival. ‘Last year’s grant was pivotal in advancing our R&D and building our first prototype,’ commented Antoine Herzog, CEO of Parithera. ‘Thanks to Biopôle’s ongoing support, we’re excited to use this year’s funds to fuel data generation and pave the way for our upcoming seed round.’

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 15 December 2023.

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