Falling Walls Science Start-Up of the Year 2019: Felix Biotechnology named best research-based start-up


  • Biotech firm Felix Biotechnology wins the Falling Walls Venture competition
  • Falling Walls awards the prize to start-ups that combine research expertise and entrepreneurial excellence in unique ways
  • The winning team will present their business model once again, this time at the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November to an audience of some 700 leading thinkers from across research, industry, government and civil society

Berlin, 9 November 2019. Felix Biotechnology has won the Falling Walls Venture competition, which took place on 8 November in Berlin. The San Francisco–based company was named Falling Walls Science Start-Up of the Year 2019 for its research on managing infectious diseases. The jury was particularly impressed by their innovative use of phages to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

With just a five-minute pitch, Felix Biotechnology beat out 27 competitors. In addition to the award, the winners will also get the chance to present their innovative business idea at the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November to a large audience of Nobel Laureates, investors, decision-makers and media representatives.

“It’s fascinating to see how research findings can be channelled so quickly and with such professionalism into areas of application that are so relevant for our society, especially medicine, environmental protection and all the other important emerging technologies,” says Dr Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and chair of the Falling Walls Venture jury. In his eyes, the competition clearly demonstrates that science and entrepreneurship need not be at odds with one another.

The jury panel also includes Nicole Pelletier-Perez, Angel Investor, Femme Business Angels; Frank Kalkbrenner, Global Head, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund; and Arunjai Mittal, Mentor and Advisor, German Accelerator.

A total of 28 science-based start-ups from 17 countries presented their business ideas and innovations at Falling Walls Venture in Berlin. In addition to Felix Biotechnology, the two other winners of this year’s competition were the Indian start-up Kanpur Flowercycling and the Canadian company Medo.ai, taking top honours in the categories Sustainability and Engineering of the Future, respectively. Felix Biotechnology won in the category of Healthcare. Kanpur Flowercycling is developing a sustainable alternative to Styrofoam, and Medo.ai uses artificial intelligence to improve diagnostic ultrasound.

All finalists in the Falling Walls Venture competition were nominated by top universities and leading research institutions around the world, including Technische Universität Berlin, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Indian Institute of Technology. After reviewing all submissions, the Falling Walls Panel of Experts invited the 28 most promising start-up companies to compete in the finale in Berlin. The international competition is an initiative of the Falling Walls Foundation and is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim and the Berlin Senate Chancellery for Higher Education and Research. The chief aims of Falling Walls Venture are to highlight the entrepreneurial potential of science and research and to connect science start-ups with major investors.

More information at: www.falling-walls.com/venture


ABOUT THE Falling Walls Foundation
The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Berlin. The foundation creates international and interdisciplinary platforms and networks through its annual Falling Walls Conference, which asks each year on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall: Which walls will fall next? At the conference, 20 leading researchers from around the world present their latest breakthroughs in the natural sciences, humanities, business and technology to an audience of around 700 decision-makers and innovators in politics, research, industry and civil society. The Falling Walls Foundation also organises Berlin Science Week, which bring scientists from institutions all over the world to Berlin from 1 to 10 November. A further initiative is the Young Entrepreneurs in Science programme, which trains doctoral researchers to translate their research into a potential business idea. The Falling Walls Foundation is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Berlin Senate, as well as by numerous national and international research institutions, foundations and companies. www.falling-walls.com


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