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MedTech Factory as a boost for biomedical companies

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Biomedical companies are given access to Kennispark's high-tech facilities in the form of a MedTech Factory. Jaap Beernink (director of Novel-T) and Michiel Lodder (CEO of spinoff 20Med Therapeutics) explain the how and why of this project. ”We have some catching up to do in terms of systems and facilities.”

Text: Rense Kuipers

Why is this MedTech Factory needed?

Beernink: “At Novel-T, we contribute to the development of an ecosystem in which companies can continue to grow. Half of the UT's spinoffs are active in the medical technology sector, but some of these companies - especially those working in the field of biomedical technology - lack certain facilities. The fact that Michiel's company is largely based in Leiden is a good example of the urgency of this situation. We have some catching up to do in terms of systems and facilities.”

Lodder: “20Med Therapeutics was founded ten years ago by the now professor emeritus of biochemistry, Johan Engbersen. We stuck around at the University of Twente for a long time since then, in part because of our close ties to the department and the facilities available in the Zuidhorst.  More than once, that led to discussions about what we were still doing in Twente.  Nowadays, our laboratory is located at the Bio Science Park in Leiden, where we have access to the facilities we need. However, we continue to make occasional use of the facilities in the Zuidhorst as well. Our company's roots lie in Twente. That is why we intend to have our own lab in the MedTech Factory. We explicitly pushed to get this project off the ground.”

“We intend to have our own lab in the MedTech Factory. We explicitly pushed to get this project off the ground.”
Michiel Lodder, CEO 20Med Therapeutics

What is the project's current status?

Beernink: “There is no doubt that the MedTech Factory will be built at Kennispark. It suits the region's image and Kennispark has already demonstrated its ability to attract businesses in the medical technology sector. We are looking at a number of concrete location options and we hope to welcome the first tenants in about a next year. In the basis, the project's finances have also been taken care of, with €2 million from the Regiodeal and an additional €3.1 million from REACT-EU, an EU corona recovery fund.”

What facilities will be available?

Lodder: “Cellular biology laboratories with an ML-I classification form the foundation; these labs are suitable for most chemical and biological applications and for working with microorganisms that generally do not cause diseases in humans. ML-II facilities are also an option. Although such labs facilitate a wider range of research opportunities, stricter requirements have to be met. The most important thing is to work alongside the lab designer to determine what is needed and feasible.”

Wherein lies the added value of the MedTech Factory?

Beernink: “It does not only have to do with the available facilities. Of course, these do offer businesses the opportunity to grow, stimulate collaboration with knowledge institutions and will give a boost to the regional economy. In addition to the MedTech Factory, we will also launch a lease fund for acquiring specific equipment and we will provide business support and a network.”

Lodder: “The equipment made possible by such a fund are crucial for our company. It will grant us access to equipment that we would never be able to afford on our own.”

Goals achieved after presenting manifest

Last year, the MedTechTwente Investment Agenda was presented. According to Beernink, the MedTech Factory can be seen as a goal that was achieved after presenting this agenda. “We have also set up a medtech fund for early-phase funding, which allows startups to make the jump from proof of principle to proof of concept. A third successful project is the access to expertise pertaining to the implementation of technology and certification.”