BaseLaunch startups: From gene therapies to digital measurement

The first phase of the BaseLaunch Healthcare Accelerator program is now underway. 13 startups ranging from therapeutics and diagnostics to digital healthcare and medtech have been selected to work with industry experts to develop their business cases over the next three months. Several Swiss companies were selected. 

More than 100 projects from over 30 countries were submitted to the BaseLaunch accelerator program from The submitted projects ranged from therapeutics and diagnostics to digital healthcare and medtech. Instead of 10 as originally planned, the selection committee chose 13 promising projects, which will now proceed to Phase I. "The innovation potential of the project proposals was impressive," says BaseLaunch Selection Committee Chairwoman Trudi Haemmerli, CEO of PerioC Ltd and Managing Director of TruStep Consulting GmbH. “We look forward to seeing how the chosen project teams fine-tune their business cases during Phase I.”

The submitted projects bringing new approaches for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's or novel immunotherapies to innovative drug delivery methods and next-generation gene therapies for cancer treatment. Other projects focus on new diagnostic procedures for finding cancer biomarkers or revolutionizing the detection of neurological diseases by deploying digital measurement methods.

The 13 selected projects include:

CellSpring (CH) – analyzes human cells grown in special 3-Dimensional environments to develop newtools for diagnosing early-stage cancer.

Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals (CH) – is committed to the development of a promising new drug class to treat autoimmune disorders affecting the nervous system.

T3 Pharma (CH) – develops the next generation bacterial cancer therapy.

ABBA Therapeutics – develops therapeutic antibodies against novel targets for cancer immunotherapy.

β-catenin project – aims to develop novel therapeutics for the treatment of colorectal, lung, liver, breast, brain and ovarian cancers by removing pathological proteins from the human body.

Eyemove – strives to detect early-stage neurological diseases through eye-tracking.

The SERI project – develops new medicines to treat anxiety and stress related disorders by modulating the activity of cannabinoid molecules in the human body.

SunRegen (CH) – develops novel drugs for neurodegenerative diseases.

T-CURX – aims to exploit its unique ‘UltraModularCAR’ platform to provide best-in-class immunotherapy.

TEPTHERA – offers individualized therapeutic cancer vaccines.

TheraNASHdevelops precision medicine for fatty liver disease (NASH) - a rising cause of liver cancer world-wide.

VERSAMEB is a regenerative medicine research and development company.

One biotech in stealth mode is developing novel Immuno-Oncology drugs.

"We have chosen the most promising projects. Additionally, selected projects should benefit as much as possible from BaseLaunch and its regional life sciences ecosystem," says Alethia de León, Managing Director of BaseLaunch. “We paid particular attention to a sound scientific and technical foundation, a high level of innovation and the entrepreneurial potential of the founding team.” Alethia also commented on the productive and collaborative selection process with representatives from healthcare partners that included Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novartis Venture Fund, Pfizer and Roche. "Our discussions during the selection process were very constructive," she says.

The 13 startups have already started the three months program. They will develop their business ideas with the support of the BaseLaunch team, a number of experienced entrepreneurs and consultants. In this first phase, up to CHF 10,000 will be available for each of the projects.

The selection committee will then select three of the Phase I projects to progress to Phase II. This phase lasts for 12 months, with each project receiving funding of up to CHF 250,000. The selected project teams in Phase II will also have access to the BaseLaunch Lab in the Swiss Innovation Park Basel Area, where they will be expected to achieve important research milestones and further develop their business cases.