2016

InSciTeYear in review

Growing

Stronger

With great pleasure we introduce to you the annual review of InSciTe in 2016. Already our second report. Many have contributed to the successes of InSciTe. Thanks to their continuous commitment and enthusiasm we could achieve what is presented here. Wishing you an enjoyable and inspirational read.

The start of InSciTe: building bridges
Dr. Emiel Staring
Managing Director of InSciTe

"Proud

of
what has been achieved”

‘InSciTe has had a very good year,’ says Emiel Staring. ‘We've made good progress and our results are increasingly being seen and appreciated by others. We are all very proud of this.’

Read more
“One sometimes finds
what one is not looking for”
Alexander Fleming
Twan Beurskens
Member of the Provincial Executive for Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure for the Province Limburg

"The icing

on
the cake”

Institutes such as InSciTe lend Limburg stature, says Twan Beurskens, the Province of Limburg provincial executive member responsible for economy and knowledge infrastructure. ‘I hope Limburg will be an innovation leader within five years. InSciTe is a key element in this plan. It is the icing on the cake of our knowledge infrastructure.’

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Emiel Hensen (TU/e), Peter Hilbers (TU/e), Thomas Cleij (UM) Hans van den Hombergh (DSM),
Wim Klop (DSM), Albert Scherpbier (UM, MUMC+), Bert Kip (Chemelot Scientific Participations)

Board


changes

In 2016, there were some changes in the board. Albert Scherpbier, Dean FHML of UM, is now chairman. Wim Klop, Chief Technology Officer a.i. and Hans van den Hombergh, represent the DSM organization. Thomas Cleij, as Dean Sciences, joined from the UM as board member for the biobased program. Emiel Hensen, as Dean Sciences from the TU/e, took over the role of Jaap Schouten.

Biobased

Facility

On May 25, 2016 the BioBased multi-purpose plant facility was officially opened. This multi-purpose facility for scaling up chemical processes enables InSciTe to bring the development and production of new biobased building blocks to the next level. It offers an ideal space where top scientists and entrepreneurs work together to realize and test novel equipment and processes.

The opening was officially done by Twan Beurskens, Member of the Provincial Executive for Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure for the Province Limburg. He stated :

“I am proud to open the doors of this new facility where cutting edge technology of InSciTe and FLowid is made available on Brightlands Chemelot Campus. This is another milestone to strengthen the knowledge economy in Limburg.”
5256
hours open, since the official opening
Realising a dream
Realising a dream
Realising a dream

Biomedical

Facility

In spring, the offices of the Biomedical facility were completed. The flexible working spaces and conference rooms were ready to be used by the project members. We welcomed the start up company Neuroplast, who are developing cell based therapies, as a new partner in InSciTe. Together we are accelerating the development of the infrastructure and quality systems within the facility. We also continued to invest in new equipment for the users of the biomedical laboratories.

Realising a dream
Realising a dream
Realising a dream
960
centimeters fibre on the electrospinner
Chris Duxbury
Manager of the Biomedical Facility of InSciTe
Ekkehard Lang
Project Manager at Neuroplast

"The Umbrella


of InSciTe”

InSciTe and Neuroplast are teaming up to develop a Matrix QMS (quality management system) facility, following GMP (good manufacturing practice) and ISO 13485:2016, the internationally recognized QMS standard for the medical device industry. Raymond Mulleneers, QA manager biomedical materials, Chris Duxbury, manager of the biomedical facility, and Ekkehard Lang, project manager of Neuroplast, are working together to set up this Matrix QMS.

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“Our Cells are your future”
Neuroplast
Kurt Gielen
Business Development Manager Biomedical at InSciTe
Hans de Munter
CEO of Neuroplast

"Sharing

is the
new having”

InSciTe has opened up the biomedical facility to third party companies who want to make use of the infrastructure and share knowledge. Neuroplast is a start-up on the verge of offering stem cell therapy to patients. Together they have entered a partnership to acquire the necessary permits and approvals for creating a matrix facility. Their motto – ‘sharing is the new having’ – will be the driving force behind their innovations for patients.

Read more
Judith van Gorp
Research Scientist at DSM
Célèste Tillemans
Student Biomedical Science

"Dream internship

at XS-GRAFT”

InSciTe wants to contribute to the creation of a well trained workforce for the region, in part by providing internships. Célèste Tillemans, a Biomedical Science Student at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, found her dream internship working on the XS-GRAFT project.

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Participants Educational Program of InSciTe in 2016

Name of training Provides the training Duration Courses Participants
IP Guidelines DSM ½ day 1 14
Regulatory Awareness DSM ½ day 1 14
GMP basic training Avans+ 1 day 1 15
Intellectual Property in Innovative Science UM (faculty of law) 2 ½ days 1 13
IPR-Intensive Entrepreneurship UM (faculty of law) 2 ½ days 1 12
Medical Devices:
CE marking and FDA regulatory approval pathways
Mikro-centrum 2 ½ days 1 12
IPR-Intensive Entrepreneurship UM (faculty of law) 2 ½ days 1 12
From process flow diagram to piloting CTMC 1 day 2 > 50

~

“The teachers of the courses are inspiring and there is a nice dynamic between them. Furthermore there is good stimulation of interaction between students and teachers. It was very clear and easy to follow.”

Student of the IP Guideline course

Jan Harm Urbanus
Program Manager ‘Sustainable Chemical Industry’ at TNO
Jan Kees van der Waal
Program Manager ‘New Biomass Conversion’ at Avantium

"From biomass

to profitable products”

Avantium, TNO, and InSciTe are working together on a technology portfolio for the production of aromatics from biomass. The pooling of knowledge and sharing of facilities is essential to ensure that products from biomass are not more expensive than petrochemical products. And if they can be made economically viable? Then the future looks bright.

Read more
Jeroen Konings
Pilot Plant and operations manager at InnoSyn B.V.
Wessel Hengeveld
Process Engineer & Director of FLowid B.V.

"Forging ahead

together”

The step from lab to large-scale production is a difficult one, but essential for persuading potential customers and lenders. The collaboration between InSciTe and FLowid shows how this hurdle can be overcome by joining forces.

Read more

Highlights of 2016

1

Apr

Realising a dream

Opening of Biomedical offices

14

Mar

Realising a dream

Approval Interreg BIO-HarT

25

may

Realising a dream

Official opening Pilot Plant facility

11

Aug

Realising a dream

Status report resulting in 2nd tranche funding of Province of Limburg

29

aug

Realising a dream

Partnership Neuroplast

3/4

nov

Realising a dream

First annual meeting ‘ building bridges’

Statistics

The degree of success and what has been achieved is often expressed in numbers and graphs. We at InSciTe also like to give a little insight to show what we have achieved in 2016 and what foundations we have already laid toward our future.

The year 2016 in numbers

Partners

Funding

Empowered by

Capitalizing on our strengths in 2017

In 2017 we leave the start up phase behind us. Some of the projects will enter a crucial phase. Biobased projects by proving scaling up in the Multi purpose pilot plant works. Biomedical projects by making the translating towards clinical trials. We are looking forward to an exciting year with new partnerships and collaborations.

Acknowledgements

This annual report was made possible thanks to the support and advice of many individuals and partners. We would like to thank them and we are looking forward to continue working with all involved parties.

We would love to keep in contact!

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"Proud of what has been achieved"

‘InSciTe has had a very good year,’ says Emiel Staring. ‘We've made good progress and our results are increasingly being seen and appreciated by others. We are all very proud of this.’

Dr. Emiel Staring

Managing Director of InSciTe

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Development

Emiel sees three stages in the existence of InSciTe: ‘The first stage is the start-up: establishing the foundations. This stage is now behind us. We have a solid foundation beneath our feet. Our financiers, first and foremost the province, asked us midway through 2016 to show how good a start we've made. The result was our midterm review report. When you see all the results brought together, it's clear just how much has already been accomplished. For the province the report was the impetus to fully allocate the promised 30 million euros. We conducted a road show to present the content of the report and the results to other partners and investors. Our intention was to let them share in the successes and our sense of pride. For me, the delivery of the report marked the conclusion of the start-up phase.’

Making good on promises

On to phase 2. ‘This is where we make good on all the promises we have already made. This way when we reach the end of the first financing round we will have reached the desired result,’ says Emiel. ‘This means managing projects to get the desired result for people and society, adding fitting projects to the portfolio, and attracting additional partners.’

Important steps towards these objectives were already taken in 2016. ‘We opened the biobased pilot plant facility, our second major facility. It is already being eagerly used, and the biomedical facility is abuzz with activity. We also make a point of involving third parties. We've entered into a partnership with Neuroplast, and there is a long list of other interested parties who would also like to partner with us in the Biomedical facility. At the same time, we are strengthening our ties with our researchers and partners. We held our first annual meeting, with the aim of creating a tight-knit community. The participants were extremely enthusiastic and their feedback on the meeting was very positive. The number of partners has grown, and the InSciTe team has grown as well. We now have our own payroll. In February 2017 we hired our first employee ourselves. That was a nice milestone and has made us even more enthusiastic about working towards our future.’

Strategic long-term perspective

Phase 3 runs parallel to phase 2 and involves the development of a strategy for InSciTe after the first financing round ends in 2019. ‘How will we then develop InSciTe further, and how will we finance those plans?’ says Emiel. ‘In 2017 we will largely establish the strategy so that in 2017 and 2018 we can begin seeking out partners and financiers interested in working with us to achieve those goals and willing to invest. We will do all this while the existing programme is ongoing. It will be a gradual transition.’

‘We are very proud of what has already been achieved,’ concludes Emiel, ‘and it's getting better every day. As time goes on others are going to begin to recognize this too. Moving forward, we'll be giving it our all to continue producing results as positive as those we've achieved so far.’

Realising a dream
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"The icing on the cake”

Institutes such as InSciTe lend Limburg stature, says Twan Beurskens, the Province of Limburg provincial executive member responsible for economy and knowledge infrastructure. ‘I hope Limburg will be an innovation leader within five years. InSciTe is a key element in this plan. It is the icing on the cake of our knowledge infrastructure.’

Twan Beurskens

Member of the Provincial Executive for Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure for the Province Limburg

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‘To achieve sustainable economic development a knowledge-based economy is essential,’ says Twan Beurskens. ‘As a region you can only achieve this in those areas where you are taken seriously in the international arena. Limburg can certainly consider itself a powerhouse in the fields of chemistry and materials. So it is fantastic that we have a translation & research development institute such as InSciTe, which serves as an essential bridge between education, research, and the business world in the area of biobased and biomedical materials. Along with the various Brightlands campuses and AMIBM (Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials) we have a very strong footing in this regard. The province, as founding father, is therefore investing heavily in InSciTe.’

Positive results

Twan Beurskens is positive about the results InSciTe is achieving. ‘Their mission is a challenging one, but they are certainly doing it well. In short order they have established a strong reputation in the research world and industry. I feel the latter is important, because in addition to developing basic knowledge we must also work on technology transfer. Of course innovation costs money up front, but the intention is for InSciTe to be self-sustaining in the long term. That is why it is good to see that they are attracting co-financing. The province is also lending a helping hand. I represent the province in many European programmes, and when InSciTe puts forward appealing projects I can take pride in the Limburg input. I also promote InSciTe within the business world, but they are the ones who must actually make good on their promises.’

Strong region

‘Stimulating innovation and valorization is very important for strengthening our competitive position and making our region more attractive for companies,’ says Twan Beurskens. ‘It also has a positive impact on employment.’

'The development and research projects conducted by InSciTe attract highly educated knowledge workers from around the globe. Naturally we hope they choose to remain here in the region and, in turn, provide additional employment. In this way InSciTe contributes to the sustainable economic development of the province of Limburg and our ambition to be an innovation leader a few years down the road.'

Realising a dream
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"The Umbrella of InSciTe”

InSciTe and Neuroplast are teaming up to develop a Matrix QMS (quality management system) facility, following GMP (good manufacturing practice) and ISO 13485:2016, the internationally recognized QMS standard for the medical device industry. This Matrix QMS combines different components that external partners should be able to choose from, such as an infrastructure, staff, and quality systems. Raymond Mulleneers, QA manager biomedical materials, Chris Duxbury, manager of the biomedical facility, and Ekkehard Lang, project manager of Neuroplast, are working together to set up this Matrix QMS.

Chris Duxbury & Ekkehard Lang

Manager of the Biomedical Facility of InSciTe & Project Manager of Neuroplast

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‘There was a need from both sides to partner up in developing a quality system,’ explains Chris. ‘At InSciTe we see a market need for a party that provides expertise and experience in the area of quality systems to emerging small companies. We also need a product to go through the process to prove that the quality system actually works and fits the purpose. Neuroplast helps us to prioritize and meet deadlines.’ Ekkehard continues, ‘Neuroplast is developing an Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP), a drug that is made from the patients’ own cells. For a small company it is a huge challenge to set up a facility framework plus a quality management framework. Thanks to InSciTe we have an infrastructure in which we can make our plans and prototypes real as well as a few extra shoulders over which we can spread the workload. Getting assistance and sharing knowledge definitely shortens our timelines.’

Partners

The quality system that is being developed will be beneficial to all parties coming to the InSciTe biomedical facility. Ekkehard says, ‘InSciTe is giving us an umbrella under which we can develop our quality system. Part of this quality system is very specific for Neuroplast and not useful for third parties. But a much larger part of the quality system is suitable for all projects and products. This helps companies focus on product development rather than on quality system development and accelerates the transition from laboratory to patient.’

Customer

What is special about the GMP stage as opposed to the earlier R&D stage of work? Ekkehard answers, ‘In R&D you have complete freedom to explore different ideas and approaches, but in the GMP stage you have to focus on patient safety. Plus you need to create a manufacturing process that is reliable, repeatable, and robust every time we receive patients’ cells. And the result must be compliant with all the GMP guidelines.’ Chris continues, ‘If you can’t reproduce a drug or medical device every day in exactly the same way, year after year, it can’t be used in patients. This is obvious but not always easy to integrate in your day-to-day work.’

Challenging

Raymond explains that the complexity of setting the quality system up from scratch is already a challenge on its own. On top of this you need to engage all the people involved and integrate all aspects of the standards into the QMS - from the materials you use for your products to the way the facilities are cleaned and the reliability of the supplier of the disposable gloves. It is not always easy to get this across.’ Ekkehard agrees and adds, ‘The human factor in the quality system is the most critical one. From top management to service providers, they all have to see the importance a structured and regulated approach to the work. But in contrast to what most people think, a quality system does make your work easier. It should take a lot of risk and worry out of the equation.

Realising a dream
Raymond Mulleneers
Quality Assurance Manager of InSciTe
Realising a dream
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"Sharing is the new having”

InSciTe has opened up the biomedical facility to third party companies who want to make use of the infrastructure and share knowledge. Neuroplast is a start-up on the verge of offering stem cell therapy to patients. Together they have entered a partnership to acquire the necessary permits and approvals for creating a matrix facility. Their motto – ‘sharing is the new having’ – will be the driving force behind their innovations for patients.

Hans de Munter & Kurt Gielen

CEO of Neuroplast & Business Development Manager Biomedical at InSciTe

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When Johannes de Munter (CEO of Neuropast) and Kurt Gielen (biomedical business development manager) met each other a few years ago, they instantly clicked. So when the InSciTe biomedical facility was completed, it came as no surprise that they immediately joined forces. ‘What first attracted me to InSciTe was the fact that it was a matrix organization,’ says Johannes. ‘You can choose the specific building blocks you need for each phase of product development. After all, you only need to use some equipment once. Having to buy and build everything myself would take at least two or three years and cost an extra two million euros. The flexibility offered by InSciTe is exactly what every start-up needs.’ Kurt adds: ‘Companies who work with us in the future will benefit from an even broader offer. Not only will they be able to utilize the expertise we have acquired as part of Neuroplast, they will also be able to draw on their own expertise to build their concept.’ ‘It's a sort of development ecosystem that provides lots of scope for things to grow,’ says Johannes.

Sharing

Johannes and Kurt wholeheartedly believe that sharing is the new economic model for the future. Johannes explains: ‘Why would you do it alone if you could also just share? You can really speed up processes, lower your costs, and ultimately reduce the price of the treatment. And if you continue according to this philosophy, you will generate lean companies that have a huge capacity for innovation. I am extremely excited about this concept. It's the ultimate solution to the problems that all start-ups face.’ Kurt agrees, saying: ‘The philosophy of sharing is cropping up in other segments of the economy. Why does everyone want their own car if you only use it 10% of the time? Sharing still allows you to get from A to B. Competition made a few people very rich, but collaboration will make a lot of people very wealthy. We're aiming for a situation where everyone has an equal share.’

Improving

Johannes says: ‘As an entrepreneur, this collaboration gives me more scope in my budget, which I can then use to improve my product. InSciTe also enables me to find the right partners. For instance, Fuji is going to help us to improve our product. I would never have been able to do that at this point in time if I'd had to spend all my money on equipment and personnel. This is a rising star, and I hope that we can form galaxies.’ Kurt adds: ‘It's more than just hoping – we're actually going to do it.’ We've received a lot of interest from other parties. If everyone has their own piece of that galaxy, we'll all be happy.’

Realising a dream
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"Dream internship at XS-GRAFT”

InSciTe wants to contribute to the creation of a well trained workforce for the region, in part by providing internships. Célèste Tillemans, a Biomedical Science Student at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, found her dream internship working on the XS-GRAFT project.

Célèste Tillemans & Judith van Gorp

Student Biomedical Science & Research Scientist at DSM

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Célèste is involved in the development of a vascular access graft that will improve kidney patients' quality of life. She explains, ‘The graft is applied to the patient's arm and serves as the vascular access point for the dialysis machine needles. The graft is made of polyurethane, developed by DSM, and used in various medical devices. This particular polyurethane has good biocompatibility. We are optimizing the interaction between the blood and the inner surface of the graft. This reduces the patient's risk of thrombosis, blockages, and other complications.’

Challenge

Célèste's main focus is the electrospinning. ‘This is the technique used to produce the graft. It involves spinning a polymer solution on a rod, resulting in a membrane with a particular non-woven structure. XS-GRAFT is now in the rat-testing stage. My task is to conduct the tests used to determine whether we can scale up to pig testing. I am also investigating whether the cells can grow well on the non-woven structure. My responsibilities include starting up the open-access cell culture lab. That's a big challenge.’
Supervisor Judith van Gorp, a DSM research scientist attached to InSciTe, adds, ‘Célèste is going to grow the first cells in the InSciTe biomedical facility's open-access lab. This is a big step for our lab, and it is very special to be allowed to do this as a final-year undergraduate. She is receiving help from both a start-up company at InSciTe (Neuroplast BV) and fellow team members from Eindhoven University of Technology (Tiago and Giulia). Once Célèste has shown that upscaling is possible and the cell study looks good, two important conditions for the pig testing will have been met. Ideally, we would like to be able to complete a successful study in pigs within XS-GRAFT and pass along a technical package to the next party. That might be a start-up in Limburg or a medical device company that develops this further.’

Focus

By offering internships, InSciTe is helping to create a well trained workforce for the region. The flip side of the coin is that the students are also valuable to InSciTe. Judith says, ‘There is much to do and we have a tight timeline, so we depend on students who can help. Moreover, students keep us on track. Célèste's final project, with its deadlines, forces us to strictly define stages of the study and see to it that they are actually completed. It certainly helps us maintain our focus. Plus it adds an enjoyable extra dimension to the work.’

Network

‘For me, it's a dream internship,’ says Célèste. ‘I have the opportunity to develop a medical device, and even set up the cell culture lab. I am involved with materials science and biology. And I'm given plenty of freedom and responsibility.’ ‘Another great aspect is that as a student here you have access to a network of start-ups, DSM, and the universities. If you aren't yet certain what you want to do after graduation, you have input from plenty of people and can even spend time shadowing someone during their workday,’ says Judith. But Célèste has now made up her mind. ‘I wasn't sure whether I was ready to start working or would pursue a Master's degree,’ she says, but if they ask me to stay, I certainly won't say no.’ ‘We aren't in the habit of making promises,’ says Judith, ‘but we wouldn't be giving Célèste so much freedom and responsibility if we didn't think highly of her!’

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"Forging ahead together”

The step from lab to large-scale production is a difficult one, but essential for persuading potential customers and lenders. The collaboration between InSciTe and FLowid shows how this hurdle can be overcome by joining forces.

Wessel Hengeveld & Jeroen Konings

Process Engineer and Director of FLowid B.V. & Pilot Plant and operations manager at InnoSyn B.V.

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FLowid commercializes spinning disc technology and is associated with InSciTe through the SCeLiO-4b (Sugars, Cellulose, and Lignin Upscaling to BioBased Building Blocks) project. ‘This project involves the conversion of biomass, in this case sugar, into useful building blocks, for polymers for example,’ explains Wessel Hengeveld, technical director of FLowid. ‘Naturally we are also very interested in looking at how this can be achieved using new technologies, so we have started a side project with that aim. Working with the University of Eindhoven we have developed a nice bit of technology for a reactor and extractor. A large-scale skid has now been built at the InSciTe multi-purpose multi-client pilot plant on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, where this technology will become available for SCeLiO-4b. For our part, as FLowid, this also provides us the opportunity to scale up our equipment.’

Round the clock

Such upscaling is impossible for FLowid to achieve alone. Wessel says, ‘We have lab facilities at our disposal on the University of Eindhoven campus where we can conduct experiments and prepare samples. But to scale up we need to be able to operate around the clock, 24/7. To do that you need a pilot plant and a team of skilled operators.’ InSciTe provides such a team, under the oversight of operational manager Jeroen Konings, who says, ‘Our operators are now indirectly involved in making the skid operational. Once the skid is ready, they will perform extensive testing to demonstrate that the equipment also works well at this large scale. Then we can keep it running 24/7, which will allow FLowid to take the next step in developing this technology.’

Scale-up

Wessel continues, ‘At some point the customer will no longer be satisfied with just our samples. They will want a few hundred litres or a cubic metre of a material. To examine how a polymer behaves in a vehicle powertrain, for example. That is not something we can offer in Eindhoven.’ Jeroen says, ‘A customer or funding partner must have enough confidence to take the risk to proceed to the next step. You have to prove the technology has progressed beyond being just a concept on the drawing board or in the lab and demonstrate it is a proven, solid technology that is commercially viable. This is the purpose of the pilot plant.’ Wessel adds, ‘Moreover, the pilot plant is important to us because it serves as a functional system we can demo for our customers. Without it, this would not be possible, because cannot just waltz into every customer's production facility. Our expectation is that this will spread like ripples on water.’

Binding factor

Jeroen says, ‘This is the technology and chemistry of the future, and I am delighted we can progress in that direction together.’ Wessel adds, ‘Together we push boundaries. Naturally everyone has different interests, but these are all complementary.’ ‘On top of that, there is one overarching common interest,’ says Jeroen. ‘We all want to push the envelope. That is the binding factor.’

Realising a dream
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"From biomass to profitable products”

Avantium, TNO, and InSciTe are working together on a technology portfolio for the production of aromatics from biomass. The pooling of knowledge and sharing of facilities is essential to ensure that products from biomass are not more expensive than petrochemical products. And if they can be made economically viable? Then the future looks bright.

Jan Harm Urbanus & Jan Kees van der Waal

Program Manager ‘Sustainable Chemical Industry’ at TNO & Program Manager ‘New Biomass Conversion’ at Avantium

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Avantium is best known as the company behind PEF bottles and the YXY technology used to make them. Jan Kees van der Waal, program manager early stage in the Avantium renewable chemistry group, explains, ‘We are conducting chemical research from the sustainability angle. Our objective is to provide a technology package that the chemical industry can use for the production. Avantium is currently seeking facilities that could serve as a testing ground for biomass conversions. InSciTe offers such facilities in Geleen and TNO in Bergen op Zoom. If I need a larger reactor to upscale my process, for instance, I can turn to InSciTe. That is naturally faster and less expensive than if I were to build a pilot plant myself.’ Jan Harm Urbanus, scientific manager for Biorizon at TNO, adds, ‘Facilities are expensive, and if you can share them that is a tremendous asset for the Netherlands' commercial sector. All three parties have an important role in the development of technology and value chains. By working together we can make the various facilities complementary to each other. This is a very good development in the Netherlands' innovation landscape.’

Single value chain

The three parties work together on two projects, BIO-HArT and SCeLiO-4b, which contribute to the Biorizon roadmap. This is a Shared Research Center with a focus on technology development for the production of biobased bulkaromatics and functionalized biobased aromatics for performance materials, chemicals, and coatings (www.biorizon.eu). The partnership has many advantages. Jan Kees says, ‘In the SCeLiO-4b project, for example, we are examining how we can get additional value from biomass. As basic raw material for our aromatics we use sustainable sugars, from sources such as wood or straw. When we take these sugars from wood, we automatically get lignin too. InSciTe is looking into how we can derive value from that lignin too. That would make the sugars less expensive for the chemical applications Avantium has in mind. Together we can create a single, integrated value chain. By the same token, in the BIO-HArT project our focus is on establishing an efficient process for use of the raw materials from biomass and recombining them to arrive at the desired bio-aromatics. We determine which bio-aromatics are of greatest interest to Avantium and TNO's potential end users. Is there a substance that can be beneficial to both parties? Or can we produce two substances through a single technology platform? Here, too, lies the strength of our cooperation.’

Technology portfolio

‘So InSciTe is mainly focused on the valorization of lignin for the production of all kinds of products, while TNO and Avantium focus mainly on the conversion of sugars to aromatics,’ says Jan Harm. ‘In terms of context, one is right in line with the other. In terms of approach, we are complementary. What's really nice is that we don't focus on just one molecule. We create a technology portfolio with which we can make multiple chemicals. This will improve the likelihood of our technology finding its way into practical applications.’ Jan Kees says, ‘Hopefully there will be a few molecules among them that have sufficient critical mass to get the basic technology on the shelf. The future is closer than we realize, and that future is bright. Of all the non-fuel applications, 80% lie in the area of polymers, paints, and lacquers. So we are spot-on in terms of application objectives for SCeLiO-4b and BIO-HArT. If we can deliver our technology packages to specification at a marketable price, they have a great future.’


‘The upscaling of technology; therein lies the strength of InSciTe,’ says Bart van As, business development manager at InSciTe. ‘You can't take a new process directly from the lab to a commercial factory. There are a number of steps in between. The move to a pilot plant – the first installation for producing larger quantities – is the most risky in the entire process. It costs a lot of money, while there is still no certainty it is really going to work. InSciTe not only offers pilot plant facilities, but – and this is perhaps even more important – access to the expertise of partners in order to mitigate the market and technology risks as quickly as possible. With partners like Avantium and TNO involved in the SCeLiO-4b and BIO-HArT projects, InSciTe has rapidly developed into the Netherlands and Western Europe's scaling-up facility for biobased chemical processes.’

Acknowledgements

The BIO-HArT project was performed under the framework of Chemelot InSciTe and it is established by a contribution of the European Interreg V Flanders – The Netherlands program that stimulates innovation, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the labor market by means of cross border projects

The work of the Biobased project SCeLiO-4b was performed under the framework of Chemelot InSciTe and with contributions from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the framework of OP-Zuid and with contributions from the province of Brabant and Limburg and the Dutch ministry of economy.

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The Biomedical facility

The Biomedical facility

Construction of the InSciTe Biomedical facility began end 2014, on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen. The biomedical facility is now operational and comprises 600 m2 of equipped, state-of-the-art open RT&D laboratories and clean rooms. The facility provides a location where researchers and companies in the biomedical and regenerative medicine field come together and collaborate on developing a range of medical devices and solutions.

The facility has been designed with flexibility in mind, to accommodate the ever changing needs of the biomedical industry. In addition to being used by InSciTe biomedical project members, the facility is available for use by third parties such as start-ups, offering an environment where entrepreneurs can continue the valorization process. There are labs for material development and biological testing, as well as dedicated areas for microscopy, chemical storage and weighing. There are also smaller project rooms which can be closed off from the main lab areas if required. The facility includes two class B cleanroom suites; restricted areas where the levels of dust and other contamination are very strictly controlled. This enables the developments in the lab to be taken through to small-scale production for pre-clinical and clinical testing.

Within the facility, InSciTe has invested in a range of cutting edge equipment to enable our projects to reach their goals. These include an electrospinning system for the production of fibrous sheets and tubes, a joint simulator for the testing of implants and an electron microscope for the visualization of materials and prototypes, as well as a variety of other equipment that the project members will use in the course of their work. Adjacent to the lab facilities we have a 250 m2 office area consisting of closed and open offices as well as conference rooms and areas for quiet working and phone calls.


The Biomedical facility
Tour thought the biomedical facility on the Grand Opening of InSciTe
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The Biobased facility

The Biobased facility

Within the biobased program, InSciTe will execute scale up experiments for the development and production of biobased building blocks. For this purpose, InSciTe will make use of pilot plant facilities that are being realized on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus. This is a multi-purpose multi-client pilot plant of which two thirds is available for InSciTe activities. This pilot plant is part of a larger complex, housing several other pilot plants. The construction of this complex started in June 2015.

The pilot plant facility that is available for InSciTe’s biobased program offers a hall of 520 m2 with a ceiling height of 12 m for experimental equipment, a corresponding laboratory space of 75 m2 and 130 m2 of office space. Two offices, with 8-10 working spaces in total, are reserved for the exclusive use of InSciTe co-workers. The piloting hall is designed in such a way that it creates maximal flexibility in working with a broad range of chemicals and reactive gases. All experiments will be executed by experienced operators. InSciTe co-workers will be present and define the experimental program. The first InSciTe project to start experimentation is the LA2AA project. Three experimental set-ups, so called skids, are ready to be used for this project: a gas phase reactor skid with four reactors in series for heterogeneous catalytic gas phase reactions; an autoclave skid for continuous homogeneous catalysis reactions with a distillation and membrane separation section, and a multi-purpose distillation unit for atmospheric and vacuum distillation. In addition the world’s first pilot plant based on SpinPro technology (spinning disc reactor and extractor from FLowid bv) was built with the support of the 2015 OP-Zuid project “Spin-In”. This ‘Spin-in’ prototype will be used by InSciTe to develop and produce new biobased building blocks within the InSciTe Horizontal project. Additional sets of equipment for the InSciTe Lignin RICHES and Horizontal projects as well as the recently awarded OP-Zuid project “SCeLiO-4b” are currently being designed.

Altogether, with this multi-purpose, multi-client pilot plant we create the necessary bridge to really bring concepts further towards business opportunity and market introduction.

The Biobased facility
The Biobased facility
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Intellectual Property guidelines training

Intellectual Property guidelines training

23 participants in 2015

The Intellectual Property guidelines trainings within InSciTe aim to educate scientists in matters of Intellectual Property with the view of interacting with legal experts, identifying the legal landscape of relevant research and potential inventions in one’s own work, and how to proceed to patenting. Especially in the context of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in general and InSciTe specifically, a basic understanding of handling of IP, confidentiality, freedom to operate and value extraction is required to mitigate risks in complex collaborations.

“Vivid style”
“This course created a lot of awareness”
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Regulatory awareness training

Regulatory awareness training

23 participants in 2015

The regulatory awareness training builds basic awareness on regulatory issues and approval pathways related to the development and commercialisation of projects via real live examples and interactive discussions about how to handle and plan those activities during a project.

“Nice open atmosphere”
“The training is in particular relevant for the PhD students and Postdocs, this type of training is missing in academia”
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Good Manufacturing Practice training

Good Manufacturing Practice training

11 participants in 2015

Within the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) training, researchers are introduced into the general concepts related to GMP. It helps the participants to gain basic GMP knowledge, with focus on "technical" GMP aspects. After taking this course the participants will be aware of the consequences and impact of the choices they make during the process of developing a clinical product, regarding the enforcement of GMP during commercial production.

“Really necessary for R&D people coming from a university”
“This course provides insights applicable to multiple practical disciplines”
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Statistics

Statistics

‘InSciTe has had a very good year,’ says Emiel Staring. ‘We've made good progress and our results are increasingly being seen and appreciated by others. We are all very proud of this.’

Partners

Number of partners in 2016

Budgets

Allocated project budgets

BioBased

Hours allocated

Biomedical

Hours allocated

BioBased

FTE's consumed

Biomedical

FTE's consumed

Education & Training

Number of courses in 2016

Education & Training

Distribution of participants

Publications

V. Hentzepeter, ‘ Groene polyamides stap dichterbij’

Agro&Chemie, 27-06-2016.

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Jeuken RM, Roth AK, Peters RJRW, van Donkelaar CC, Thies, JC, van Rhijn LW, Emans PJ, ‘Polymers in Cartilage Defect Repair of the Knee: Current Status and Future Prospects’

Polymers 2016, 8, 219

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Quicken, Sjeng, Wouter P. Donders, Emiel M. J. van Disseldorp, Kujtim Gashi, Barend M. E. Mees, Frans van de Vosse, Richard G. P. Lopata, Tammo Delhaas, and Wouter Huberts. 2016.

“Application of an Adaptive Polynomial Chaos Expansion on Computationally Expensive Three-Dimensional Cardiovascular Models for Uncertainty Quantification and Sensitivity Analysis.”
Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 138 (December): 1–11. doi:10.1115/1.4034709

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Posters & Presentations at international conferences

AIChe, San Francisco

Myrto Papaioannou, Roel Kleijwegt, Jaap C. Schouten and John van der Schaaf, ‘Furfural production by continuous reactive extraction’

Biomedica Summit, Aachen

C.J.F. Bertens, M. Gijs, F.J.H.M. van den Biggelaar, D. Saglam, C. Martino, I.F.A. Schefman, A.A. Dias, R. Tuinier, R.M.M.A. Nuijts;
A New Ophthalmic Drug Delivery Device as Alternative to Eye Drops.

Best Poster

Mental health & Neuroscience research day, Maastricht,

C.J.F. Bertens, S. Zhang, M. Gijs, F.J.H.M. van den Biggelaar, T.T.J.M. Berendschot, R.M.M.A. Nuijts;
Non-invasive detection of ketorolac tromethamine in eyes analyzed with Raman spectroscopy and quantified by HPLC.

Best elevator pitch

VPH conference, Amsterdam

S. Quicken, W.P. Donders, EMJ van Disseldorp, K. Gashi, B.M.E. Mees, F.N. van de Vosse, R.G.P. Lopata, T. Delhaas, W. Huberts
‘Uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis of computationally expensive three-dimensional cardiovascular models.’

EURON annual PhD research meeting, Lille

C.J.F. Bertens, S. Zhang, M. Gijs, F.J.H.M. van den Biggelaar, T.T.J.M. Berendschot, R.M.M.A. Nuijts;
Detection of ketorolac tromethamine in eyes with Raman spectroscopy and HPLC.

Best Pitch

NBTE & FMS Conferences

Giulia Marchioli, Judith J. van Gorp, Pamir Sawo, Sjeng Quicken, Geert C. van Almen, Carlijn V. C. Bouten, Patricia Y.W. Dankers
XS-graft: Design Requirements and Electrospinning Parameters

Maastricht University division Mental Health and Neuron Sciences (MHeNs), Maastricht

C.J.F. Bertens; A brief look InSciTe, Onderzoekerspresentaties

University Eye Clinic, Maastricht

C.J.F. Bertens; A brief look InSciTe, Onderzoekerspresentaties

Brightlands winners at the InSciTe Annual Meeting ‘Building Bridges’

Poster Award

Panos Kouris,
‘Developing a feasible process for 2G-lignin conversion into biofuels and chemicals’

Presentation Award

Ashley Heuijerjans,
‘Investigation the Biomechanical Effect of a Polymeric implant on the Surrounding Cartilage Tissue’