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Valorization of research

Translating scientific knowledge into impactful solutions for patients and society is a core task of UMC Utrecht. We support researchers and other professionals with valorization and funding from the Research Support Office , our participation in Utrecht Holdings and UtrechtInc among others, and via program such as Ureka Mega Challenge .

Licenses and startups Utrecht Holdings

Within Utrecht Holdings a total of fifty new ideas for innovations were further elaborated in 2023 and twelve patent applications were filed for initiatives from UMC Utrecht. As a result, five licenses were granted for the marketing of innovations from UMC Utrecht.

In 2023 five licenses were granted for the marketing of innovations from UMC Utrecht.

In 2023, Utrecht Holdings invested in three new UMC Utrecht startups via the Utrecht Health Seed Fund , namely:

    • Phlox BV . With the help of gene therapy, Philox BV relieves and cures various heart diseases.

    • Cordys Analytics BV . Cordys Analytics BV enables revolutionary heart treatment by giving doctors and patients seamless access to AI diagnostics for electrocardiograms.

    • Fair Therapeutics BV . With the help of personalized medicine, Fair Therapeutics BV provides accessible drugs against cystic fibrosis.

In December 2023, Utrecht Health Seed Fund concluded the investment period. A new fund was launched in 2024: Utrecht Holdings Seed Fund.

New UtrechtInc startups

In 2023, the startup incubator UtrechtInc was able to welcome two new startups with an UMC Utrecht background (founder of IP) in its program and startup ecosystem. These were:

    • DoDerm , a company that offers natural skincare for animals that repairs the skin.

    • Cell-XS , a flexible platform which ensures that gene therapy can quickly target diseased cells in the body and thus cause less side effects for patients.

TKI grant from Health~Holland for AI labs

The top sector Life Sciences & Health of in 2023 made € 7.5 million available via Top Consortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) grants for projects initiated at UMC Utrecht. The TKI subsidy is a financial incentive for researchers to set up innovation projects in collaboration with companies.

Part of the TKI grant (€ 4 million, of which 2 million came from the TKI grant of 2022 and 2 million from the TKI grant of 2023) has already been used to give financial support to five AI labs to help them get started. Each lab received € 800,000. These artificial-intelligence (AI) labs at UMC Utrecht initiate public-private projects to find answers to social issues with the help of AI and data science. In the AI labs researchers from various disciplines develop new knowledge and applications, together with experts from public and private organizations, authorities, and other knowledge institutions. The five labs focus four Accelerators in our Connecting Worlds strategyHealthy Living , Imaging and Guided Interventions , Molecular Science,  Living Technologies , and AI methods .

The remaining 5.5 million was allocated to protects that had submitted a grant application via a call. This include a project on new diagnostic modality PrecorDX and the Discover E3 project. In Discover E3, in cooperation with Oncode Institute , research is conducted on the use of degrading proteins (multispan E3 ligases) for the targeted breaking down of membrane proteins in cancer. The Lipid Five project also received a grant. Here an extra substance is added to nano-drugs, such as certain vaccines, which can considerably improve the performance thereof.

A new public-private cooperation concept by UMC Utrecht also received support from Health~Holland. In the UMC Utrecht Bachelor Research Hub a group of 20 bachelor students in Biomedical Sciences worked for 10 weeks on a research question from the biotechnology company Genmab. The project, in which research was done on new starting points for the treatment of cancer, created a synergy between research, education, and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. The students developed their academic and research skills and got a peek into the engine house of a company. Genmab gained new knowledge that will help to improve immunotherapy treatment of cancer.

Innovations by colleagues

In the innovation program Ureka Mega Challenge we support colleagues in turning their innovative ideas into actual products, tools or work processes that will improve the quality of care both for the patient and for the healthcare professional. 2023 was an anniversary year for the Ureka Mega Challenge: It was the tenth time we organized the challenge and we got to select nine great ideas .
In February 2024, the jury chose four finalists:

  • HeLLO : a liver model that can predict the toxicity of medication for the liver, which helps to develop safe drugs.

  • JAMA: the use of natural nanoparticles to target medication safely at sick cells, which helps to treat diseases (more effectively).

  • PERFECT FIT : perfectly fitting 3D printed ventilation masks for patients who are ventilated for extended periods, which avoids sores due to pressure and prevents air from escaping.

  • R-KEY : a small dividing open-end wrench that can quickly and easily separate feeding tubes from the feeding system to prevent them from getting damaged unnecessarily.

The final show takes place on June 5, 2024, with a festive touch especially for the anniversary.