Temperatures close to the absolute zero point (-273°C) have important technical and scientific applications, including quantum computing, the study of viruses and proteins, and superconductivity used in medical devices or levitating trains―an area that has been a major field of development. To study objects at ultra-cold temperatures and with atomic accuracy, researchers use cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Currently, users who work with cryo-electron microscopes that require temperatures close to absolute zero have to wait hours for cool-down cycles, which involve unnecessary operational costs while blocking the instrument. Additionally, the usable time in the cold state to perform the experiment can only be maintained for less than 20 minutes―a limitation that prevents scientists from conducting effective research and slows down scientific output.
A five billion Dollar market
CondenZero develops and manufactures a cryogenic sample holder for cryo-EM. The product is based on a novel proprietary cooling technology that is able to cool down samples in less than ten minutes and sustains base temperature for over 24 hours. This allows researchers who rely on cold temperatures to work more efficiently and effectively: They avoid waiting time and costs for cool-down cycles and gain the time needed to properly conduct scientific work. Over a thousand research centers are conducting experiments using cryo-electron microscopy, opening a market estimated at USD 5 billion for condenZero.
Denys Sutter (CEO) and Dominik Rechsteiner (CTO) founded condenZero in 2019 as a spin-off company of the Laboratory for Quantum Matter Research of the University of Zurich in Switzerland. condenZero will use the CHF 150,000 for the development of new products, company infrastructure, and expanding the customer base. This will enable the company to consolidate until the end of 2021 and prepare the production scale-up of their standard product and team growth in the following year.
The start-up is also fulfilling pre-orders for Forschungszentrum Jülich, one of the largest interdisciplinary research centers in Europe. “The Venture Kick process has been a transformative experience. During that full year, the challenging jury and the Kickers Camps helped us tremendously to develop the company and our entrepreneurial skills,” said Denys Sutter, condenZero CEO.
(Press release / SK)
Picture: The condenZero team (from left to right): Prof. Johan Chang (CSO), Dr. Denys Sutter (CEO), Dominik Biscette (CTO)