Progressing towards market entry with InnoBooster

The selection committee for the InnoBooster program has selected four startups that will each receive CHF 150’000 to propel their development and launch. Their solutions enable the needless administration of drugs, air quality monitoring and detection of cancer cells with a 3D histography platform. In the imaging sector, a new Single-Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) camera technology will enable high-frame rates at low data rates.

The InnoBooster program is an initiative of the Gebert Rüf Stiftung that provides university-based high-potential projects with a grant of CHF 150’000 to support the development of their solution. The new selection this year includes four projects from students at three Swiss Universities.

Transire Bio (Obaris) | Nevena Paunovic | ETH
Every day, millions of patients need to administer painful injections to manage diseases like diabetes and osteoporosis; however, one in four people is afraid of needles. In response to this challenge, Transire Bio developed the OctoPatch®—a small, needle-free patch inspired by an octopus sucker that can be easily self-applied to the inner side of the cheek, where it stays for a short period of time before it is removed. Combining a gentle stretching of the barrier with natural permeation enhancers, the OctoPatch® enables the efficient absorption of the drugs into the bloodstream. Applications for the technology expand to various injectables with minimal waste production.

Aerospec | Nikunj Dudani | EPFL
Developed and patented technology that measures the exact chemical composition and source signatures of Particulate matter (PM), an environmental hazard responsible for 4.2 million premature deaths annually, with 400,000 in Europe alone and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the «single largest environmental health risk». Chemical makeup and sources of aerosol pollution emissions are challenging and costly. AeroSpec has made autonomous infrared spectroscopy of PM possible with a breakthrough in aerosol collection technology, providing comprehensive and actionable information to allow data-driven policymaking. The startup’s advancements have garnered huge traction from large-scale monitoring networks for outdoor pollution and various industries for indoor pollution. The latest interest is from NASA-JPL, who are eager to engage in a pilot demonstration.

IMAI Medtech| Francesca Catto | University of Zürich
Traditional 2D methods, limited to analyzing a small part of tissue samples, often miss crucial details, leading to misdiagnoses in complex diseases like cancer. IMAI offers an advanced 3D histology platform that integrates robotics, electrical engineering, biology, and medicine, providing a new approach for rapid, accurate detection of cancer cells, aiming for a 98% detection rate to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce false negatives. The platform allows for comprehensive views of cellular structures, enabling more precise diagnoses and personalized treatments. IMAI's vision is to revolutionize tissue analysis, enhancing cancer diagnostics and patient care, and advancing medical research.

NovoViz | Andrei Ardelean | EPFL
Drones have changed how many people work, from farmers monitoring their crops to engineers inspecting bridges and directors creating the next blockbuster. The duration and distance a drone can fly depends on several factors but, importantly, on how much additional weight and power consumption comes with the equipment it has to carry. The development of SPAD (Single-Photon Avalanche Diode) cameras has opened up many new possibilities, as they can work in extremely low-light conditions and at high speeds. SPAD cameras allow drones to capture and process images in real time, but all the benefits come with a cost – a large amount of output data, increased power consumption, and demands on hardware. NovoViz developed a new camera which uses SPAD technology and is designed only to send out relevant information and essential data, hence reducing power consumption tenfold. This means a drone with all the benefits of a SPAD camera, but one that’s energy efficient and lighter.

Image: rawpixel via FreePik