With today's official opening of Startup Labs Vienna, already an important location for life sciences, is setting new Austria-wide standards in the provision of infrastructure for young research companies. As of now, new cancer therapies and medications for infectious diseases such as Covid-19 are being developed on the 1,100 m2 premises at the Vienna BioCenter in Vienna's third municipal district. Nine relevant start-ups have already moved into the laboratory.
"Vienna is one of the top five life science locations in Europe. With the opening of Startup Labs Vienna, we will be able to consistently hold our own among Europe's research leaders", says Vienna City Councillor Peter Hanke, adding: "With the provision of this state-of-the-art infrastructure, the start-up teams can concentrate immediately on their core tasks and get started faster."
A total of 60 laboratory workstations combined with 30 office workstations are available to researchers at the Vienna BioCenter. The core concept is the "share principle". By sharing the provided laboratory equipment such as sterile workbenches, nitrogen tanks, bacterial shakers or a laundry room for the sterilisation of laboratory materials, start-ups can avoid costly investments. This saves time and money, and researchers can put all their resources directly into the development of their products.
Boehringer Ingelheim also shows exceptional commitment with its Innovation Prize. "Collaborations with start-ups from the life science community are an important element in Boehringer lngelheim's research strategy. We expect to develop some interesting ideas and points of contact with our scientists at multiple levels", says Dr. Guido Boehmelt, Head of Research Beyond Borders at Boehringer Ingelheim RCV. Boehringer Ingelheim is the main sponsor of Startup Labs and is using the BI Innovation Prize to finance laboratory and office workplaces for selected start-ups for a period of one year each.
The first winner of the BI Innovation Prize is Proxygen. This company developed a novel molecular principle that enables the efficient removal of proteins that were previously considered untreatable. This is achieved with a special type of small molecule that can reprogramme the natural degradation of cells to break down specifically those proteins that are the main cause of diseases such as cancer.
Proxygen is breaking new ground in this field of science.
"The Vienna BioCenter is a Europe-wide combination of cutting-edge biomedical research, educational opportunities and an innovative entrepreneurial spirit", says Harald lsemann, Commercial Director of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and Chair of the Vienna BioCenter. "Over the past 10 years we've seen dynamic growth going from a handful to 35 biotech companies. With Startup Labs, we are now perfectly positioned to speed up this positive development even more."
Vienna - a location for excellence in science
Vienna has an excellent scientific tradition in biomedical research and has been growing steadily for years. 554 companies and research institutions employ over 37,500 people in life sciences in Vienna. The companies generated around EUR 12.2 billion in revenue in 2017.
The first life science start-ups at Startup Labs at Vienna BioCenter:
- a:head bio
This IMBA (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) spin-off uses human brain organoids to research new therapies for treating brain diseases.https://aheadbio.com/
Ablevia was founded from the INiTS incubator and is developing a new class of biotherapeutics for the direct inactivation of disease-causing antibodies in autoimmune diseases.https://www.ablevia.com/
- G.ST Antivirals
This spin-off from the Medical University of Vienna is developing therapies for respiratory viruses. Among other things, there is a collaboration with Takeda to research therapies for COVID-19. https://www.gst-antivirals.com/
- Miti Biosystems
Miti Biosystems is developing a platform for discovering therapeutically applicable polycyclic peptides. https://mitibio.com/
This start-up develops immunotherapies for the treatment of rare blood disorders and has an exclusive license from the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine to use mutated forms of the protein calreticulin (CALR) as a therapeutic target. https://www.myelopro.com/
This CeMM (Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) spin-off is developing innovative active ingredients that use the cellular recycling machinery to break down specifically disease-relevant proteins.
- THT Biomaterials
This start-up is establishing a human material-based platform technology for research using cell cultures. https://www.thehumantouch.aV
- QUANTRO Therapeutics GmbH
This spin-off from IMBA and IMP is identifying and developing completely new active principles and drugs for treating cancer and other diseases based on a highly innovative proprietary technology platform. https://quantro-tx.com/