2017

InSciTeYear in review

Increasing
impact

We are located at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, an eco-system that allows for linking directly with the R&D- and business community in our value chain. Our success comes from the many people who support us in our work. We wish you a pleasant reading.

Emiel Staring
Managing Director
InSciTe

“Increasing impact
on Society”

‘The impact on society of Chemelot InSciTe is becoming increasingly visible, for both the biomedical and biobased programs,’ Emiel Staring, Managing Director, explains. ‘More and more ideas are actually being placed on the market. Our ambition to increase this impact will lead to future growth.’

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Experimentation

As basis for our ecosystem, we offer two state of the art facilities: the multi-tenant, multi-purpose pilot plant and the biomedical facility.

400
hours, LA2AA skid

Biobased
facility

The multi-purpose multi-tenant pilot plant was operational for a full year in 2017. In the LA2AA project our researchers were successful in in the scale-up from the lab to the pilot plant. We welcomed many guests, amongst them students who could watch a pilot plant operational for the first time in their career.

Biomedical
Facility

In 2017 we welcomed several visitors; delegates from our founding fathers and many other highly honored guests. Three more startup companies joined us; CiMaas, TripleMed and VACIS. CiMaas is working on an immunotherapy for cancer patients, TripleMed is working on new treatments for aneurysm and VACIS is working on tissue engineering blood vessels. Together with Neuroplast and our biomedical projects, the facility is running now at maximum capacity.

106153680
m3 airflow in the cleanrooms
Marijn Rijkers
Biobased program manager
InSciTe
Rinus Broxterman
Biobased strategy manager
InSciTe

“From push
to pull”

‘There are plenty of good ideas relating to sustainability, and we have seen a technology push for biobased products,’ Rinus Broxterman explains. ‘We are also seeing a visible trend towards more market pull. Global and national sustainability goals and societal pressure are creating a sense of urgency to reduce the carbon footprint. More companies, investors, and subsidy providers are steering a course towards valorization and commercialization. InSciTe is a prime example of this trend.’

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Entrepreneurship

We offer a range of business services to host, fuel, connect and train entrepreneurs

Michael Boot
Owner/director of Vertoro
Panos Kouris
PhD candidate
CTO Of Vertoro
Emiel Hensen
Professor and Dean of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. TU/e board member of InSciTe

“Building
Bridges”

In 2017, the company Vertoro evolved as a spin-off from the InSciTe project Lignin RICHES. In this project, lignin - a waste stream from bio-ethanol plants - is transformed into crude lignin oil, which is suitable as a feedstock for various chemicals, materials and fuels. Vertoro has the ambitious goal of creating impact by laying the foundation for the world’s first lignin bio-refinery.

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Transforming a waste product into ‘green gold’

Transforming lignin into an intermediary product called crude lignin oil via a chemical process, that is what Lignin RICHES is about. With this crude lignin Oil (CLO) other products can be produced, for example marine fuel.

For the Lignin RICHES project we published a press release in September 2017, which attracted a lot of attention from the local and (inter)national press.

1Limburg published an article and made a short video to explain the research performed. Watch this video here and learn more about this project.

Lignin RICHES

InSciTe Education

InSciTe is a breeding ground for talent, where students, academics and industry representatives receive state-of-the-art training to prepare and equip them as the next generation of biomedical and biobased materials professionals.

The Education & Training team offer professional courses in small personal groups, 8 - 15 persons, with expert teachers who are working in the field or are affiliated to academic institutions. The location of our courses differs, in general they are being held on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, or at the Maastricht University.

For more information contact us via
education@chemelot-inscite.com

Education & Training


Achille Laurent
PostDoc lecturer at Maastricht University
Yvonne van der Meer
Associate Professor in Sustainability of Biobased Materials at Maastricht University

“A new LCA course for more
sustainable products”

In 2017, InSciTe and Maastricht University launched a course in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The course is unique in its kind, with a focus on biobased products and a non-expert target group of professionals from companies and PhD students with an interest in sustainability or environmental performance. The participants in 2017 all valued the course as highly relevant and helpful for their work; the number of participants for 2018 is already double that of last year.

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Participants Educational Program of InSciTe in 2017

Name of training Duration Courses Participants
IP Guidelines ½ day 1 11
Life Cycle Analysis online 1 8
Regulatory Awareness ½ day 1 18
Good Clinical Practice 1 day 1 9
Intellectual Property in Innovative Science 2 ½ days 1 13
IPR-Intensive Entrepreneurship 2 ½ days 1 14
Medical Devices:
CE marking
2 ½ days 1 20
Medical Devices:
FDA regulatory approval pathways
2 ½ days 1 20

Pillar Expertise

Biomedical

XS-GRAFT

New vascular prosthesis to improve the quality of life of dialysis patients

Biomedical

SyCaP

A synthetic non-degrading, non-drug releasing cartilage implant

Biomedical

OCDC

The Ocular Coil Drug Delivery Comfort Trial

Biomedical

PoSTuRE

Patient Specific Scoliosis Treatment

Biomedical

EyeSciTe

Innovative solutions for better eyesight

Biomedical

MimiCart

A new bi-compartmental implant

Biomedical

BEAM-NL

The (Bio)medical Accelerator Matrix works on multiple levels

Biobased

Horizontal

New solutions for products and process evaluation- the horizontal approach

Biobased

Lignin RICHES

Lignin Resins Chemicals Fuels

Biobased

LA2AA

To secure the future availability of industrial materials

Biobased

BIO-HArT

This cross-border collaboration within the framework of Interreg V Vlaanderen

Biobased

SCeLiO-4B

Collaboration within the framework of OP-Zuid

Expertise

Our primary concern is the development and scale up of new Biobased building blocks as well as Biomedical materials and devices.

Albert Scherpbier
Dean FMHL, Maastricht University, Vice Chairman Maastricht UMC+, Chairman board InSciTe
Daniëlle Curfs
Program Manager Biomedical

“From Patent
to Patient”

‘How can we make a difference to a patient’s life? For me, this is what creating impact is all about,’ says Daniëlle Curfs, InSciTe’s Biomedical Program Manager. ‘What do researchers and startups encounter when bringing their concept to the patient? The Matrix model which we introduced in 2017 provides a solution.’

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Biomedical Accelerator Matrix philosophy

To promote the Limburg region, Health Holland, as communication channel of the Top Sector of Life Sciences & Health, asked the biomedical program of InSciTe to feature in this trailer by explaining the Biomedical Accelerator Matrix philosophy. In this video you can see our program manager Daniëlle Curfs explaining what this concept is about and why InSciTe is a frontrunner for the Limburg region.

Biomedical Accelerator Matrix
Suzan van Dongen
Senior Scientist at Fujifilm Manufacturing Europe
Erik Boelen
Chief Operations Officer at Xilloc Medical

“Further validation of the Biomedical Accelerator Matrix”

In 2017, InSciTe was awarded a large grant to validate and further implement the Biomedical Accelerator Matrix in the project BEAM-NL. In BEAM-NL the participants aim to increase the speed at which innovations are developed from patents into applications that benefit patients. Two projects have been selected to test the effectiveness of Matrix concept and further improve it.

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Wilfred Germeraad
Chief Scientific Officer at CiMaas
Tjeerd Homsma
CEO of TripleMed

“Start-ups at InSciTe create impact for patients

In 2017, TripleMed and CiMaas joined InSciTe. TripleMed develops products to treat aortic aneurysms, and CiMaas is developing cellular immunotherapy treatments for cancer. InSciTe’s Matrix concept will accelerate the development of these innovations so that they can be introduced to the market more quickly and really change patients' lives.

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Highlights of 2017

22

Jan

Roadshow Founding Fathers

27

Mar

2 Year Anniversary InSciTe

22

Apr

March for Science Maastricht

14

Jun

First-in-man symposium: ‘From bench to bedside’

21/22

Sep

2nd Annual Meeting ‘Growing Stronger’

25

Sep

BEAM-NL OPZuid subsidy approved

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 2017 and what foundations we have already laid toward our future.

The year 2017 in numbers

Empowered by

Funding

Partners

To the market

In 2018 we will continue our efforts to further develop InSciTe. We are committed to the technical validation, and commercialization of the outcome of the projects by our consortia. Concurrently we are developing and implementing our strategy for 2020 and beyond. We will continue forming new collaborations and partnerships to further our impact.

Acknowledgements

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

Stay up to date with our latest developments

You will receive our quarterly newsletter where you will find the latest update of our
Biobased and Biomedical program.

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Read our Year in review 2016. How did we do in 2016? Read more in our annual review ‘ Growing Stronger’

open year in review
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“Increasing impact on society”

‘The impact on society of Chemelot InSciTe is becoming increasingly visible, for both the biomedical and biobased programs,’ Emiel Staring, Managing Director, explains. ‘More and more ideas are actually being placed on the market. Our ambition to increase this impact will lead to future growth.’

Emiel Staring

Managing Director
InSciTe

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‘As part of our biomedical program, we offer a range of services and skills to get biomedical innovations to the initial clinical trial stage in the right manner and as quickly as possible,’ Emiel explains. ‘We have noticed that our acceleration service is very successful and is becoming increasingly popular. In 2017, we brought a number of projects to the brink of initial clinical trials with patients. This is how we create real impact as ideas can be brought to the patient. In addition to our own projects, InSciTe offers this acceleration service to start-ups that find it difficult to organize this themselves. Four medtech companies are already using this service and the list of interested start-ups is continuously growing.’

Biobased

‘In September 2017, Marijn Rijkers, Rinus Broxterman, and Peter Quaedflieg took over the program management for biobased program from Natascha Sereinig,’ Emiel continues. ‘Several projects are creating a real impact, including the LA2AA project which was successfully completed in 2017. In this project, levulinic acid from wood chips is converted into adipic acid which is a raw material for various types of nylon and other plastics. It has resulted in a technical package which can now be used by a commercial party for further implementation.’

Connections

InSciTe celebrated its second anniversary in March 2017. ‘Two years in which we have been able to connect more and more people and organizations,’ Emiel explains. ‘Once again, we have been able to take on new people in 2017, which ensures that our team is continuing to become larger and more diverse. We have also seen some changes in the board of InSciTe. Marcus Remmers (DSM) joined us as board member as a successor for Wim Klop. Marcus is a board member who shares our vision and who wants to join us in translating science into tangible products and processes.’

Future

‘The first phase – the building phase – is now behind us. We are currently in the second phase which is to increase impact. The third phase is also underway and involves making concrete plans for the period from 2020 onwards. The biomedical program will continue to focus on providing services for projects and start-ups. As things stand now, we will need new research facilities by 2020 as there is such a high demand for our services. We will be adding two new installations to our biobased plant and will be focusing on broader concepts to improve the sustainability of the chemical industry. What is considered to be a waste product by one producer, for example, could be a valuable raw material for another. This will also include projects that contribute to the energy transition of fossil fuels to fully sustainable and renewable sources of energy.’

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‘From push to pull’

‘There are plenty of good ideas relating to sustainability, and we have seen a technology push for biobased products,’ Rinus Broxterman explains. ‘We are also seeing a visible trend towards more market pull. Global and national sustainability goals and societal pressure are creating a sense of urgency to reduce the carbon footprint. More companies, investors, and subsidy providers are steering a course towards valorization and commercialization. InSciTe is a prime example of this trend.’

Marijn Rijkers

Biobased program manager
InSciTe

Rinus Broxterman

Biobased strategy manager
InSciTe

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Marijn Rijkers, Rinus Broxterman, and Peter Quaedflieg took over the reins from Natascha Sereinig in September 2017, now forming a three-member management team for the Biobased program. Peter is responsible for operational project management, Marijn is responsible for the expansion of the pilot plant and stakeholder management, and Rinus is in charge of the strategy. ‘This construction was chosen as it enabled us to bring in the most appropriate range of experience,’ Rinus explains.

Successes

A great deal of impact was created in 2017 with three successful projects. The first project, LA2AA, involved converting levulinic acid from wood chips into adipic acid, which is a raw material for nylons and other plastics. This project was successfully completed in September 2017. The second project is Lignin RICHES that converts lignin, a waste product of plants, into crude lignin oil that can be used for example as a fuel for the shipping industry. Our pilot plant makes it possible to produce larger volumes. Vertoro is a startup company created by Michael Boot (TU/e) which evolved from this project and which intends to commercialize it further. The third project is Horizontal and is focused on technology for furan chemistry for new polymeric materials.

Scaling up

Impact is also created with startup companies that use InSciTe’s facilities to make the leap from lab to market. Marijn explains, ‘Disruptive changes are usually introduced by newcomers and not by companies that are already established. InSciTe is therefore a breeding ground for young entrepreneurs with good ideas. Many parties are looking for a pilot plant environment which will enable them, for example, to make large-scale test samples. At least two new multipurpose set-ups will be added in 2018. In this way, InSciTe helps entrepreneurs cross the ‘Valley of Death’ from lab to commercialization.’

Collaboration

More and more parties are learning about InSciTe and regional collaboration is getting stronger. Marijn explains, ‘For example, we are discussing with the Rabobank Weerterland and Cranendonck. They have also noticed the potential for close links between the agricultural and forestry industry – as the largest producer of biomass – and the chemical industry. In collaboration with the BioTreatCenter in Venlo, value chains are being developed based on biomass. In such a way we develop regional projects, ranging from agriculture to chemistry, with parties that are new to one another.’

Future

The creation of value chains is a leading factor in InSciTe’s future strategy.

A VNCI report entitled ‘Chemistry for CLIMATE, acting on ‘the need for speed’ was recently published for the purpose of reducing the CO2 emissions of the Dutch chemical industry by 80-95% in 2050. InSciTe intends to make a significant contribution to this aim, also for the Chemelot Campus.

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“Building bridges”

In 2017, the company Vertoro evolved as a spin-off from the InSciTe project Lignin RICHES. In this project, lignin - a waste stream from bio-ethanol plants - is transformed into crude lignin oil, which is suitable as a feedstock for various chemicals, materials and fuels. Vertoro has the ambitious goal of creating impact by laying the foundation for the world’s first lignin bio-refinery.

Michael Boot

Owner/director of Vertoro

Panos Kouris

PhD candidate
CTO Of Vertoro

Emiel Hensen

Professor and Dean of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. TU/e board member of InSciTe

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Michael Boot and Panos Kouris form the core team from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Lignin RICHES project. Michael is the project leader and Panos, as a PhD student, is working to optimize the technology. Panos is working under the supervision of Emiel Hensen, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis and also Dean at the TU/e’s department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry as well as a scientific advisor to the project. Both Michael and Panos are now directors and investors at Vertoro.

Market

Before becoming an InSciTe board member, Emiel was one of the original applicants of the Lignin RICHES project. ‘We have been working hard for eight years to develop the chemistry needed to convert lignin into useful and valuable products. InSciTe helped us to valorize these ideas into a practical technology and Vertoro is now taking it further. I am very pleased that we’ve come this far, since our intention was to go to the market from the very start.’ Michael explains, ‘This research is the result of a business vision, a product-market application in search of technology. Quite often, it is the other way around. It was my hope and ambition to initiate Vertoro as a spin-off right from the start.’

Impact

‘The impact of the research began in 2015 when the valorization strategy and technology were developed as part of the Lignin RICHES project,’ says Panos. ‘In 2017, we saw the fruits of these efforts. Vertoro took part in the Brightlands Innovation Factory Program where we had an opportunity to interact with potential investors, entrepreneurs, and people who shared our way of thinking. This was the first time that our idea had any real impact outside the university. When lots of people believe in a project and combine their efforts and expertise, you can really create an impact.’

Vertoro

Thanks to Vertoro, this impact will increase. Michael explains, ‘In 2018, InSciTe will build a pilot plant for the Lignin RICHES project for the purpose of producing a few tons of crude lignin oil in 2019. The Lignin RICHES project is aims to finish in 2020, and Vertoro will ensure that this is not the end of the story. Alongside all its R&D and piloting activities, Vertoro’s objective is to engage market parties, lignin producing stakeholders, and larger investors, so that we can take the project from pilot plant to demo phase.’ Panos adds, ‘Our high quality research will help convince partners to work with us. This is what we will be doing over the next two years - building a bridge between technology and market.’

‘The project is creating more and more impact,’ Emiel Hensen says.
‘It is great for our university that we are involved in something so tangible and close to the market. Every time I drive past the sign that says “TU/e, land of the innovator” , I often find myself wondering whether it actually is. A project like this makes me feel proud driving past that sign, knowing that we are actually creating an impact in the world. This is real innovation!’

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“A new LCA course for more sustainable products”

In 2017, InSciTe and Maastricht University launched a course in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The course is unique in its kind, with a focus on biobased products and a non-expert target group of professionals from companies and PhD students with an interest in sustainability or environmental performance. The participants in 2017 all valued the course as highly relevant and helpful for their work; the number of participants for 2018 is already double that of last year.

Yvonne van der Meer

Associate Professor in Sustainability of Biobased Materials at Maastricht University

Achille Laurent

PostDoc lecturer at Maastricht University

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The course was developed by Yvonne van der Meer, Associate Professor in Sustainability of Biobased Materials, and Achille Laurent, PostDoc lecturer, both from Maastricht University. Achille explains, ‘We had already performed an LCA study for the InSciTe project LA2AA. The project partners wanted to know the environmental consequences of upscaling the technology. This led to the idea of developing an LCA course.’ Yvonne adds, ‘The aim of the course is to provide participants with the competences to evaluate and interpret an LCA study. We provide an overview of LCA and use examples from the biobased field to show the strengths of LCA and the kind of results you can get. A large part of the course can be followed online.’

Presentation

During the last session of the course, participants present a critical review of a published LCA study they have selected themselves. Achille explains, ‘It is very interesting to link the course to real case studies and realistic applications of LCA. Some students found this hard but we think it is the best way to apply your knowledge and show what you have learned. This part of the course is also important for sharing and collaborating with other participants. From my previous experience of LCA courses in Canada, I knew that this would work. I also tapped into my network to invite some lecturers to share their experience and expertise.’

Impact

How do Yvonne and Achille create an impact with their course? Yvonne explains, ‘One of our key messages is that biobased does not always mean an increase in sustainability. It is the aim of biobased products of course, but in order to establish actual sustainability, you have to measure and calculate the environmental impact of the product lifecycle as a whole. You have to understand where your biobased material is coming from, what you are doing to it, and where it is going. LCA makes you aware of this so that you can develop products and processes with a sustainability perspective in mind and sustainability information at hand. This will create a positive pull effect towards a more sustainable world. In future, this will only increase since our course has already attracted international interest from, for example, the European PhD network. In fact, the more impact we create with this LCA course, the less impact there will be from biobased products and processes on the environment.’

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“From Patent to Patient”

‘How can we make a difference to a patient’s life? For me, this is what creating impact is all about,’ says Daniëlle Curfs, InSciTe’s Biomedical Program Manager. ‘What do researchers and startups encounter when bringing their concept to the patient? The Matrix model which we introduced in 2017 provides a solution.’

Daniëlle Curfs

Program Manager Biomedical

Albert Scherpbier

Dean Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Vice Chairman Maastricht University Medical Center (Maastricht UMC+), Chairman board InSciTe

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‘We often see that researchers and startups have proven that their concept works in a lab but are lacking the required know-how, facilities, and resources to take this concept to market,’ Daniëlle explains. ‘As a result, many great ideas fizzle out. Together with researchers and startups, we take a look at which development phase of the Matrix they are in and which elements from the Matrix they need. For example, they may need dedicated cleanrooms and equipment, and a quality manager or specific training. On this basis, we then embark upon a combined training and work program. There is much that you can share without endangering your own specific product-related knowhow. Open innovation is very common in the early stages of research but we also offer it during the development phase. Our biggest achievement with this in 2017 was to obtain a major European subsidy, OPZuid, with co-financing from the Provincie Limburg for our Biomedical Accelerator Matrix. And, of course, the results of the fantastic projects that we run here.’

Academic workplace

‘We have created a sustainable concept with the Matrix, which is a great achievement,’ says Albert Scherpbier, Dean of the Faculty of FHML at Maastricht University, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors at Maastricht University Medical Centre, and Chairman of the Board of InSciTe. ‘Our Matrix concept is essential for faster quicker completion of the entire chain, from fundamental research to application in patients. In this ‘academic workshop’, young researchers can see early on just how much there is involved in getting ideas to market. Although this may be expected of universities, it is impossible for us to do everything. In order to create impact in the market, we need the help of a party like InSciTe who brings people and organizations together.’ Daniëlle explains, ‘We need one another to complete the entire process from research to business development. It will always remain a challenge to understand one another’s language across the various disciplines that are involved.’ Albert agrees, ‘Yes, I can see this challenge as well, but I have every confidence in the future.’

Booming region

And where will we be in five years’ time? Daniëlle does not hesitate to answer, ‘The Netherlands is already ahead of the pack when it comes to innovation. InSciTe will help ensure that the Netherlands also plays a leading role in bringing such innovations to the market. And that it thereby has real impact on the lives of patients. My dream is to further develop a state-of-the-art PhD thesis into a completely new product. In five years’ time, the way we work will set the trend in our community and far beyond. And we will certainly have products in patients by then. The great thing is that we will succeed in doing so based on ideas developed from an academic setting as well as from small-sized companies.’ Albert shares this view, ‘In five years’ time, we will have a booming region in which Limburg will be driving this new knowledge-intensive technology and economy. New connections will have been established which is essential. We simply have to help one another so that we can compete at an international level and continue to increase our impact.’

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“Further validation of the Biomedical Accelerator Matrix”

In 2017, InSciTe was awarded a large grant to validate and further implement the Biomedical Accelerator Matrix in the project BEAM-NL. In BEAM-NL the participants aim to increase the speed at which innovations are developed from patents into applications that benefit patients. Two projects have been selected to test the effectiveness of Matrix concept and further improve it.

Suzan van Dongen

Senior Scientist at Fujifilm Manufacturing Europe

Erik Boelen

Chief Operations Officer at Xilloc Medical

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The Biomedical Accelerator Matrix provides state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment, cleanrooms, flexible working spaces, and technical support and quality support staff. It also provides an overarching quality system with the necessary training programs.
All these elements are offered in combinations or separately to ensure that companies and projects can create their own learning and working environments within InSciTe.

Scoliosis

The first project focuses on the continued development of a new treatment for patients who have a severe type of scoliosis. Erik Boelen, Xilloc’s chief operations officer, says, ‘We were already involved with InSciTe in the PoSTuRE project, which has now become part of BEAM-NL. The Matrix concept will help us get our product to market faster and better structure that process. We have completed the research phase and found materials that are proven to be effective. We still have a lot to investigate to show that our product is safe and validated for use on patients. We can see the significant added value of the Matrix, particularly in the areas of regulatory support and quality assessment. It offers a lot of knowledge that helps us structure and set up the development activities from the very beginning, so that we can use the outcome for the certification process.’

Stem cells

The second project is a collaboration between FUJIFILM Manufacturing Europe B.V. and Neuroplast BV. This project aims to improve the performance of stem cells in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as spinal cord injuries or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Suzan van Dongen, senior scientist at FUJIFILM, says, ‘Neuroplast supplies the stem cell product "Neuro-Cells" and we supply the biomaterials. We aim to develop injectable cell carriers composed of a recombinant, collagen-like peptide. This peptide is enriched with cell-binding properties. For small companies such as Neuroplast BV, achieving clinical outcomes is hard to do on their own. FUJIFILM may be a large company, but we can learn from the medical expertise to develop an end product. The Biomedical Accelerator Matrix offers us quicker access to clinical outcomes on patients.’

The impact

Both projects are well on their way to making a significant impact for patients. ‘There are existing treatments for scoliosis. The spine is corrected with metal rods that are rigidly fixed. The problem with this method is that it seriously hinders normal growth of the spine in children and young adults. As a consequence, repeated chirurgical procedures are required. We think we have found the solution by making cables slide over the metal rods, which allows for normal growth. The instrumentation is tailored to fit the anatomy of each patient. That means we could correct the spines of children who have scoliosis while allowing for growth without repeat operations,' says Erik. Suzan says, ‘We are still in the early stages of our project. In a few years, we hope to help patients with neurodegenerative disorders by improving their clinical recovery and outcome. That is where we will really make an impact.’

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“Start-ups at InSciTe create impact for patients”

In 2017, TripleMed and CiMaas joined InSciTe. TripleMed develops products to treat aortic aneurysms, and CiMaas is developing cellular immunotherapy treatments for cancer. InSciTe’s Matrix concept will accelerate the development of these innovations so that they can be introduced to the market more quickly and really change patients' lives.

Wilfred Germeraad

Chief Scientific Officer at CiMaas

Tjeerd Homsma

CEO of TripleMed

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Tjeerd Homsma, the CEO of TripleMed, says, ‘After developing the first prototype of our product, we were in need of cleanroom facilities for production and a well-equipped laboratory for our R&D. Because of these very specific requirements, we quickly concluded that InSciTe was the place to be. The proximity to the Brightlands Chemelot Campus is also important for us because the people working there have a broad range of knowledge on materials and processes. The unique strength of InSciTe's Biomedical Accelerator Matrix formula is that it allows you to choose which aspects you wish to use. One example is how we can call on several InSciTe staff members for their specific expertise on laboratory procedures and for their help on expanding our Quality Management System. It is great to have such options available because, as a start-up, we cannot keep hiring people to make it through a certain phase of development. The facilities would be too costly if we had to set them up ourselves.’

Synergy

CiMaas is a spin-off of Maastricht University that focuses on clinical product development for innovative cancer therapies. CiMaas has its own lab and clinical department within MUMC+. Wilfred Germeraad, the CSO of CiMaas, says, ‘InSciTe’s approach suits us very well because we can use the biomedical facilities to develop our own processes. The alternative is outsourcing it to a manufacturing company, which means handing over the entire production process. That is something we specifically did not want in the development phase. InSciTe is also interesting because there are other companies here that we can learn from. The Quality Management System (QMS) of InSciTe and its partners is extremely important for us. The partner Neuroplast sets a very good example for us since they are also a cell therapy company and they are maybe three or four months ahead of us. A QMS is quite daunting to us, as we are used to working at the University. We had no idea where to begin with the large amount of information, documents and procedures. InSciTe offers a QMS and the expertise, whilst Neuroplast can help us with their experience in dealing with the paperwork, so that we can continue our process afterwards. That is what we call real synergy.’

The impact

‘Our goal is to make a difference for patients who suffer from an aortic aneurysm. We really want to improve on the clinical outcome and avoid the clinical complications of current therapies. If we are successful, we can improve the lives of many patients, and our company will be internationally recognized as innovators in this area,' says Tjeerd. ‘Our motto is: achieving a better cure for cancer’, says Wilfred. ‘In literature, you will find that immunotherapy shows spectacular results in curing leukaemia and some lung cancer patients. It would be a real breakthrough if our development could offer better cures for these and other types of cancer.'

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XS-GRAFT

New vascular prosthesis to improve the quality of life of dialysis patients.

The aim of the XS-GRAFT team is to develop a new type of prosthetic material with optimum mechanical properties and blood compatibility, to increase graft patency, prolonging and improving the function of the implant and benefiting the patient’s quality of life.

The XS-GRAFT team managed, after multiple rounds of optimization, to produce two prototype grafts that passed the mechanical and functional evaluations. These grafts were then implanted for 28 days and evaluated in an aortic interposition model. Although, patency rates for both prototypes was hundred percent, one of the graft types showed signs of the onset of neointimal hyperplasia formation related to the specific graft topology. This observation was a breakthrough in designing the next generation XS-GRAFT. Importantly, laboratory tests demonstrated that the XS-GRAFT materials are superior to the current standard ePTFE grafts in terms of blood compatibility. With these promising results in mind the XS-GRAFT team has developed four additional prototypes that improve on the first grafts. These grafts were under investigation in 2017 as an aortic interposition graft. Results of these studies are expected in Q2 2018 and help to identify the optimal grafts design.

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SyCaP

A synthetic non-degrading, non-drug releasing cartilage implant

The aim of this project is to develop a non-resorbable implant for the treatment of cartilage defects.

In 2017, a short-term study was performed on the integration of our implant with the bone. Based on this highly valuable study, the SyCap team was able to select the most promising designs for further development. Subsequently, we were able to use the results to significantly improve the implants on three separate aspects: the design, the mechanical properties of the materials that make contact to bone, and the coatings that stimulate osseointegration. We implemented all these changes as planned, and tested and documented all innovations extensively. This was a major achievement. Based on the encouraging developments, we have decided to adjust and extend the original project, mainly to include an additional short-term study to proof the superior osseo- integration performance of the current design. The next step in the project is to run a new short-term study in the first half of 2018. If the osseointegration results are as anticipated, we’ll proceed to the final long-term trial in Q4, to demonstrate that the implant is able to stop the progression of osteoarthritis in patients with isolated cartilage defects.

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OCDC

The Ocular Coil Drug Delivery Comfort Trial

The aim of this project is to develop a new implant in the form of a flexible rod that is placed under the eyelid in the conjunctival fornix.

In 2017, the OCDC team made significant progress in order to optimize, refine and freeze the production process of coils filled with placebo microspheres. These placebo-loaded coils will be used to evaluate the coil’s comfort, as it is key that patients can tolerate the coil implant for longer periods. Currently, the clinical batch of placebo-loaded coils is being produced. The clinical protocol was also updated with input from quality experts and with the latest technical information. The comfort study is expected to start in mid-2018, and the first results are anticipated in November 2018.

Besides comfort, sustained drug delivery capacity of the coil filled with drug-loaded microspheres will be evaluated in order to show that the ocular coil is effective as a drug delivery system. In 2017, we worked with various parties in order to develop and produce drug-loaded microspheres. We expect to have the drug-loaded microspheres by mid-2018. These drug-loaded microspheres will then be used for the production of drug-loaded microsphere filled coils. The efficacy study is planned for the second half of 2018.

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PoSTuRE

Patient Specific Scoliosis Treatment

The aim of this project is to develop a new patient specific scoliosis treatment.

In 2017 the weaving of the radiopaque UHMWPE cable, investigational device for the first clinical trial, has been transferred to a medical partner. This medical textile converter has produced enough cable according to the selected design/processing for the pre-clinical testing. Additionally, a cable insertion device has been developed and will be tested.

A device to maintain tension while other cables are tensioned for gradual curve correction has been adapted from a custom tensioner.

The past year we have put in substantial effort to gain the necessary knowledge and form a network of support in order to be able to start and complete a first-in-man clinical trial. Therefore, we successfully organized a symposium on this topic with help from Factory CRO and the Chemelot InSciTe team.

Several prototypes of patient-specific pedicle drill guides and cross-link implants have been 3D printed.

A patient-specific preoperative planning tool (finite element) model has been developed in silico, which can predict range-of-motion in the uninstrumented spine and its reduction after application of spinal instrumentation.

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EyeSciTe

Innovative solutions for better eyesight

Corneal diseases are a major cause of blindness worldwide, resulting in a dramatic decrease in quality of life. Corneal (transplantation) surgery can treat blindness and visual disability and is the most common form of transplantation. Millions of people are denied access to this sight saving procedure due to a global shortage of donor tissue. Corneal (refractive) surgery may also treat refractive errors like presbyopia, which is present in more than fifty percent of the population. However, despite an increasing desire for spectacle and contact lens independence, corneal refractive surgery is not popular as a treatment for presbyopia. We propose to combine disruptive technologies in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine to develop artificial corneas and corneal lenses, which will revolutionize corneal transplantation and refractive surgery. The kickoff meeting will take place in 2018.

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MimiCart

A new bi-compartmental implant

The aim of this project is to develop an implant for the clinical treatment of cartilage-bone defects. The targeted implant technology will be an off-the-shelf platform that can be implanted using minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques. Textile technologies will be combined with advanced hydrogels to mimic the internal biomechanical load-bearing mechanism of collagen fibers and proteogylcan ground substance in native cartilage.

The implant will also be enhanced with the patient’s own cartilage and progenitor cells that are intra-operatively collected and processed. This will allow natural cartilage to be regenerated as the implant resorbs, providing long-lasting healing of the defect.

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BEAM-NL

The (Bio)medical Accelerator Matrix works on multiple levels to accelerate innovations. The matrix provides basic infrastructural elements, work spaces, required courses, but also specialized items such as cleanrooms, inspection areas and supporting technical experts with as heart an overarching quality system. By sharing different elements, investment costs can be limited for all parties involved.

InSciTe has received financial support from EU OPZuid grant and of the Provincie Limburg further the development and validation of the (Bio)medical Accelerator Matrix.

Two routes

The first medical development to prove the effectiveness of the matrix is our Biomedical project PoSTuRE. The goal of this project is to develop a new patient specific scoliosis treatment , which will be further developed in the matrix, correction of the deformed spine is performed with a patient specific guiding structure. When successful this will drastically decrease the amount of surgeries.

The second development route is a collaboration between Fujifilm Europe and Neuroplast. The aim is to increase stem cell viability in neurodegenerative disorders like paraplegia.

Footnote:

The work of BEAM-NL is performed under the framework of Chemelot InSciTe. The project is partfinanced by the European Regional Development Fund, the inistry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands and the Province of Limburg in the context of the Operational Program South Netherlands (OPZuid).

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Horizontal

New solutions for products and process evaluation- the horizontal approach

The aim of this project project is to map and evaluate different suggested solutions in order to understand which products and processes have a higher potential for creating economic value and are therefore suitable for scale up and piloting

The Horizontal project team focused on five main activities: i) screening and testing of catalysts for hydrogenation reactions; ii) polymerization reactions and screening of new polymers characteristics; iii) collecting input parameters for the design of a hydrogenation unit and downstream separation trains for the pilot plant; iv) delivery of the design for pilot hydrogenation and design of experiments v) screening of new solvents for reactive extraction. The primary target for scaling up will be cyclopentanone from renewable raw materials (e.g. xylose). All activities are geared towards preparation of biobased platform molecules and novel biobased monomers.

The design of the hydrogenation unit for pilot scale has been delivered. The design of experimental campaign has also been delivered.

Different new potentially biobased polymers have been produced in a high-throughput reactor and have been characterized also in terms of degradation. New solvents for novel separation approaches have been investigated, with a few interesting results especially in liquid supported membrane preparation and testing.

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Lignin RICHES

Lignin Resins Chemicals Fuels
This aim of this project is to transform lignin into an intermediary product called lignin crude oil via a chemical process to use as a green (marine) fuel.

In 2017, the ambitious goal of this project to realize the world’s first bio-refinery for lignin has comes several important steps closer. Not only has 2017 been the year of the first patent application within in the project, but it was also the year that a spin-off, Vertoro BV, was founded, and the investment decision to construct a barrel-per-day CLO pilot plant was made. Moreover, the first application tests with direct CLO use in phenol resins production was demonstrated. Preliminary experiments with model compounds also showed promising results in the application fields of fuel additives and phenol.

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LA2AA

Renewable Adipic Acid from Levulinic Acid
The aim of this project is to develop and scales up the process to make adipic acid from Levulinic acid

In order to secure the future availability of industrial materials, we have to think now about renewable resources which could ensure alternative ways to produce these materials. Levulinic acid, which can be produced from woody biomass, could be a key building block for both fuel and material production. The project team develops and scales up the process to make adipic acid from Levulinic acid. Adipic acid is a major chemical and raw material for e.g. polyamides, which are used in a number of applications from car parts to nylon stockings. This project was finished in July 2017.The project team successfully produced Levulinic acid and the detailed documented project results are to be transferred to an interested commercial party.

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BIO-HArT

This cross-border collaboration within the framework of Interreg V Vlaanderen – The Netherlands is focused on the scaling up of technology for the production of aromatics from biomas

The focus is on strategies for curing of lignin, lignin-based oligomers and monomers mixture without using formaldehyde, i.e. using thiol-yne chemistry. The focus is on improving the conversion of both lignin-based fractions modification and curing step.

Two types of processes for lignin depolymerization have been studied. In the original process, the lignin is heated in supercritical ethanol using an copper catalyst. Disadvantages of this process are that the catalyst cannot be separated from the char and that much ethanol (is lost by reaction with the lignin products. Currently, kinetic modeling is in progress to investigate which step is rate-determining.

In the second option, lignin is thermolysed mildly at much lower temperature in ethanol without catalyst to give oligomers. This oil can be used as such or further depolymerized by hydrogenation in the presence of catalysts. No char is formed and the ethanol loss is very low. A patent was filed. The thermolyzed lignin oil are subsequently separated into various fractions and components and/or hydrogenated for further experiments.

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SCeLiO-4B

This collaboration within the framework of OP-Zuid  is focused on the development of an interregional campus eco-system and accompanying key-infrastructure for the conversion of renewable raw materials to biobased building blocks. The InSciTe Lignin RICHES project and the InSciTe Horizontal project are part of SCeLiO-4B. Within the SCeLiO-4B project a testing-ground of affordable and broadly accessible infrastructure for biobased chemistry is created on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen and the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom. The available equipment facilitates and accelerates research, scaling up and development of bioaromatics, lignin depolymerization products for fuel applications and platform chemicals and compounds with new functionality based on furfural and HMF.

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Statistics

Statistics

We are proud to share with you what is accomplished so far. Here you will find a short summary of these results.

Partners

Number of partners in 2017

Budgets

Allocated project budgets

BioBased

Hours allocated

Biomedical

Hours allocated

BioBased

FTE's consumed

Biomedical

FTE's consumed

Education & Training

Number of courses in 2017

Education & Training

Number of participants

Publications 2017

Here you will find the highlights of our published presentations, posters and publications.

Posters & Presentations at (inter)national Conferences

AIChe, San Francisco

P.D.Kouris, H.Oevering, M.D.Boot , E.J.M.Hensen, 'Setting up the base for the first lignin biorefinery: From lignin to biofuels and chemicals'

NCCC 2017 conference

P.D.Kouris, H.Oevering, M.D.Boot , E.J.M.Hensen, 'An integrated lignin biorefinery: 'Scaling-up lignin depolymerization technology for biofuels and chemicals'

Dutch Polymer Days 2017

G.J. Noordzij 'The curious case of 1,3-cyclopentanediol'

ISGC 2017 La Rochelle

C. H. J. T. Dietz, M. C. Kroon, M. van Sint Annaland and F. Gallucci 'Thermophysical properties and solubility of different sugar-derived molecules in deep eutectic solvents'

Faraday Discussions

C. H. J. T. Dietz, M. C. Kroon, M. Di Stefano, M. van Sint Annaland and F. Gallucci 'Selective separation of furfural and hydroxymethylfurfural from an aqueous solution using a supported hydrophobic deep eutectic solvent liquid membrane'

AICHE 2017

C.Dietz, M. Kroon, M. v. Sint Annaland, F. Gallucci 'Deep Eutectic Solvents as new extraction solvents for furfural and hydroxymethylfurfural from aqueous solutions'

VAS congress 2017

S.Quicken, S. Bos, B.Mees, F. van de Vosse, J. Tordoir, M. van Loon, T. Delhaas, W. Huberts 'The influence of dialysis needle flow on vascular access graft hemodynamics'

BME Research Day 2017

M. Nickien, 'Structure-mechanics of cartilage degeneration'

MACRO India

G.K. Noordzij 'Small scale screening novel bio-based polysters'

MaTe contest Technical University of Eindhoven

R. van der Meer, A.K. Roth, P.C. Willems, L.W. van Rhijn, J.J. Arts, K. Ito, B. van Rietbegen, 'A Computational Model to Predict Spinal Range of Motion After Scoliosis Correction'

MaTe contest Technical University of Eindhoven

A. Heuijerjans , W. Wilson, K. Ito , C.C. van Donkelaar 'The combined effects of implant material and angle on cartilage'

Scientific publications

European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry

'A comparative Study of Structurally Related Homogeneous Ruthenium and Iron Catalysts for the Hydrogenation of Levullinic Acid to Valerolactone'

C. A. M. R. van Slagmaat and S. M. A. De Wildeman

Elsiever

'Environmental economics of lignin derived transport fuels'

S.V.Obydenkova, P.D.Kouris, E.J.M.Hensen, H.J.Heeres and M.D.Boot

Journal of Orthopaedic Research 2017

Assessment of the translation between in vitro and in vivo cartilage overloading studies based on a systematic literature review;

M. Nickien, A. Heuijerjans , K. Ito and C.C. van Donkelaar

Brightlands winners at the InSciTe Annual Meeting 'Growing Stronger'

Poster Award

M. Gijs,
Design and development of releaze-P Accessoires

Presentation Award

R. Jeuken
Surgical Implantation of a Novel Polymeric Focal Knee Resurfacing Implant. Lessons learned from the first SyCaP Animal Study.