Press Release 29 January 2021 - Europe becomes more innovative thanks to Dutch accelerator model for medical innovations
Leading regions in the field of health research and development have entered into a partnership to make Europe more innovative. How to develop medical innovations at high speed is shown by the working model of knowledge institute Chemelot Institute for Science and Technology (InSciTe).
This institute was founded 7 years ago with the support of the Province of Limburg. From 2021, their model will be used as a model for the development of medical innovations in European countries, within the framework of the Interreg project Medtech4 Europe.
InSciTe, located at the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, was founded by parties with ambitions in the market for biomedical and biobased materials, including DSM, Maastricht University & Maastricht UMC+, Eindhoven University of Technology and the Province of Limburg. The research includes materials for new blood vessels, materials that enable cartilage to repair itself and grow in the body, and the development of smart medicine containers for the eye.
Creative in approach and funding
InSciTe's working model has been declared a European example because of its unique approach and financing method. Joint development in a shared biomedical lab, where more than 100 experts from companies and academia work side-by-side, has proven to be a creative and highly successful way to accelerate medical innovation. Engineers work closely with physicians and researchers here. They thus increase their knowledge of this market, and can immediately test what works and what doesn't. This reduces the development time of innovations by as much as 1 to 5 years. Thanks to InSciTe, researchers also learn what is important for (later) commercialization. They are also trained and guided in their first steps on the road from researcher to entrepreneur.
To finance the research projects, the institute has successfully brought together various funding streams amounting to 90 million euros: From academia, the regional, national and private sectors, and from the European Union.
Emiel Staring, Managing Director of InSciTe: 'We are very pleased that our InSciTe way of working has been recognized as a best practice in Europe to accelerate the development and clinical application of promising new medical innovations. Our concept can also be successfully applied in other regions to promote regional social and economic development. ‘
Fast track to the clinic
New medical technologies are essential to the future of providing the aging population with solutions that increase their well-being while reducing healthcare costs. However, many medical innovations that could provide solutions never reach the clinic and patients, simply because development is too expensive and time-consuming.
This was a key reason for the Province of Limburg and the other InSciTe partners to establish the institute.
' The Mission-Driven Economic Policy (MDE) puts two missions at the center of its work: Limburg makes Energetic! and Limburg makes Healthy! The development of innovations that contribute to these missions plays a prominent role. The success of InSciTe is also the success of the policy of the Province of Limburg to bring parties together to accelerate innovations to promote the social and economic impact in the region,' says Joost van den Akker, Regional Minister of Economic Affairs of the Province of Limburg.
InSciTe selects the most promising innovations and quickly guides them towards the clinic. This time saving is important in the medical technology sector, where developments follow quickly and global competition is fierce. Because InSciTe actively involves companies in the development phase - 37 parties are now affiliated with InSciTe - there is a greater chance of successful access to the market.
Not only is InSciTe bringing products to market, but new companies are also emerging. For example, a startup is in the process of establishing the knee implant "SyCap" that will be used to replace local cartilage damage in patients' knees. The biomedical working model of InSciTe itself, has now also led to a new company: The biomedical learning/working environment of Medace. In total, InSciTe has now contributed to the development of 9 startups, which have spread across the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus and the Brightlands Chemelot Campus.