Among other things, the degree of innovation, competitive advantage and commercialization of the submitted concepts were evaluated. The award is organized by the Wirtschaftsinitiative Baden-Württemberg: Connected e.V. (bwcon e.V.) in partnership with the Startup-BW state campaign, which is supported by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism.
Aptamimetics was founded in 2020 with the aim of developing novel and cost-effective high-tech raw materials such as bioactive aptamers for the biotechnology industry. Bioactive aptamers are able to recognize and activate target structures, such as cellular receptors, in a highly specific manner. They can therefore be used as fully synthetic analogs to existing proteinogenic growth factors. In combination with their stability, batch homogeneity and freedom from biological risk, bioactive aptamers are therefore suitable as more cost-effective, synthetic growth factors for serum-free biotechnological production. They could be used for the production of modern cell-based products such as cell and gene therapies, therapeutic antibodies or cultured meat.
The biochemist Castonguay and the pharmacist Siegert currently use laboratory and office space at Hahn-Schickard and at the Chair of Application Development at the University of Freiburg. Both sides benefit from this cooperation not only through the spatial connection, but also through the professional exchange.
"We are incubating the Aptamimetics team because we believe that aptamers can play a major role in the search for cost-effective alternatives for cultivating large quantities of biological cells," says Prof. Roland Zengerle.
In addition to the prize money of 10,000 euros each for the winning teams, the nine finalist teams receive a professional presentation video, undergo intensive coaching as part of the Entrepreneur School and are prepared by experienced mentors. In addition, all participants in the competition benefit from the large bwcon network with numerous new contacts, particularly with relevant companies and investors.