Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UZH Life Sciences Fund Invests in First Spin-off

30.08.2017

The recently created UZH Life Sciences Fund is making its first investment, putting one million CHF into CUTISS, a young company aiming to bring bioengineered skin grafts to market. The fund will be investing in further spin-offs with the goal of accelerating the transfer of UZH research findings into practice. The UZH Life Sciences Fund is financed by equal contributions from the UZH Foundation and the Novartis Venture Fund.

CUTISS is a company with a vision: To use personalized skin grafts to heal people all over the world with skin defects, including burn victims. The UZH spin-off has developed a novel procedure whereby a postage-stamp-sized biopsy of healthy skin is harvested from the patient. This is then bioengineered to create a skin graft around 70 times larger in size in around a month. The skin produced in the lab and subsequently transplanted is elastic and grows with the patient. It is expected to result in less scarring than with conventional grafts and to provide a significantly better quality of life for patients.


Personalized skin graft to treat skin defects

Picture: ©Wyss Zurich

Taking development to market maturity

While the ground-breaking idea and its underlying innovative technology are in place and the first clinical safety trials have been successfully completed, the skin substitute – unique anywhere in the world – isn’t yet ready for market. The production process has to be automated to enable the skin grafts to be used on a broad basis. This will require further investment – which is precisely where the UZH Life Sciences Fund comes in. With an investment of one million Swiss francs, the fund is enabling CUTISS to take the next steps in moving its business forward and accelerating the development of a marketable product.


“This funding will enable us to tackle the challenge of automating the process for cultivating skin, allowing us to produce skin grafts more quickly and cost-efficiently,” explains CUTISS CEO Daniela Marino, a biologist whose research into novel skin substitutes goes back to 2009. The method for producing personalized skin transplants was developed by the Tissue Biology Research Unit of the Department of Surgery of the University Children’s Hospital in Zurich.


Accelerating the transfer of knowledge into practice

CUTISS is the first spin-off in which the UZH Life Sciences Fund has invested. Over the next six years the fund plans to provide start-up financing for further young companies, focusing on UZH spin-offs in life sciences and biotechnology with business ideas based on research done at the university. UZH supports entrepreneurial researchers within its ranks who are launching start-ups. The aim is to accelerate the development process of spin-offs, which have a particularly hard time raising funds in the early phase of their life cycle.


“It takes a long time to develop marketable applications, especially in the life sciences, and clinical trials are expensive,” says Michael Hengartner, UZH president and a member of the UZH Life Sciences Fund board. “The UZH Life Sciences Fund accelerates the transfer of research findings from UZH into clinical practice, which ultimately benefits patients and the public at large.”


Two equal partners with a shared goal

The UZH Life Sciences Fund involves two equal partners: the UZH Foundation and the Novartis Venture Fund. “We share the goal of promoting innovation in the Swiss life science and biotechnology sectors,” explains Anja König, Global Head of the Novartis Venture Fund. Investment decisions are made by a committee comprising equal numbers of representatives from the UZH Foundation and the
Novartis Venture Fund.


The fund aims to amass a total of 20 million Swiss francs, with the two partner funds contributing half each. The UZH Foundation’s share of the funding will come from donations. Three million francs have been raised so far; seven million still have to be found. The Novartis Venture Fund matches the contributions raised by the UZH Foundation. Any revenues flowing back from the spin-offs remain in the UZH Life Sciences Fund for investment in further spin-offs.

Innovation at UZH

Pure research provides fertile ground for innovation. UZH is one of the most innovative universities in Europe. Many successful discoveries at UZH have been translated into new products. More than 100 spin-offs have been established at UZH since 1999. These new companies have a very high rate of survival, with more than 94% still in operation after five years. UZH also has a portfolio of more than 300 licenses in the fields of biotechnology, medical technology, information and computer technology, and multimedia.


UZH Foundation

The UZH Foundation seeks donations and bequests from private individuals, foundations, and companies to achieve its fundamental goal of promoting excellence at the University of Zurich. By giving support, donors become part of the ground-breaking work done by University of Zurich researchers. Donations to the UZH Foundation accelerate the progress made in research and education, bringing benefits to society at large.

http://www.uzhfoundation.ch/en/

http://cutiss.swiss/

www.nvfund.com 



Contact:
Media Relations
University of Zurich
Tel.: +41 44 634 44 67
E-mail: mediarelations@kommunikation.uzh.ch


Daniela Marino, PhD
Cutiss AG
Tel.: +41 76 230 80 46
E-mail: daniela.marino@cutiss.swiss

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2017/UZH-Life-Sciences-Fund.html

Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht New insight into the brain’s hidden depths: Jena scientists develop minimally-invasive endoscope
27.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Photonische Technologien e. V.

nachricht New China and US studies back use of pulse oximeters for assessing blood pressure
21.11.2018 | University of British Columbia

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>