Hydrohm, Impetus Academy, Flamingo Therapeutics, QustomDot, MRM Health, ExeVir, Radion-D, and Animab. Names that might not immediately ring a bell. These eight Ghent University spin-off companies have only just taken off. Even so, their impact should not be underestimated, as we learn from Wim Van Camp, general manager of Ghent University TechTransfer, and the researchers who took a daring leap into entrepreneurship in 2020.

Wim Van CampCoaching researchers with our Venture track

‘We try to recruit researchers across the various faculties to valorise their research,’ says Wim Van Camp. ‘Via the Venture track we coach entrepreneurial researchers in order to convert innovative research into a commercial product or technology and guide them in determining their valorisation strategy. For this we also call on our business developers financed by the Industrial Research Fund, who are very familiar with the value chain from technology to product in various industrial sectors.'

This intensive preliminary process means that our spin-offs are optimally prepared when they are set up, which not only results in a very high chance of success but often in rapid growth as well. - Wim Van Camp of Ghent University TechTransfer

How researchers-cum-entrepreneurs experience the setting up of their own spin-offs? 

‘As a researcher you’re mainly committed to research, which means you have little time to make that practical translation. Then the research remains research, and in practice people go on struggling with the same problems while the answer is actually available,’ according to Nathalie Aelterman of Impetus Academy. ‘New scientific insights provide oxygen for practice, and conversely, practice also provides ideas and data for further research. That’s not an obvious or automatic translation. As a spin-off, we want to build a bridge between science and the professional field.’

We’ve experienced personally how difficult it is to accomplish that practical translation from research, how big the gap still is between research and practice today.

Kim De Nolf, CEO of QustomDot, is also very enthusiastic. ‘It’s hugely encouraging to see groundbreaking research getting the chance to develop further in an entrepreneurial context. The fact that we can bring a piece of nanotechnology closer to the market is a great honour for us.’

All new spin-offs are making a difference in their respective domains. 

  • QustomDot uses environmentally friendly quantum dots to improve the quality of LED displays. 

  • Impetus Academy helps companies and organizations move forward. Grounded in evidence-based HR, Impetus Academy contributes to improving employee motivation and the organizational culture as such, as well as to achieving strategic goals such as productivity, personnel retention and turnover.

  • Hydrohm focuses on the electrification of water purification. With the development of Uridis it has originated a treatment technology that removes the valuable components from urine (phosphorus, nitrogen and salts) and immediately reuses them in the disinfection of toilets.

  • Animab develops edible antibodies to prevent infectious diseases in animals.

Health is a common denominator for... 

  • Flamingo Therapeutics develops new treatments to combat different types of cancer.

  • Radion-D focuses specifically on improving the treatment of breast cancer. With the Prone Crawl Breast Couch, the latter has developed an innovative prone platform that offers the patient greater comfort and stability while halving the risk of side effects.

  • MRM Health is researching our own 30 trillion human cells and 100 trillion microbial cells / microbiome-based therapeutics in order to use them as so-called LBPs (Live Biotherapeutic Products), which can help to prevent or treat disease.

  • ExeVir ExeVir develops therapies that help patients to ward off viral infections. The company has evolved a platform technology that facilitates a flexible response to new health threats thanks to its short throughput time in generating drug candidates.


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