BaselArea.swiss, the office for promoting innovation and inward investment for the northwest cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Jura, today launched Switzerland’s new healthcare startup accelerator BaseLaunch. Harnessing the Basel region’s unique position as a global life sciences hub, as well as its rising popularity among investors and a program tailored to healthcare entrepreneurs, BaseLaunch is looking to attract the next generation of breakthrough companies. Healthcare start-ups can apply from today. “BaseLaunch aims to support the best healthcare innovators and offers them fast access to founder-friendly venture grants, insights, industry access and state-of-the-art infrastructure. We want to enable and individually guide them to become fully embedded into the life sciences value chain,” explained Alethia de Léon, Managing Director of BaseLaunch, at a press conference in Basel today (picture above).
The accelerator program provides participating teams with infusions of funds, insight, infrastructure and industry access, and integrates them into one of the most dynamic biotech and pharma ecosystems in Europe. BaseLaunch is supported by healthcare partners Novartis Venture Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Pfizer as well as other public and private partners including universities. As the designated healthcare vertical of digitalswitzerland’s Kickstart Accelerator and a partner of established public and private bodies, BaseLaunch is closely aligned with key national and regional initiatives.
Financial support of up to CHF250’000
The program is focused on pre-seed and seed stage start-ups from Europe and consists of two phases, which extend over a total of 15 months. During the first phase, lasting three months, entrepreneurs work closely with the BaseLaunch Team as well as a network of entrepreneurs-in-residence, advisors and consultants to further develop their business cases. Financial support through BaseLaunch can be as high as CHF 10,000 per project. Up to three startups accepted for the second phase will receive the opportunity to secure a one-year grant of up to CHF 250,000 to generate data and reach business plan milestones in the labs at the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area.
600 life sciences companies in the region
The Basel region is one of the world’s most important centres of the life sciences industry. With Roche and Novartis, two of the five leading global pharmaceutical companies have their origins and global headquarters in Basel. Along with Actelion (founded in 2000 and sold in January 2017 for $30 billion to Johnson & Johnson) there are 600 other life sciences companies and biotech start-ups in the region. First-class research institutions, such as the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, the University Hospital, the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) and the Departement of biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of ETH Zurich, go to cement the reputation of Basel as a leading life sciences hub. This dense academic and industrial setting and the availability of venture capital also provide the ideal hotbed for the creation of new companies.
Top class selection committee
BaseLaunch accepts applications for the inaugural acceleration program cycle until June 30, 2017. Additional program cycles will start in late 2018 and 2019. A Selection Committee of industry experts will handpick the ventures invited for each program cycle. Members of the committee are Dr. Fabian Buller, Director New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Dr. Phillipe Dro, CEO, NeMoDevices, Trudi Haemmerli, CEO and Director, PerioC Ltd, Managing Director, TruStep Consulting GmbH, Dr. Anja König, Managing Director, Novartis Venture Fund, Dr. Alex Mayweg, Venture Partner, Versant Ventures and Dr. Nathalie ter Wengel MD, European Head External R&D and Innovation, Pfizer.
“A healthy and well-endorsed startup scene is necessary to bolster and further expand the elite position of Switzerland’s exceptional life sciences economy,” stated Domenico Scala, President of BaselArea.swiss. “Switzerland has much catching-up to do in this regard and BaseLaunch is a strategic initiative to fill this gap.”
“The expertise of BaselArea.swiss in connecting innovators and supporting entrepreneurs enables BaseLaunch to be extremely focused on the unmet needs of healthcare startups while at the same time contributing to the excellent Swiss innovation landscape, particularly in the life sciences arena,” added Dr. Christof Klöpper, CEO of BaselArea.swiss.
Image: BaselArea.swiss / Matthias Mangold