As of this Monday March 13th Testa Challenge 2023 has officially started. The open innovation challenge is held at Testa Center in Uppsala and once again it features an impressive lineup welcoming five start-ups.
“The technical level of the participants we had here the last time was really astounding. I’m amazed by all the cool stuff that is out there and I see no reason why we wouldn’t reach those levels this year as well,” says the CEO of Testa Center Jesper Hedberg.
Testa Challenge allows companies in the technology/digital/data/IT sector to test and verify their technology in a fully funded standard bioproduction workflow (bioprocess). With access to the facilities and expertise at Testa Center, the participants can make an early evaluation of whether their innovation is applicable and beneficial for the bioprocessing industry.
Jesper Hedberg means that Testa Challenge has an important role considering the extremely fast development of new types of treatments and molecules:
“The development is actually so fast that the tables are turned, meaning that the biological development is ahead and the technique is struggling to keep up. Testa Challenge is one way to speed up the technical development within bioprocesses.”
Erik Asplund is a Business Strategist at Region Uppsala, one of the financiers behind Testa Challenge. He believes the challenge at Testa Center is a great opportunity to enhance knowledge creation and innovation:
“Engineering skills are more than ever crucial in Life science industries. In particular, the development of digital tools and sensor technology show great potential for efficiency and quality gains in the production of biopharmaceuticals. Through Testa Challenge we offer an open hot spot for small and medium sized companies who want to test and verify technical and digital innovations.”
The list of selected companies
During the 2023 challenge, Testa Center will run a start to finish bioprocess where an adeno associated virus (AAV) will be produced in an HEK cell expression system and purified, in an industrial environment. These are the participating companies:
Their AI software SimCell is a web-based virtual bioreactor, developed to help bioprocessing scientists making complicated decisions faster and more reliable.
The company has developed the C-Netics, to fully automate cell expansion monitoring in a closed system.
Specializes in mid-infrared spectroscopy and has designed an instrument, Monipa, specifically for real-time monitoring and control of bioprocesses.
Provides new ultra-sensitive technology for analyzing nanoparticle uptake and release of substances.
Nyctea Technologies (Sweden)
Their new technological platform for the processing of biopharmaceuticals is based on an electronically activated surface that captures and releases biomolecules.
Voices from two returning startups
Two of the companies that were selected (selection done by an external advisory board) to Testa Challenge 2023 are Nyctea and Analysis Mode, also participated in the 2022 edition of the challenge. Here they share some of their thoughts on returning to Testa Center once again.
Belma Alispahic, Head of Business Development at Analysis Mode:
“Testa Challenge 2022 was a breakthrough moment in our software development. In addition to getting access to industrial data and settings, we had an extraordinary opportunity to network with key stakeholders. We decided to apply again to work with Testa Challenge organizers again and broaden our knowledge in another sector of bioprocessing industry. Testa Challenge 2023 will give access to data from AAV production. This in turn will help us develop a completely new set of capabilities inside SimCell.”
Gustav Ferrand-Drake Del Castillo, founder and CEO of Nyctea Technologies:
“Testa Challenge was very useful for us because during the event we were able to test our technology at such a rapid pace and learn very much in a short period of time. We already knew that we wanted to return if we were given the opportunity again. This time we hope to generate results on pilot scale that validates the potential of our technology for solving current production challenges faced by our customers in producing AAVs for gene therapy.”
Testa Challenge 2023 is organized by Testa Center and STUNS Life science. It is financed by Region Uppsala and the European regional development fund (ERDF) via Tillväxtverket, and supported by Cytiva, Pall Biotech, RISE, Gyros Protein Technologies, Knightec and Scitara.
Read more about Testa Challenge on the official website www.testachallenge.com