The Swiss Innovation Challenge (SIC) is an innovation promotion program and competition run by University of Applied Science (FHNW), one of Switzerland’s leading universities of applied sciences and arts, Baselland Chamber of Commerce and Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB). It is open to SMEs and start-ups from all over Switzerland, with 25 finalists and one award winner selected from over 100 innovation projects following a course of coaching, seminars and three stages of pitching to a jury of experts.
Founded in 2014, the SIC has supported more than 500 projects, created more than 1000 jobs and awarded more than 200´000 Swiss francs. The Goal of the Swiss Innovation Challenge is to support companies in the development and implementation of innovations.
“We have lately set-up our new engineering and microbiological laboratories in Muttenz. Participation in Swiss Innovation Challenge helps us to develop and strengthen the connection with the local life-science ecosystem, FHNW, BLKB as well with industrial partners. Mentoring was an excellent opportunity to connect with industrial stakeholders. In addition, the participation in SIC will for sure positively impact our visibility and brand recognition among our future employees, especially fresh graduates from local universities,” said Dr. Danuta Cichocka, CEO and founder of Resistell AG.
Resistell, which proposes an alternative to current antibiotic susceptibility tests (AST), has found its work more important than ever with the current coronavirus pandemic. Even before the pandemic, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was already one of the biggest global health challenges. Now as patients hospitalized with COVID-19 receive antimicrobial therapies as part of the standard clinical care package in many countries around the world, excessive and arbitrary use of these powerful medicines trigger the development of multidrug resistance. This leads to higher costs for the healthcare system and more deaths due to resistance of bacteria, making diagnostics even more critical as the wait for a vaccine continues.
To reduce empirical antimicrobial treatment, it is essential to rapidly determine which antibiotics the pathogen still responds to. Currently, phenotypic ASTs take up to several days, which is too late for the evidence based decision making. Resistell is able to deliver AST results within 1-2 hours, based on measurement of vibrations of living bacteria using nanomechanical sensors. As this cutting-edge technology does not rely on bacterial growth, patients can be treated with the optimal medication from day one.
By finding the right antibiotic on time, Resistell saves lives and helps to relieve health care systems financially.