Venture Challenge alumni
Find all previous Venture Challenge teams and discover the diversity within Life Sciences. Be inspired by the different start-ups and feel the potential from universities to private companies. In addition, read more about the winners from all Venture Challenges from 2008 up to now. Do you want to know more about the results, then read our 10 year anniversary newsletter.
- Beephonix - Beephonix develops a biomimetic microphone which improves hearing in noisy conditions
- D4 Diagnostics - Differentiate patients that are likely to respond to therapy from those that won’t by quantifying the number of immune cells in the tumor
- Movax - MoVax develops oral vaccines using microalgae
- NatInLab - NatInLab develops promising compounds to battle Alzheimer's disease
- PrecorDx - PrecorDx develops a non-invasive diagnostic platform aimed at reducing hospital admissions and mortality in heart failure
Several studies show that hospitalization can be significantly reduced and disease progression slowed in heart failure patients by monitoring disease progression and adapting medication accordingly. This is currently only possible with an invasive device (CardioMems, Abbott). PrecorDx offers a non-invasive solution to monitor heart failure disease progression. This new diagnostic modality is based on the unique, novel Radio-Frequency Sensing (RFS) technology, which was invented in by Bart Steensma and Nico van den Berg, researchers from the computational imaging group at the UMC Utrecht and patented in 2021. Because of the existing clinical evidence, PrecorDx expects an accelerated time to market by comparing the diagnostic value of RFS directly with its invasive competitor.
- Anatomy Projector - Projected augmented reality makes surgeries go faster and safer
- AutoScriber - A world where doctors enjoy zero admin, truly focus on the patient and never miss a diagnosis
- INBORN - Nanoparticles to cure difficult to treat bone infections
- Iprotics - Our specific proteasome inhibitors treat multiple myeloma effectively without side-effects
- Novuxion - Improve earlier diagnosis and treatment monitoring of metastatic cancer
Iprotics has developed a superior proteasome inhibitor compared to existing therapies. It is their aim to develop these leads to become the first-in-line treatment for multiple myeloma (MM) patients. The unique compounds inhibit with exquisite selectivity immunoproteasomes while leaving constitutive proteasomes intact. MM cells uniquely rely on immunoproteasomes for protein turnover and survival, whereas healthy tissue express constitutive proteasomes mostly. They have proof of concept in cell lines and primary patient tumour cells showing that their compounds efficiently and at low concentrations kill MM cells, but not healthy cells. Iprotics leads are expected to give less side effects and a considerably enlarged therapeutic window, and potentially increase patient lifespan and quality of life.
- Ardim – AI-based medical imaging at the point-of-care
- Encytos – Microstructured inorganic templates for complex cell culture
- QurieGen (Monoceros Analytic) – Quantitative information on the mode of action of drug molecules across multiple pathways
- InnoFluidics(Purecyte) – Liquid biopsy platform for purification and collection of intact CTCs directly from blood
- Trianect (StrokeConnect) – A fast pre-hospital solution for early stroke diagnosis
QurieGens' long term goal is to enable the data-driven discovery of new cellular response patterns and new drug targets. By quantifying the cellular response to 100's cancer drugs and stimuli, they will generate a large data sets necessary to train algorithms that can identify cell-type- or patient-specific responses to drugs, and new drug targets. QurieGen is now taking the first steps towards the algorithm-driven approach by studying the mode of action of four BTK-inhibitors used for B-cell cancer treatment.
- Astherna – A novel therapy for startgardt disease
- Orgonex – Advancing solutions for organoid culture
- Vivart-X – Synthetic extracellular matrix hydrogels for specific cell therapies
- Sella Therapies – A novel therapy for chronic pain relief that targets the body’s internal neuropeptide system
Winner: Sella Therapies
Sella Therapies has developed an implanted, minimally-invasive medical device capable of treating whole-body pain, while also reducing associated anxiety and depression. The device targets the pituitary gland where it delivers small, safe electrical pulses to activate the release of the hormone/neuropeptide oxytocin, inducing a powerful natural analgesic that can mitigate even severe pain. Sella’s approach builds on a historical body of clinical evidence that demonstrates the efficacy of pituitary mediated pain relief.
- 2ndB – Human-like Brain-on-Chip for novel NDD compounds
- SLAM Ortho – The hole-in-one for orthopaedic surgeons
- Myonovum – Humanised muscle models for preclinical testing
- NanoYounique – Everybody their nano body
- Panorama Laboratories – A birds-eye view of your research track
Winner: SLAM Ortho
SLAM Ortho has developed an automated, accurate and fast bore depth measurement system for bone fractures. This has multiple advantages such as: no time lost in (repeated) measurements, no extra x-rays needed, no wasted implants, no extra actions needed and a decreased risk of re-surgery for the patient. The patented technology has been tested on human bones in cadaveric specimens in which it outperformed the manual gauge.
- Scope Biosciences – Accelerating diagnostics with CRISPR-Cas
- MedicalVR – Unique pathways to a Multiple Sclerosis free world
- ShanX Medtech – Towards high-tech antibiotic testing solutions
- PacingCure – Building the future of antiarrythmic gene therapy
PacingCure develops gene therapies for common cardiac arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies, using an innovative precision approach. Their medical products offer patients who suffer from severe morbidity and mortality superior treatment over established implantable and medicinal therapies, and a cure for patients who are currently untreatable. Their in-vivo validated gene therapies are injected directly into a small region of the heart using a simple, minimal-invasive procedure. Using non-dilutive funding, PacingCure has developed proprietary technologies to support a portfolio of products. PacingCure’s team builds on a longstanding track-record with highly experienced clinicians and scientists. With PacingCure’s unique platform and excellent team, it’s their vision to become a world leader in cardiac gene therapy.
- IMcoMET – Leaders in precision immunotherapy
- Incircular – We revolutionize protein engineering
- Goal3 – Smart monitoring for everyone
- Bimini Biotech – Halting unwanted growth for a healthy life
- Levels Dx – Making a new golden standard in diagnosis of bacterial infections
Winner: BIMINI Biotech
BIMINI Biotech aims to deliver proprietary small molecule drug compounds that target the growth hormone receptor (GHR). Using their novel cell-based assays to assess GHR function they have identified and patented a lead compound for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), a growing disease segment with a huge clinical and market need. This compound has shown highly promising in vitro and in vivo efficacy and safety results for TNBC. BIMINI Biotech now aims to leverage this discovery by bringing the compound to the clinic. With a team consisting of a mix of young entrepreneurs, experienced business experts, and renowned scientific key-opinion-leaders they have a combined desire to increase the duration and quality of human life.
- AmbAgon – First-in-class drugs trough stabilisation of protein complexes
- Mission_MS – Unique pathways to a Multiple Sclerosis free world
- Praxa Sense – Easy and accurate long-term monitoring of heart rhythm diseases
- UFO Biosciences – Functional cell selection, better insight, optimal care
- MULTISCREENING – High-throughput data in Vivo
AmbAgon has developed small molecule screening technologies focused on discovering molecules that stabilize the direct interaction of oncogenic transcription factors with so-called 14-3-3 proteins, thereby inhibiting their pathological activities. This approach, to augment the endogenous tumor-suppressing functions of 14-3-3 within different breast cancer types with small molecule drugs, provides for a radically new entry. A method that has been long sought for by the pharmaceutical industry and which is urgently needed in the clinic.
- TargED – Next generation clot busters to change the future of Thrombosis
- NeoStartTrack – Instant feedback on vital signs for a better start in life
- ExoVectory – Optimal delivery to ensure effective treatment of cancer and more
- River Biomedics – Human heart models to improve drug discovery and development
- MedCore – Revolutionising surgery by optimising human-computer interactions
- SeraNovo – Solving the insoluble
SeraNovo’s proprietary formulation platform radically increases bioavailability and allows products to reach the market significantly quicker and at a lower cost. For every drug, SeraNovo creates a purposely designed eutectic mixture and couples it with polymers to create a formulation. When orally administered these formulations create a supersaturated state in the intestine resulting in a significantly higher bioavailability.
- Sagacity Pharma – Easy and affordable drug for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
- Precision Immunomics – Precision diagnostics to prevent arthritis
- Predica – Diagnostics and progrnostics based on targeted RNA sequence profiling
- Hybridize – Novel antiviral solutions to preserve organ transplant function
- SyCap – Biomimetic cartilage implant for the middle-aged knee joint
- Helia biomonitoring – Continuous drug monitoring of septic patients for fast and effective treatment
Hybridize has developed a cost-effective proprietary therapeutic compound that can be intravenously administered to protect the kidney from BK virus-mediated damage while maintaining full immunosuppression. Their novel drug diminishes the generation of infectious BKV by more than 80%, and will delay the need for expensive follow-up procedures, including re-transplantation and dialysis.
- UPyTher – Custom solutions for controlled, local prolonged drug delivery
- Breath Medics – Early diagnose of asthma in children younger than 6 years
- Excoris – Fast and reliable diagnosis for every patient using a human CRISPR based technology
- MarkMyGenes – Screening tools for optimal therapeutic strategy for chronic inflammatory disease
- PlatformFive – Objective measurement of the pupillary light response, anytime, anywhere
- Cyclomics – Detecting cancer recurrence before it’s too late
Each year hundreds of thousands of people die from cancer, mostly due to recurrent disease. To prevent recurrent cancer from becoming untreatable it should be detected as early as possible. Cyclomics aims to detect recurrent cancer as soon as it arises to improve survival of many cancer patients worldwide.
- Momo Medical – Preventing pressure ulcers with smart monitoring
- X-heal Diagnostics – Fast, specific and non-invasive diagnosis of lung infections
- CC-Diagnostics – Security and simplicity in preventing cervical cancer
- Osteomore – Repair bone deficiencies with the help of your immune system
Winner: X-Heal Diagnostics
X-Heal Diagnostics has developed the X-halyzer technology, a patented diagnostic technology that allows specific detection of bacteria from exhaled air within one hour, directly enabling targeted treatment for patients with chronic lung diseases.
- Gen-X – The right promoter for your protein
- BI/OND – biond research, biond soft-lithography and biond in vitro tests: Let’s go biond!
- STENTiT – Pioneers in regenerative stent technology
- AGILeBiotics – Empowering Antibiotic Development
- RadiQual Surgery – Using navigation to cure cancer and improve QoL
Winner: RadiQual Surgery
RadiQual Surgery has developed a worldwide unique product called Logi-Knife that enables surgeons to make use of high quality diagnostic imaging data for real-time 3D surgical navigation during their surgical procedures. Using Logi-Knife, surgeons are able to perform the perfect cut to cure cancer.
- Digest Inn – Offering behavioural coaching with an applied game to improve dietary compliance.
- Mantis – Offering a new approach to tackle cancer based on remotely controllable drug delivery.
- MyMicroZoo – Creating a global community around microbiota and its interpretation for a healthier living.
- TripleT – Offering unique skills to optimize genes in recombinant protein production to the highest possible yield.
- Mercurna – Offering kidney-saving therapies based on targeted delivery of mRNA-based drugs.
Mercurna is developing a first-in-class precision medicine for chronic kidney disease, based on the identification of a unique kidney-targeting peptide. The startup team has already shown in mice, that this peptide, derived from an endogenous protein, is able to encapsulate and deliver mRNA specifically into the cells of the glomerulus, thereby avoiding systemic (side-) effects.
- U-Pact – Platelet diagnostics for better prediction of bleeding risks.
- STENTiT – Life-saving stent technology for pediatric patients with narrowed aorta.
- Novioscan – Wearable ultrasound devices to address continence problems.
- ExBiome – Novel urine tests detecting early stage cancer and predicting treatment outcome.
- Sirius Medical – Accurate and hassle-free tumor localization.
- Karveel (Synamp) – New generation antibiotics to treat drug resistant infections.
Winner: Synamp (Karveel)
New generation antibiotics to treat drug resistant infections. Synamp’s goal is the discovery and development of entirely new classes of antibiotics capable of selectively targeting and killing bacterial cells via novel modes of action. To do so Synamp applies a strategy aimed at identifying compounds capable of binding lipid II, the unique molecular building block of the bacterial cell wall. Importantly, lipid II has no known role in human metabolism but is essential to bacterial growth and survival.
- Breathomix – Providing on-the-spot diagnostic tools to determine patient specific treatment plans for obstructive lung disease.
- Cenya Imaging – Revolutionizes all clinical imaging modalities with a versatile contrast agent, based on a patented nanoparticle.
- CysTmx – Prevents metastasis hence turning cancer into a chronic disease.
- Micellas – Offering a delivery platform with superior therapeutics, flow chemistry proof. Targeted hydrophobic drugs become reality.
- PharmTox – Delivering transporter assays to prevent failures in drug-drug interactions during drug development.
- Sequenomics – Informed decision making in drug development by combining HT sequence data with in silico protein folding information.
Winner: Cenya Imaging (Conquest)
Conquest nanoparticles enable the use of ultrasound for advanced imaging. The nanoparticles are of the right size to accumulate in abnormal tissue with “leaky” vessels. They provide excellent and stable contrast for ultrasound imaging, and can readily be modified to include contrast for other imaging modalities. These unique properties will bring ultrasound to the forefront of imaging in areas currently dominated by more expensive, more difficult and slower imaging modalities such as MRI and CT. This novel nanoparticle technology, providing unique multimodal imaging contrast, will create a revolution in diagnostic imaging.
- Innofuse – Brechtje Riphagen, Marijn Lardinois, Myra Vreede
- FungDX – Paul Verweij, Michiel Gerlagh, Louise Hoppel
- Core Life Analytics – David Egan, Wienand Omta, Constantin Rohde
- Prolira – Rutger van Merkerk, Annemarie Willems, Arjen Slooter
- Cuddle Care – Audrey Ngomsik-Fanselow, Audrey Commons, Jorge Berriatua, Guillermo Ramas
Innofuse targets problems physicians experience on a daily base with drug administration to critically ill and preterm infants. Existing infusion sets inherently induce significant dosage fluctuations and long delays before drugs reach the patient. Innofuse provides a patented solution: an infusion set that guarantees stability and immediacy of drug administration.
- T-Cell Factory – Ton Schumacher, Georg Dössinger, Carsten Linnemann
- EdgeLeap – Marijana Radonjic, Thomas Kelder
- Toxys – Giel Hendriks, Marc Teunis, Harry Vrieling, Mirjam Luiten
- KimerDx – Doug Bost, Maarten Penning, Wietse Mulder, Erik Rozemuller
- Atro Medical – Tony van Tienen, Pieter Buma, Jac Koenen, Frank Smeets
- NutriLeads – Ruud Albers, Agnès Méheust, Annick Mercenier, Nicolas Rachinel, Jerry Wells
Molecular diagnostics start-up KimerDx is the winner of the Venture Challenge Fall 2013, which includes €25,000 prize money. KimerDx develops advanced technologies that allow early detection of rejection or disease relapse in transplant patients.
- Health Potential – Maurice Zeegers, Anke Wesselius, Marleen Jansen
- OrthoGell – Everaldo Redout, Mike de Leeuw, Harrie Weinans, René van Weeren, Janny de Grauw
- Pectcof – Andrea Del Zotto Falascina, Andres Belalcazar, Rudi Dieleman
- Zvision – Fons Verbeek, Alexander Nezhinsky, Astrid van der Sar, Willem Davids
- Omics2Image – Ron Heeren, Chris Retif, Odile Basedow
The winner of the Venture Challenge Spring 2013 and the €25,000 prize money is Omics2Image, they have created the IonPix camera that makes ‘molecular photo’s’ and detects 262,000 mass spectra simultaneously.
- A-Mindset – Damiaan Denys, Ati Kasanmoentalib, Pelle de Koning, Martine van Bennekom
- BioSenz – Johan Oosterheert, Paul Bromberg
- MADBio – Sabina Rebe Raz, Catarina Ferreira da Silva, Shoshy Mizrahy
- BioMap – Joost Kok, Bernard de Bono, Natallia Kokash, Irene Nooren, Art Bos
- Nano-I-Drops – Jan Willem de Vries, Sven Schnichels, Martin Spitzer
The winner of the Venture Challenge Fall 2012 and the €25,000 prize money is Nano-I-Drops, which has developed a drug carrier for eye drops based on DNA nanoparticles.
- CERES – Marjolein Kruidhof, Tania Fernandes, Lisette de Senerpont Domis, Anne Daebeler
- Health-I – Leonie Waanders, Wendy Dittmer, Eckhard Schwenner, Leontien de Roode
- MICure – Rosalie Luiten, Sanne Stembert, Marije Marsman, Esther Tjin, Rick Versteegh
- Protinhi – Bob Scholte, Martin Feiters, Bart Nelissen, Bernd van Buuren
- ReceptomX – Maarten Jongsma, Maurice Henquet, Margriet Roelse
- 3D-Lab – Thomas Maal, Stefaan Bergé, Albert-Jan Mante, Luc Verhamme
The start-up company MICure was named the winner of the Venture Challenge Spring 2012 and took home 25,000 euro to further develop their venture. MICure is developing an effective treatment for melanoma, the most deadly form of cancer.
- Cancer Visuals – Steef Löwik, Laura Mezzanotte, Ivo Que, Marieke Stammes
- Muscabiotics – Rik Grosveld, Dies Meijer, Frank Grosveld
- INCIT Pharma – Andreas Bastian, Semme Moolenaar, Alessio Marcozzi, Anna Hirsch, Andreas Herrman
- Rhecadis(Prognostix) – Ralf Hoffmann, Kalyan Dulla, Gregor Tevz
- Barricade Therapeutics – Arie Reijerkerk, Joost Vos, Wouter Kamphuis
Winners: Rhecadis (Prognostix) and Muscabiotics
The Autumn 2011 edition of the Venture Challenge took a surprising turn when two winners were announced yesterday during the Dutch Life Sciences & Health conference in Media Plaza, Utrecht. Life sciences ventures Muscabiotics and Prognostix will split the €25,000 prize money. Muscabiotics focuses on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in livestock. Prognostix develops innovative diagnostic tests for prostate cancer.
- ChainCraft (Waste2Chemical) – Niels van Stralen, Kirsten Steinbusch, Tim Grootscholten, Angelo de Mul
- PhenoVation – Henk Jalink, Rob van der Schoor, Vincent Jalink, Jan Meiling
- Cell4Pharma – Martijn Wilmer, Bert van den Heuvel, Roos Masereeuw, Alexander Nicastia, Joram Sjoerts
- ACTvaccines – Alex Kersten, Ivonne Galesloot
- Tox-O-Safe – Joost van Delft, Danyel Jennen, Theo de Kok, Christina Mangkoufopoulou
- Mime Medical – Mathijs de Wit, Pieter-Bas Wulms, Gabrielle Tuijthof
During the LifeSciences@work Event in Utrecht, start-up company PhenoVation was named the winner of the Venture Challenge Spring 2011. Using PhenoVation’s innovative CropReporter, the yield and quality of crops can be enhanced by specifically tuning the climate settings in greenhouses to reflect real-time information on crop performance. PhenoVation is a spin-out from the Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture research institute at Wageningen University and Research Centre.
- NightBalance – Eline van Beest, Thijs van Oorschot, Nico de Vries, Belindade Groot
- Biomimiq – Abdoel El Ghalbzouri, Suzan Commandeur, Curt Daniël
- Sec-Cure – Pieter van der Zaag, Anja van de Stolpe, Harma Feitsma, Geert Maertens
- EnCaRe Biotech – Fatih Arslan, Ferhat Isguzarer
- MUSIC – Joris Parmentier, Anthony Brookes, Reinhold Wimberger-Friedl
- NTRC – Guido Zaman, Rogier Buijsman, Jay Iyer, Monique Duyndam, Rik Grosveld
Start-up company NightBalance is the winner of the Venture Challenge Fall 2010, as announced during the Dutch Life Sciences & Health conference in Amsterdam on 8 December 2010. Intelligent sensor for healthy sleeping grasps €25,000 prize money.
- ClearDetections – Hans Helder, Renske Landeweert, Sven van Elsen, Jaap Vuijk and Joke de Jong
- Ironics – Dorine Swinkels, Harold Tsjalsma and Guido Maertens
- MyLife Technologies – Harrie van Baars, Regina Luttge, Svetlana Bystrova, Michel Verhoeven
- Nano-FM – Edwin Schwander, Menno de Jong and Gerald Metselaar
- Preselect Diagnostics – Chris Meijer, Cor Verweij, Saskia Vosslamber and Willem van Wijngaarden
- SafeGluten – Curt Daniël, Frits Koning, Walter Zuijderduin, Jan Wouter Drijfhout and Marije Marsman
New detection method for pathogenic worms clinches €25,000 prize money. ClearDetections, a spin-off from Wageningen University and BLGG AgroXpertus (The Netherlands) has developed a new method to efficiently detect nematodes – minute worms in the soil that cause approximately $80 billion damage annually to agricultural crops worldwide. “ClearDetections convinced us with the clarity of their plan, which addresses a real need in the market. Moreover, they offer a validated solution”, said Alie Tigchelhoff, president of the Venture Challenge jury. “Combined with the quality of the team, ClearDetections delivered the best performance all around.”
- Pluriomics – Stefan Braam, Robert Passier, Ronald Dekker, Anja van der Stolpe, Ehud Hauben
- MAXAM Medical – Jeroen Voorham, Fiebke Op de Macks, Petra van der Zalm
- Ocello – Leo Price: Paula van Rossum, Floor Poot
- Aeolos – Ronald van Brempt, Jeroen Aerssens, Hinrich Goehlmann
- Polaris – Sigi Neerken, Roel Penterman, Reinhold Wimberger – Friedl, Paul van de Wiel
- Angita Pharma (3D Pharma) – Sandy Hogg, Ton Vries, André Heeres, Gunnar Flik, Frits Wijbenga
Winner: Ncardia (Pluriomics)
Yet to be formally established, Pluriomics intends to develop and commercialise predictive human cardiotoxicity screening platforms, based on human stem cell technology. This spin-off company will be housed at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). Key reasons for the jury to select Pluriomics as winner of the NGI Venture Challenge Fall 2009 are that Pluriomics addresses a clear market need with a unique solution, is building strong strategic technological and market alliances, and has a solid team, including an experienced CEO.
- Swan Diagnostics – Jurjen Velthuis, Tolleiv Trimborn, Curt Daniel
- Syntecnos (FarmaScreen) – Michael Richardson, Eric Wielhouwer, Lily Xu
- Solvartis – Jeroen Essers, Jan Schultz, Els Moltzer
- Specific Diagnostics – Renger Jellema, Arjan Brenkman, Rob Vreeken, Bernd van Buuren
- iVitality – Rudi Westendorp, Michael Catt, Nicky Vogels, Simon Mooijaart, Carolien Wijsman
- Silenti Solutions – Karin von Eije, Ted Thederahn, Joris Heus
Winner: Syntecnos (FarmaScreen)
Farmascreen develops biochips for high-throughput toxicity screening. FarmaScreen is an early stage research enterprise that will soon be spin-off from Leiden University. The company will offer a prototype of a patent-pending biochip that can be used as a safety screen in the drug pipeline. It allows automated screening of compounds on zebrafish embryos at medium- to high-throughput. It produces large quantities of high-quality data that can reliably predict a compound’s toxicity, at a fraction of the cost of mouse and rat screenings. The commercial potential of the biochip is high.
- Visimetrix – Eric Kaijzel, Tony Bartlett, Thomas Snoeks, Karien de Rooij, Ineke Oudshoorn, Alan Chan, Clemens Löwik
- µLife Solutions – Bram Brouwer, Hans van Veen, Jos Raaijmakers
- Genovum – Ronald Nanninga, Steef Blok
- CQ Path – Arjan Veenman, Elly de Bruyn, Marcel Kap, Ronald de Krijger
- FluxTrax – Thomas Binsl, Hans van Beek, Koen Verhoef
The first winner of the Venture Challenge was FluxTrax. FluxTrax develops software that determines the local metabolism of living cells using a single tissue sample. Practical applications include determining the extent of damage after a heart attack. This technology launched by FluxTrax provides pharmaceutical companies with a better and faster means of selecting new candidate medicines. FluxTrax is a spin-off in establishment of the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre (NBIC).