MESA+ University of Twente
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Volume 3, 2014

The Twente company Ostendum is developing a lab-on-a-chip that will allow doctors and parame­dics to quickly perform on-the-spot analyses of, for example, blood, urine or saliva. An interview with managing director Paul Nederkoorn about the technology, the market and society.

The example

“Suppose someone collapses on the street. The ambulance arrives and takes the patient to the hospital. It takes an hour for the analyses of the blood test to be known. It then becomes clear that the patient did not have a heart attack, and may not have to go to the hospital. With the portable lab-on-a-chip that Ostendum is developing, a doctor or paramedic would have been able to determine blood values upon which an informed treatment can start immediately whereby the patient would not have had to go to the hospital in many instances. About a quarter of the people who are suspected of having a heart attack would not have had to go to hospital after all. And the opposite also occurs: people with vague symptoms who appear to actually have had a (mild) heart attack. Our instrument provides a quick answer.”

The instrument

“It started with Aurel Ymeti’s doctoral research at MESA+. He invented a chip with channels through which liquid can flow. In such a channel, you can introduce a particular type of antibody in advance. When your blood flows through the channels, proteins from the blood bind to the antibodies. With the aid of laser light, we can determine the amount of protein that bonds with the channels. In this way, we can deduce the concentration of the protein in the blood and obtain the blood values. Aurel is now technical director. And his wife, who has a PhD in biomedical sciences, also works for the company.”

The logo

“Ostendum in Latin means ‘must be demonstrated’. And ‘Ost’ of course also refers to Twente, the east of the Netherlands. The striped pattern in the logo shows that our device detects optical interference.”

The application

“We currently have a table-top model that is being developed further. Our aim is to reduce the size and weight of our device so that it is truly portable; that the chip, laser and detector all fit into a briefcase or bag. The calculations can be performed with a laptop, a tablet or a telephone.”

The market

“It helps a lot that major players like Achmea and De Friesland Zorgverzekaar support us. Such institutional investors make us an even better partner for pharmaceutical companies or companies that produce diagnostic medical equipment.”

The social impact

“In our industry it takes on average more than ten years to go from idea to marketable product. We have now been working for over five years, so we are about halfway. Ultimately, the goal is to produce a portable analyzer and an inexpensive disposable chip. A fast, accurate diagnosis saves lives on-the-spot, promotes patient care and produces cost savings for society.”

NAME: Paul Nederkoorn (1967)
POSITION: Managing director of Ostendum ( This MESA+ spin-off is working on a lab-on-a-chip that will enable medics and paramedics to quickly perform on-the-spot analyses of, for example, blood, urine or saliva. In 2013, Achmea and De Friesland Zorgverzekaar acquired a stake in the company that is located in the High Tech Factory on the University of Twente campus
PREVIOUSLY: Nederkoorn graduated from the VU University Amsterdam in medicinal chemistry (with distinction), chemistry (with distinction) and business law. During his PhD in medicinal chemistry, he became research group leader and lecturer. He then took up employment with Shell. Since 2007, he co-founded and has participated in the development and investment firm UT International Ventures. The aim is to bring high-impact products from the academic setting to the market
MESA+... ‘Ostendum builds on MESA+ doctoral research’