During the Grand Finale of the UT Entrepreneurial Challenge, entrepreneur and UT alumnus Jeroen Wissink received the Van den Kroonenberg Award. This award, which spotlights entrepreneurs with ties to UT who have launched a successful start-up, is awarded annually by the Twente University Fund.
Wissink graduated from UT in 1997 with a degree in electrical engineering and nanotechnology. As serial entrepreneur, he then held various roles at a number of successful companies, including Medspray and Nanomi. He also co-founded U-Needle and became CEO there in 2017. Wissink was awarded the Van den Kroonenberg Award in recognition of his contributions to all the companies he has been involved in, as well as for his major contribution to the development of the MESA+ Nanolab and the UT High Tech Factory.
U-Needle produces intradermal microneedles (needles used for superficial injections) that are very sharp and precise. The patented needles are produced using nanotechnology manufacturing processes available in the MESA+ Nanolab and the High Tech Factory. These facilities have allowed U-Needle to develop the Bella-mu, a family of microneedles for the intradermal administration of medicinal products that can be used in a variety of therapies, such as cancer immunotherapy treatments, prophylactic vaccinations, botox treatments and hyaluronic acid injections.
Last year, during the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, Bella-mu intradermal vaccination proved to be 500% more effective than standard intramuscular vaccinations. In contrast to muscle tissue, the skin is rich in dendritic immune cells that trigger the body’s immune response, enabling more effective, lower-dosage treatments.
The Van den Kroonenberg Award for excellence in entrepreneurship is awarded to entrepreneurs who have a clear connection with the University of Twente and who have proven themselves through good entrepreneurship. The award, which is awarded by a jury consisting of entrepreneurs and UT researchers, is a tribute to former rector magnificus Harry van den Kroonenberg, who played a crucial role in establishing the University of Twente’s entrepreneurial reputation. The Van den Kroonenberg Prize was awarded for the 38th time this year on behalf of the Twente University Fund. The winner received 4,500 euros and a sculpture by Mohana van den Kroonenberg.