This Winners Session features the Top 10 Breakthroughs in the Science Start-Ups category. During this session, the entrepreneurs, who are dedicating their careers to create sustainable business to fight climate change and its myriad consequences, will introduce viewers to various topics, including how solar power could provide energy to heat-intense industries, how aquaculture innovation can ensure sufficient food supply, and how a series of material advances, such as carbon-negative material or non-toxic sustainable batteries, can contribute to sustainability strategies. From 3D printing technology that allows medical silicon products (as well as micro- and nanodevices) to further evolve to combatting cancer with the help of AI, the start-ups in this category make it clear that supporting the development of cutting-edge technologies is imperative to innovation. Jury member Frank Kalkbrenner recommends that, while many fields are showing very exciting developments, he would advise investing in “solutions for climate change, material science, digitalization, and biomedicine improvement.“


We are delighted to announce the ten winners in the category Science Start-Ups:


Breaking the Wall to Material Joining
NanoWired has developed four new assembly and connection technologies: NanoWiring, KlettWelding, KlettSintering, KlettGlueing through the joining of electrical components with velcro fasteners, made of nano metallic turf.


Breaking the Wall to Composites
Through their production of innovative thermoplastic coated glass fibres, which can be processed into composites for lightweight components, FibreCoat has found a way to significantly reduce the cost of composites, commonly used as alternatives for steel and aluminium.


Breaking the Wall to Carbon Negative Material
By bringing carbon-negative material, made from low-value biomass waste, into market at scale, Made of Air GmbH has created a solution for combatting climate change by replacing current thermoplastics at a competitive price in both construction and consumer goods.


Breaking the Wall of Limited Supply of Protein
With the demand for protein soon to overcome its supply, Regional Fish Institute, Ltd is working on improving the productivity and value of aquatic products by applying their “high-speed breeding” to aquaculture.


Breaking the Wall of Toxic Batteries
With key innovation in 3 areas: chemistry, materials and design, Offgrid is building novel, sustainable batteries for stationary and mobility markets, using commonly available materials that are both sustainable and non-toxic.


Breaking the Wall of Micro and Nanofabrication
ATLANT 3D has developed the first-ever material versatile atomic layer 3D printing technology. This technology will allow for the rapid acceleration of material development and prototyping of micro- and nanodevices at a fraction of the current cost with previously impossible geometries.


Breaking the Wall of Silicone Manufacturing
Through 3D silicon printing, Spectroplast has created a solution for on-demand personalised medical silicone products that save in material resources, energy and waste.


Breaking the Wall of Cancer, one Cell at a Time
Through AI, Proeona is turning single cell multi-omics, into a weapon against cancer, by profiling tumours at a single-cell level and matching their molecular signatures to drug response data.


Breaking the Wall of Next-Generation Biologics
As a clinical- stage biopharmaceutical company, Ilya Pharma is developing cost-efficient, next-generation biologics for accelerated healing of skin and intestine wounds.


Breaking the Wall of Fossil Fuels
HelioHeat GmbH is the first company worldwide to begin commercialising solar receivers based on the solid particle technology for concentrating solar power plants for energy-intense industries.

FibreCoat produces and sells innovative thermoplastic coated glass fibres, which can be processed into composites for lightweight components. Because of their lightweight construction potential, fibre reinforced plastics are increasingly replacing steel or aluminium in industries such as aviation and automotive. Composites never got a substantial share in mass markets due to their high costs. Re-meltable thermoplastic composite materials can realize competitive cycle times, full filament wetting is a key drawback caused by the high viscosity of the polymer, leading to reduced performance. By integrating the complex FRP production chain into a single step, FibreCoat produces a material that has improved mechanical properties at a reduced price, compared to its market peers. Due to high production speeds and a guaranteed high quality, this material represents a disruptive technological leap for the composite market, which will sustainably transform the usage and spread of composites.

As a spin-off of Technical University of Darmstadt NanoWired GmbH was founded in 2017. Based on over 30 patent submissions, NanoWired has developed four new assembly and connection technologies: NanoWiring, KlettWelding, KlettSintering, KlettGlueing. The core of these technologies is the joining of electrical components with velcro fasteners which are made of nano metallic turf. These globally new processes are used in sensor technology, semiconductors, e-mobility, consumer goods and other areas. In over 50 international companies such as BOSCH, SIEMENS, CONTINENTAL, AUDI, VW, OSRAM, WIKA, NEXPERIA, LITTELFUSE, HONDA, KOA, MURATA, HUAWEI we substitute soldering, bonding, welding, glueing and screwing.

With the increase of population and expansion of middle-class income, the world is facing a “protein crisis”, where the demand of protein will exceed its supply in the near future. Regional Fish Institute aims to solve this problem by improving the productivity and value of aquatic products by applying our “high-speed breeding” to aquaculture. While traditional breeding method usually takes about 30 years to establish one breed, our technology can do this in only 2-3 years. With our distinctive core technology on hand, we hope to contribute to upgrading the aquaculture industry by providing new breeds of fish seeds that meet the needs of consumers and aquafarmers.

Conventionally, silicone products are produced through liquid injection moulding, a process that is expensive, lengthy and wasteful, and is limited to mass production of identical parts. Spectroplast’s disruptive innovation provides the world’s first Silicone Additive Manufacturing (SAM) technology at industrial scale. SAM fulfils a longstanding market need for personalised silicone products and enables for the first time the production of mass customized end-use silicone products that perform identically to injection moulded parts for various markets ranging from general sealing solutions to life-saving medical implants, such as patient-specific heart valve replacements.

Approximately 20% of people worldwide will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Despite tremendous progress in developing precision therapies, 75% of cancer treatment eventually fail, and 9.6 million lives are lost to cancer every year. Why do we still fail to treat cancer? It is because tumors are heterogeneous. Different tumor clones and patient specific immune responses lead to differential therapeutic impacts. Proteona is turning a laboratory tool breakthrough, single cell multi-omics, into a weapon against cancer. We profile tumors at the single cell level, simultaneously collecting gene and protein information. We then use Proteona’s AI tools to compare each tumor profile to a proprietary database, matching those molecular signatures to real life drug response data in order to predict which drugs will kill off all of tumor cells. Proteona’s mission is to tailor treatment truly to the unique tumor makeup of each patient for multiple myeloma and other cancers.

ILYA PHARMA is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation biologics to treat skin and mucosa wounds to validate clinical proof-of-concept. The innovative drug candidates are based on internationally cutting-edge science in immune-physiology and technical microbiology. Ilya has received numerous awards and recognition in the field of advanced therapies, and has so far raised €10 M in private funding and €7 M in grant funding. The company has expanded its team over the last 24 months and is today semi-virtual engaging approximately 40 experts/16 FTEs in the core group and 30 subcontractors and a large group of advisors chaperoning the developments.

Thomas Edison once said “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.“ We, HelioHeat, a high-tech startup from Offenburg, Germany, are right on tackling that immense source of power from the sun! We deliver key components for power plants and enable the supply of guaranteed and flexible renewable energy, such as electricity, industrial high-temperature process heat for e.g. steel production or low-temperature process heat for e.g. pasta production.

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