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Two entrepreneurs were awarded today at the 2019 Swiss BIC of CERN Technologies at PARK INNOVAARE, in Villigen, Switzerland. Arc Power and TERAPET will be joining the program for the next 2 years to advance space exploration and MedTech.
Five candidates presented their pitches to an audience of invited guests as well as to the Selection Committee. After the pitches and a closed Q/A session with the candidates and intense deliberation, the committee selected two winners:
Arc Power GmbH, based in Switzerland, was incorporated in 2016 and co-founded by Mattia Vecchiarelli and Alessandro Contissa. The product they have designed is the first European hybrid DC/DC converter for space utilization. Radiation-resistant, it is composed of European components only and complies with European Space Agency (ESA) standards. This converter will be designed and manufactured within Europe and supported by ESA and by the Swiss Space agency.
The BIC of CERN Technologies award establishes our company more firmly within Switzerland’s technological environment and also within the space industry. The geographical proximity to the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI will facilitate our collaboration with other start-up companies. We greatly value the access provided to CERN Intellectual Property, as the space environment is very competitive. Mattia Vecchiarelli (Co-Founder)
TERAPET aims to play a key role in advancing the development and future growth of proton therapy. Their non-invasive medical device is able to trace the applied dose of proton therapy and measure its precise location in 3D, in real time and in vivo, thus decimating the risk of side effects and secondary cancers while also enabling faster treatment at reduced cost. The company, also based in Switzerland, was co-founded by Dr. Christina Vallgren, Dr. Marcus Palm and Prof. Raymond Miralbell in July of this year.
This award is an important milestone for us, which we absolutely wanted to achieve – cooperation with CERN. With this award, we are now also closer to the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and its proton therapy centre. With our technology, proton therapy treatment can become even more precise, and thus cheaper. – Dr. Cristina Vallgren, Dr. Marcus Palm
All four partners of the Swiss BIC of CERN Technologies were represented in the Selection Committee: CERN, PARK INNOVAARE, the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, and the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). Additionally, three independent experts from the fields of Intellectual Property (IP), finance and industry sit on the committee.
Following the decision, Dr. Christian Brönnimann, CEO of DECTRIS and member of PARK INNOVAARE’s Board of Directors, said:
Two very exciting and complementary projects have been awarded: Arc Power is closer to market maturity and has very good business potential, TERAPET is a little further from market entry, but very innovative, and we wanted to reward that. The improvement of proton therapy thanks to TERAPET’s collaboration with the Paul Scherrer Institute should enhance the healing of cancer patients in the future.
Prof. Dr. Arie Hans Verkuil, Head of Institute Management at FHNW, says:
Clearly Arc Power and TERAPET present the most convincing mix of technology, innovation and business. Arc Power has a technology that can be applied in a niche market, the space industry, where enough money is available. TERAPET is very innovative, has a lot of potential, and fits in well with PARK INNOVAARE’s theme of proton therapy - it's still a long way from business, but the committee clearly believes in the success of this technology.
The winners of the program will receive a one-time cash grant of CHF 50,000 each and non-monetary benefits such as licensing agreements with CERN and the PSI, continuous business and technical support, and an awareness boost. For more information on the benefits obtained by the winners, please click here.