Medace’s high-speed learning environment

Chemelot InSciTe was established with the aim of bringing biobased and biomedical innovations to the market or patients more quickly and effectively. To achieve this, the (Bio)medical Accelerator Matrix’s ‘BEAM-NL’ working model was developed for the biomedical branch. Alongside bringing various innovations to clinical trials, the working model itself has started to be marketed. The InSciTe employees who were involved in developing the model (Danielle Curfs and Kurt Gielen) will continue as entrepreneurs at the InSciTe spin-off Medace.

Danielle Curfs, CEO of Medace, tells us more. ‘The (Bio)medical Accelerator Matrix ‘BEAM-NL’ was developed within InSciTe and, thanks to a European grant *, validated in two years and certified on the basis of quality standards. All this gave enough confidence to investors to develop this concept as a commercial service, so that the huge demand from parties other than InSciTe can now be met. As a service provider, Medace helps start-ups and academia to further develop more or less proven concepts into actual applications for the patient. We offer an ISO-certified learning and working environment complete with infrastructure, equipment, people, expertise, and training, enabling customers to independently develop their products into ones that are suitable for clinical application. Our focus is on implants, cell therapy, and the combination of cells and materials in regenerative medicine.’

co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Province of Limburg in the context of the Operational Program South Netherlands (OPZuid)

Connecting researchers and entrepreneurs

Emiel Staring, the managing director of Chemelot InSciTe, is proud that Medace grew out of InSciTe. ‘I’m especially proud because Medace’s working model represents what we’ve worked so hard on from the start: connecting communities and uniting researchers and entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and disciplines. More often than not, these worlds never used to come into close contact. But at InSciTe, they work together physically and exchange knowledge in our biomedical facility and in our biobased pilot plant. It’s great to see how the extraordinary collaborations – something we’ve been huge advocates of – have now become a matter of course.’

Maastricht facility

Medace has built a new and considerably larger facility on the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, and InSciTe has moved into this facility in December 2019. ‘We used to rent our former facilities from Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, and now we rent from Medace,’ explains Emiel. ‘The employees who supervised the biomedical projects in Geleen have now joined Medace. In fact, little has changed for our research projects, except for the amazing new location. As a client of Medace, our projects are interesting business cases that enable Medace to show what they can do for other parties.’

Self-learning ability

Danielle has every confidence in the future of Medace. ‘The Medace environment means we can serve as many as 18 to 20 customers at the same time. But above all, we are unique because we share knowledge – that’s what gives us our speed. Customers can further develop their concept with us and gradually learn everything that comes with it, especially about legislation, regulations, and quality. We help entrepreneurs and researchers to get smarter in concrete terms: they learn from us, and they learn from each other. We saw a good example of this acceleration in InSciTe’s Ocular Coil Drug Delivery Comfort Trial (OCDC) project, which the Matrix concept helped take to the first clinical trial within three years. When it appeared that the design needed to be tweaked, they took action themselves and managed to produce the adjusted design within three months. You only achieve that speed by combining facilities and learning elements. Moving forward, I’d also like to teach entrepreneurs in other regions how to implement our concept, so we can spread the learning effect even wider and further across the Netherlands – and hopefully soon across the border, too.’

Emiel Staring

Emiel Staring received his PhD in Chemistry at the State University of Groningen. In 1985 he started his career at the Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven as research scientist and later as department head. In 1999 he moved to DSM Research in Geleen, where he acted as department head of a research group on organic chemistry and biotechnology. From 2001 until 2004 he was responsible for the global R&D activities of DSM Coating Resins, a business group with its head office in Zwolle. In 2004 Emiel Staring returned to the DSM head office in Heerlen where he has held various research and technology management functions. In this capacity, he initiated the BMM program, a successful public private partnership of over 50 participants and with a budget of some 100 million Euro. In 2007 he was appointed Managing Director of this program. In 2015 he was appointed Managing Director of Chemelot InSciTe.

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Danielle Curfs

Danielle Curfs obtained her PhD in Life Sciences and Health specializing in the role of environmental carcinogens in atherogenesis. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Maastricht University in a collaboration with former Organon on the development of fast screening methods for target genes in atherosclerosis and studied the role of macrophages in inflammation and atherosclerosis. In 2009 she started working as a program coordinator and communications manager at the BioMedical Materials Foundation (BMM). In 2013-2014 she worked as program director for the Science & Innovation Theme Health within Royal DSM. Moreover as of 2013 she has been responsible for the biomedical program of the Chemelot Institute for Science & Technology. As of October 2018 she acts as the CEO of Medace BV.

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