Merck: The Accelerator Program starts again! – Get to know the new startups

The startups for the 4th round of our Accelerator Program in Darmstadt and the 3rd round in Nairobi are primed and ready to begin their residency at the Innovation Center.

The startups from the Accelerator in Darmstadt:

(The new teams will be spending the next three months working on disruptive innovations in the fields of Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials. Each startup will get up to 50,000 € in funding, and individual mentoring and coaching from several internal and external experts.)

ATR Elements
This startup from Munich, Germany, makes infrared spectroscopy – which is used for blood testing – much cheaper and more efficient. The team, headed by Alex Geißler, Lorenz Sykora and Anja Müller, has developed the core component necessary for IR spectroscopy. They made the carrier from low-cost, highly sensitive silicon crystal. ATR Elements’ crystal will make blood & biofluid analysis cheaper, more hygienic and more accurate. The ATR crystal is more sensitive than current solutions and works with smaller sample volumes.

Ectica Technologies
The team from Zurich, Switzerland led by Dr. Benjamin Simona and Dr. Vincent Milleret develops hydrogel-based laboratory products, such as the 3DProSeed plate that enables pharma companies, CROs (Contract Research Organizations) and academic labs to carry out preclinical drug discovery on a new level. Drug research at the moment is mostly conducted on 2D cell cultures, but they differ from human tissues significantly and can give distorted results. The hydrogel-based consumable products by Ectica Technologies allow researchers to create a 3D cell culture for cell-based assays that closely emulate the normal conditions of cell cultures in the human body.

INURU is a startup from Berlin, Germany working in the field of Performance Materials. The co-founders, Marcin Ratajczak and Patrick Barkowski, developed an ink for regular printers that allows them to print OLEDs. OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) are a recent innovation, which allow the creation of thin and flexible light-emitting displays that can be used, for example, to make printed advertising more dynamic. INURU’s ink offers a solution to the high cost and complex production of OLEDs.

TOMMI is a product developed at the Merck Hackathon Rome 2016 – an interactive, experience-based therapeutic game for children in cancer care and their caregivers. The game is designed to act as a constructive outlet for loneliness, stress, and rage in hospitalized children and foster cooperation and sharing between the patient and caregiver outside of a directly clinical context. To this end, the game is structured in immersive levels using the latest technologies, such as virtual reality, and caregiver input is crucial to complete some tasks. Additionally, the game can be used as a patient-friendly way of administering tests and monitoring the patient.

The startups for Nairobi:

Peach Health Technologies
The startup Peach from Accra, Ghana created a mobile, cloud-based electronic medical records system for hospitals and healthcare providers in developing countries. Transporting physical medical records risks them being lost or damaged in the process. Missing pieces of a person’s medical history could mean that doctors overlook vital information in the detection or prediction of diseases. The team, headed up by Cobby Amoah, Qwame Akpalu, Oteng Kwame Appiah Nti and Charles Kunene, is developing a cloud-based and scalable software platform to collect, store and access the healthcare information of patients. Community health officers will be able to find all the information they need to detect complications quickly and precisely anywhere, any time. Peach Health Technologies began their entrepreneurial journey at the Merck Hackathon in Accra where the team was formed which led to one of the spots at the program.

RxAll, from New Haven, Connecticut, US, addresses the proliferation of counterfeit drugs which results in about 100,000 deaths in Africa every year. Pharmacists often don’t have the means to test a medicine’s validity. The RxAll team, led by Adebayo Alonge, is developing an AI platform that should solve this problem. Pharmacies will be able to authenticate medicine through the platform, which uses an artificial intelligence with the capacity for deep learning to improve spectrometer readings in the field, providing realtime feedback about changes in drugs. In addition, the pharmacies can order and verify the medicine directly from the manufacturers through a digital procurement platform.

The fourth startup, from Atlanta, Georgia, uses a powerful data platform as a solution to solve the complexity of global health supply chains. Secure Data Kit, led by Jared Malan, is a tool that makes it easy to collect data anywhere in the world from a variety of sources in order to track specific supply chains, for example, organ donor programs. In addition, the SDK provides visibility, metrics and workflow diagrams for more in-depth information. Health organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry, can use the software to improve their data management and support their goals by tracking supply chain logistics, for instance.


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