Support for concrete printing robots and cancer-killing drugs


The Venture Kick jury awards MOBBOT and Araris Biotech 130,000 francs each to accelerate the engineering startup and drug-discovery spin-off's speed-to-market.


The two projects show the broad spectrum of the Swiss start-ups scene. MOBBOT was started by a founder with a lot of industry experience and is active in the building industry: Araris is a classical biotech spin-off from two world-leading research institutions. MOBBOT: custom-made concrete printing MOBBOT’s mobile robots print bespoke concrete components exactly where builders need them. The Fribourg-based startup’s rapid, 3D-printing technology saves construction companies time and resources by working on-site. The system, developed with Germany’s famous orange KUKA robot arms, makes mass-customized concrete products directly at the construction site. By using conventional materials, and without requiring any costly molds or formwork, MOBBOT’s tech reduces builders’ costs by 40 percent, and accelerates delivery to one day, instead of one month, founder and CEO Agnès Petit says. MOBBOT was a winner of Venture Leaders Technology in March, when Petit traveled to Silicon Valley to meet and pitch her technology to U.S. investors. The startup will complete prototyping and target first sales from beta users this year. “Venture Kick helped us focus our business model on recurring revenue and gave us visibility among investors. We’ll use its financial support to showcase MOBBOT at construction industry conferences and trade fairs, visit customers and revamp our marketing,” Petit said. Araris Biotech: improved antibody-mediated drug delivery Araris has developed a technology to improve current antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and focuses on anti-cancer applications. Attaching drugs to antibodies means toxic chemotherapeutics can be delivered to cancerous tissue precisely, sparing healthy parts of the human body. With their proprietary ADC linker technology, Araris’ drug attachment is simple, highly controlled and has the potential to accommodate various drug combinations. This significantly improves the ADC’s safety and efficacy, and also makes manufacture more-straightforward. “Araris has the potential to become a powerful drug development platform able to enter large commercial markets and address the great unmet medical needs with proprietary ADCs, by helping to overcome limitations seen with conventional ADCs now in clinical testing,” CEO and co-founder, Philipp Spycher, said. The spin-off from the Paul Scherrer Institute and ETH Zurich is currently testing its proof-of-concept as a prelude to collaborations with biotech partners and investors. “It’s important to further evaluate and substantiate our current knowledge of our linker technology by means of versatility, blood plasma stability and efficacy and toxicity,” Spycher said. Araris has already gained major traction and signed several feasibility study agreements with large pharma companies interested in evaluating the ADC technology. Founded in January 2019, the company is raising a tranched Series A round to start the projects, to build a skilled and powerful team, and to complete the expertise with key opinion leaders in the ADC field to join their scientific advisory board. (Press release) Left picture: MOBBOT founder and CEO Agnès Petit, and CTO Thomas Ribeaud. Right picture: Araris Biotech co-founders Isabella Attinger-Toller (VP Translational Research) and Philipp Spycher, CEO.