South Limburg Valorisation Programme provides initial financing

january 13, 2015

South Limburg Valorisation Programme provides initial financing from Pre-Seed and Proof-of-Concept funds

One of the components of the South Limburg Valorisation Programme is the financial support of young entrepreneurs and businesses in striving to place knowledge from Limburg knowledge institutes into the marketplace, namely that of Maastricht University, the Maastricht University Medical Centre and Zuyd Hogeschool. To this end, and with the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, two funds have been established: the Pre-Seed Fund and the Proof-of-Concept Fund. Both of these have received a great deal of interest and recently the first loan agreements were concluded.

The Maastricht Valorisation Center is responsible for supporting and coordinating these project applications. Henri Theunissen, Chief Valorisation Officer: “In the past year the first four projects were supported. This is an excellent beginning.” Pre-Seed financing was awarded to ToxGenSolutions, which is working on toxicology testing that does not require lab animals.

Proof-of-Concept support was given to Matisse Pharmaceuticals for the development of a new drug for sepsis based upon a variant of heparine. CyTuVax received a loan for the development of a therapeutic vaccine for patients that don’t react well to traditional Hepatitis-B vaccine. Funding also went to Cristal Therapeutics for a feasibility study into how drugs can be better delivered to certain parts of the body.

Henri Theunissen: “In 2015 we expect the total number of applications and awards to rise. The first applications are already under consideration, including CiMaas (cell therapy for cancer), Mirabilis (micro RNA therapy for heart failure), Vitromeat (production of artificial meat) and ProStem (stem-cell therapy for incontinence)”.

About the South Limburg Valorisation Programme
The South Limburg Valorisation Programme provides for the need to broaden, deepen, renew and accelerate the Limburg knowledge economy: the programme has united Maastricht University, the Maastricht University Medical Centre, Zuyd Hogeschool, Liof, Brightlands Chemelot Campus and Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus into a consortium. With the valorisation programme, more than €17 million has been reserved for 2013 – 2018. The consortium partners, supporting businesses and public agencies will provide €12.5 million in the form of cash for start-up loans, patents, feasibility studies and for current and new personnel. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation will provide the remaining €4.5 million.

About the Pre-Seed funds
The Pre-Seed funds provide loans to start-ups (a maximum of €100,000 per) that have a clear link to the knowledge institutes. This loan is for the start-up phase of their business. They come in the form of personal (convertible) loans that give the start-up the tools to do initial investments in the project, for example by making a business plan, testing the market, initial product development and organising financing. This gives the company a greater chance of success during the start-up phase. Loans are generally given to individual entrepreneurs, but can also be spread between two or three individuals who want to begin a new business venture together. When the first investments lead to the establishment of a new company, the loan may be partially converted into equity. Under certain circumstances, the loan may be waived as a whole or in part.

About the Proof-of-Concept funds
PoC funds are used to finance technical feasibility studies, for testing whether an idea for a concept is viable on the basis of technical and scientific requirements. They comprise a convertible loan of maximum €250,000 per project and are awarded to start-ups, small and mid-size companies and civic organisations. The start-up or company receiving the loan should have a link to UM, MUMC+ and/or Zuyd Hogeschool knowledge valorisation initiatives. The loan can be in whole or in part waived under certain circumstances.

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