The seventh Wyss Zurich Annual Event was dedicated to featuring the Wyss Zurich projects and the collaboration between ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. Over 300 guests from different fields, including academia, politics, and business; were welcomed with an apero in the foyer of the Kunsthaus Zurich. This year, the focus was on giving an overview on the current projects accelerated at Wyss Zurich and their groundbreaking technologies.
The Founding Co-Directors, Simon P. Hoerstrup, and Roland Siegwart, gave a warm welcome and provided an overview by presentations, videos, and pitches. CeNeReg, LifeMatrix, and Phire were presented by the Co-Directors with their core findings and milestones highlighted on the roadmap. MUVON, Somagenetix, and Voliro were nicely featured in videos. Live pitches included Recolony, Nanoflex, Liver4Life, and hemotune. These pitches showcased the projects’ technical and scientific excellence, the achievements, and the entrepreneurial challenges that the teams face while growing and scaling their businesses.
The Co-Directors also recognized the outreach projects, mint & pepper, and their new initiative, BioSTARS. These outreach programs aim to inspire future pioneers and to empower the youngest generation of scientists in the fields of regenerative medicine and robotics already on the high school level by providing hands-on access and education in Wyss Zurich projects.
Furthermore, Wyss Zurich alumni projects and their impact in society and the markets were summarized or shown in videos, and recent accomplishments and statistics of the associated successful start-up companies were shared. In this context the Co-Directors led the audience through the impressive numbers of projects supported, jobs created, funds provided, clinical trials supported, and patents filed since the beginning of Wyss Zurich.
The highlight of the evening was the video message of Hansjörg Wyss, who unfortunately could not join the event, but sent his greetings pointing out the mission of Wyss Zurich: “We drive the translation of outstanding scientific discoveries into new therapies for patients and breakthrough innovations.” Showing off the pocket guide, which was given to all guests at the end of the event, he expressed his great satisfaction for making the mission a reality.
The universities are continuing their close cooperation, fine-tuning in the Wyss Zurich second phase
In a diversified panel concluding the program, the Vice Presidents of the academic institutions, Vanessa Wood, and Elisabeth Stark, highlighted the importance of the close cooperation within the framework of Wyss Zurich that continues to be possible with the second donation by Hansjörg Wyss. Viola Vogel, representing the Scientific Board, elucidated how she brought her experience from the Wyss Institute in Boston, where she witnessed cutting-edge technologies and remarkable success stories, to Wyss Zurich. Friedrich von Bohlen, the current chair of the Evaluation Board and a future Entrepreneur in Residence, said: “As a young scientist, I always wanted to combine technology discoveries and translate them into business applications. Now I am happy to make my experience available for the projects.”
Huge potential of public-private partnership and impressive impact created
The Founding Co-Directors emphasized the unique Wyss Zurich model as a public-private partnership that is bringing together the fields of regenerative medicine and robotics. This model has allowed many new ideas, projects, and technologies to be translated into products that can have life changing impacts in people, society, and markets. Wyss Zurich, being well embedded between industry and university, ensures great economic and societal impacts, which can be foreseen to grow even bigger in the future. These were the final remarks by the presidents of the universities, Joel Mesot and Michael E. Schaepman.
The project leaders expressed their profound gratitude for the support they have received.