After 2 years of remote meetings, the alumni startups of the 4C Accelerator Tübingen finally met in person on October 6. At the same time, we welcomed the teams of the new accelerator round in the MII community. The goal: promote exchange of experiences and foster collaborations – both among the startups and with the invited network partners.
The 4C Accelerator Tübingen, which the Medical Innovations Incubator (MII) organizes together with the Stiftung für Medizininnovationen since 2020, is now taking place online for the fifth time. This has definite advantages: teams from all over Germany and beyond can participate in the program and receive further training from our internal and external experts.
Nevertheless, nothing beats personal contact and so the desire for a face-to-face meeting was great.
At the beginning of October, the time had come. 23 startups from the MII community traveled to Tübingen to participate in the first “4C Alumni Gathering”. Founders from Lübeck, Bremen, Berlin, Magdeburg, Düsseldorf, Munich, and all over Germany made that journey. Moreover, important partners from our network did not want to miss this opportunity, including Startup BW, EPflex, ForTra by Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, Kreissparkasse Tübingen, and VOELKER & Partner.
Opening by Foundation and MII
The program was opend by the Stiftung für Medizininnovationen. Since founder and chairman of the foundation, Prof. Eberhart Zrenner, was absent due to illness, his second hand, Christian Dorn, took over his greeting about Prof. Zrenner’s painful experiences as a founder in the healthcare industry
“We no longer get public research funding because the prototype is ready and the proof of concept has been experimentally proven.
But there is no private investment yet because we can’t show successful patient use yet.
Regulatory feedback is taking forever, but we are only funded for the next 3 months.
We have finally achieved health insurance reimbursement after 15 years, but it is limited to 6 implantations per year and must be reapplied for annually.”
To support founders on this sometimes arduous path, Prof. Zrenner established the Stiftung für Medizininnovationen in 2014. This also laid the foundation for the MII as its 100% subsidiary.
Ingo Hämmerle, CEO of the MII, then gave a review of the development of the incubator and also took look into its future. Always in sight: the foundation’s goal of promoting innovation in the medical life sciences. Not only will there be further runs of the internationally sought-after 4C Accelerator Tübingen, but individual services will also be developed and implemented specifically for the support of startups.
Hans-Georg Rammensee on the relevance of knowledge translation
The highlight of the stage program was the keynote by Prof. Hans-Georg Rammensee on the “Development of Innovative Cancer Immunotherapy” and the successes and setbacks he has experienced on the way to patents. Prof. Rammensee is considered a pioneer in T-cell immunology and a trailblazer in mRNA vaccine development. At the same time, he knows about the importance of knowledge translation. Knowledge must not stay in universities and its transfer must not stop at the patent application but must reach patients. He has not only assisted companies such as CureVac, Immatics Biotechnologies, and Synimmune in their foundation, but has recently founded a company himself together with Juliane Walz and Karl-Heinz Wiesmüller: ViferaXS GmbH. At almost 70 years of age, Prof. Rammensee thus sent a clear message to the founders among the guests: founding a company in the medical life sciences and the arduous path that goes with it are always worthwhile!
Speed dating, exchange, and get-together
One thing should not be missed out at the “4C Alumni Gathering 2022”: the exchange among each other. Within the “Startup Speed Dating” the founders met in 10 rounds of 5 minutes each. In this way, experiences could be exchanged, possible commonalities identified, and points of contact explored.
Parallel to this, the participating network partners discussed the question: How can we better support medical life science startups in Baden-Württemberg? Funding for studies, mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs, growth promotion after EXIST, combining competencies in one place, and providing (laboratory) space – just a few of the measures discussed.
At the subsequent get-together, founders and network partners together rounded off the evening with a buffet, drinks and a round of table curling.
“A very successful event with interesting conversations, a fresh format and a relaxed atmosphere“, said Dr. Christoph Pfefferle des BioMedTech e.V.
We from the MII are also more than satisfied with the first “4C Alumni Gathering” and grateful – both for the great startups in our community and for the network partners, whose support made this event possible. We are already looking forward to the next time!
We sincerely thank our partners for their support
Start-up BW of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg, EPflex Feinwerktechnik GmbH, ForTra gGmbH of the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, Kreissparkasse Tübingen, and VOELKER & Partner mbB
Alber GmbH, BioMedTech e.V., BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, Companisto GmbH, MBG Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Vetter Pharma-Fertigung GmbH & Co. KG, WIT Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft Tübingen mbH, and Wörwag Pharma GmbH & Co. KG.