After 4 months of intensive work, the 14 science-based business projects that participated in COHiTEC 2016 were publicly presented today.
This year, more than 90 participants were involved in COHiTEC, including researchers, management students (from Porto Business School and Nova SBE) and mentors. The 14 participant projects, from the fields of biotechnology, life sciences, cleantech and industrial tech, were developed at the universities of Coimbra, Lisboa, Minho, Nova de Lisboa, Porto and Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro and at Fraunhofer Portugal, Fundação Champalimaud and LNEG.
Lets meet the 14 graduates:
Human milk is unique and breastfeeding is widely regarded as the gold standard for infant nutrition. When breastfeeding is impossible, it is desirable for infant formula t closely match the functional activities of breast milk. However, the production of mimics of human milk oligosaccharides is very difficult, costly, unstable and time consuming. 3Sugars aims to solve this market need with its new prebiotic ingredient for infant formula, which mimics human milk oligosaccharides in a cost-effective and stable manner.
Oil spills are direct consequences of oil exploration and severely impact the environment, affecting both ecosystems and society in general. An effective and fast response is needed to remove the oil and avoid further environmental consequences. Chemical dispersants have been a primary choice for oil spill response despite their toxic effects for marine life. Here we propose a biodegradable and nature-inspired solution produced from renewable resources, to be used on contaminated water reducing the level of toxins in the environment and preserving the ecosystem.
BLOOD REPROGRAMMING TECHNOLOGIES (MiStem)
Each year, 3.5M people are diagnosed with leukemias, bone marrow failures and other blood disorders with clinical indication for Blood Stem Cell (BSC) transplantation. However, only 60,000 transplants are performed worldwide each year due to the lack of accessible and compatible BSCs. Blood Reprogramming Technologies developed MiStem, patient specific Blood Stem Cells with capacity to produce blood cells for patients who need a transplant. Easily obtainable skin cells are reprogrammed in a 6-week process to generate MiStem, which are compatible, free of tumor cells and blood-borne pathogens. Unlike currently performed BSC transplants, MiStem is available for everyone and avoids waiting for a compatible donor.
This clean platform technology delivers antibody-like polymeric particles, with specific lock and key affinity to target molecules. The aim is to develop and commercialise new purification solutions for the pharma industry. Their products are obtained as easily handled powder that can be packed into chromatographic and gravity driven columns and other separation devices. These plastic antibodies present affinity bindings similar to natural molecules but are cheaper and more robust, do not need cold storage, are reusable and present a high efficiency/cost ratio. They will compete with typical used adsorption resins and protein-based columns, offering tailor-made purification solutions, designing specific products for specific impurities.
Amps-RT is a salmonella spp. detection kit for the food industry that can be automated. The major advantage over the competition is that their kit is faster and breaks present detection limits. Current assays require up to 5 days while Amps-RT gets results in 1-3 hours. This protects public health while saving time, money and clients’ reputation. Amps-RT is a breakthrough platform technology functioning as an add-on to today’s diagnostics. This benefits its quick adoption and allows it to be universally applied to earlier detection of bacteria, virus, or cancer biomarkers in the future.
ln developed countries, 1 in 14 patients and 1 in 3 intensive care patients acquire infections during their hospital stay, with 37 000 patients dying in EU each year. Prevention is the most effective strategy. Vaporisation of Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) technology is the gold standard of bio-decontamination. dryVHP is the next generation of VHP technology: faster, more effective and less expensive. dryVHP will disrupt the hospital cold-sterilisation chain, a €630 million market with a 10% growth rate.
Four out of ten people in western world have high levels of cholesterol in blood. This has been related with the development of cardiovascular disease, being one of the major causes of death. To tackle this problem, FightSterol is developing new functional food that reduces cholesterol. The project’s first food will be a modified coffee, since the team has identified coffee nutrients as some of the most promising in the reduction of cholesterol.
FRAUNHOFER TECH (SMART ULM)
SMART ULM is a retrofittable smart device for legacy meters, designed for water and gas utility providers, who want to receive frequent readings in order to improve the accuracy of billing forecasts. The solution integrates with existing utility providers’ information systems, improving the accuracy of forecasts and hence customer satisfaction. It provides also a platform for new customer’s services. Unlike other currently available retrofittable meters like ITRON, SMART ULM is a low cost solution that does not require complex installation or communication infrastructure.
Mindreach provides a way of controlling devices with brain waves alone, impacting a wide range of markets from health to gaming. The technology is based on state-of-the-art scientific findings on the capacity of the brain to learn new skills. They are developing a solution to record brain signals non-invasively (EEG), implemented in a portable and wireless end-to-end product that translates brain activity into a signal to control a wide variety of external devices. Their dedicated game training protocols will render you the capacity to learn how to control objects in an accurate, fast and precise way, taking full advantage of your brain’s potential.
MitoDlETS enhanced natural antioxidants are designed as active ingredients for cosmetics. They fight one of the main causes of skin ageing, the oxidative stress derived from pollution, UV radiation and metabolic unbalance by effectively targeting the most affected organelles, the cell powerhouses called mitochondria. This targeting allows specific mitochondrial accumulation up to 5000x greater than conventional antioxidants, resulting in a much higher protection and rejuvenation of the skin cells with safer, smaller dosages.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. This devastating and life-threatening disease is difficult to diagnose and affects 5 million people worldwide. Late diagnosis is associated with higher rates of health care utilisation, with an average cost of $12,643/year/patient. ModProt diagnostics discovered EndoMark, a lupus specific biomarker that can be detected at the early stages of the disease. By enabling the early lupus diagnosis, EndoMark will improve the therapeutic efficiency and the life quality of patients.
NeuroPsyCAD is a software service that improves neurologists, psychiatrists and imagiologists confidence in clinical decision-making by providing them with unique reports comprising timely, quantitative and highly accurate individual patient risk information regarding neuropsychiatric disorders.
The OCP-TEC team proposes a control and optimisation software for the formulation of animal feed, called Opti-Mix. This software is based on mathematical theory, more concretely, on optimal control and modelling knowledge. The product was born from the need to reduce production costs and to know which is the ideal time to buy raw material taking into account their price fluctuation.
SPAWNFOAM® BIODEGRADABLE POTS are new technology-driven products used to improve the success rate of the planting process, giving plants all they need to survive at different stages of their lives. SPAWNFOAM® is a new biocomposite, based in fungal growth in multiple substrates, and a substitute to petrochemical material. This product is a response to current environmental concerns, since it is made from biological and renewable sources, contributing to the transition to a circular economy.
A free training program in technology commercialisation aimed at supporting the valorisation of the knowledge produced at Portuguese R&D institutions. Throughout COHiTEC, participants have access to training in technology commercialisation, with weekly classroom sessions and seminars covering topics such as team management, product idea generation, intellectual property, legal issues, financials, business models and business plan development; support by management students and mentors, who contribute with their management skills, experience and networking to the development of the project; and monthly meetings with professors from the North Carolina State, Brown and Rutgers Universities, who developed a technology commercialisation methodology adopted by COHiTEC.