Zurich/Pratteln BL - The UZH spin-off condenZero has won the Swiss Innovation Challenge 2021. Second place and the special prize for life sciences went to MyLeg, while third place and the special prize for construction were taken by Oxara.

The Swiss Innovation Challenge has been decided and the three winners are from Zurich. On Thursday, the first prize of 20,000 Swiss francs was awarded to condenZero. The spin-off from the University of Zurich (UZH) received this award virtually during a transmission of the award ceremony at Haus der Wirtschaft in Pratteln in the canton of Basel-Landschaft. According to a press release, a greeting from President of Switzerland Guy Parmelin was also played during this.

The physicists at condenZero develop and produce scientific sample holders that work at low temperature of around minus 270 degrees Celsius (-454 degrees Fahrenheit). The innovative cooling principle was originally developed at the Swiss free-electron laser at the Paul Scherrer Institute. The team is focusing on introducing the new technology to the cryo-electron microscopy market in the initial phase. CondenZero’s technology can sustain cryogenic temperatures for up to 24 hours. This is only possible for 15 minutes with current cryo-microscopy solutions. CondenZero is also in the last round for the start-up Swiss Business Incubation Centre (BIC) of CERN Technologies.

Second place and the special award for life sciences amounting to 5,000 Swiss francs went to MyLeg. This is a “unique” device that retrieves sensory information on the contact and movement of a leg prosthesis. This occurs using non-invasive electrical stimulation. The device does not need surgery to be put in place and can be added to any existing prothesis.

Third place and the special prize for construction were awarded to Oxara. The spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich uses the patented mineral additives it has developed to convert construction waste into sustainable, affordable building materials, thus promoting the circular economy. The company’s aim is to significantly reduce the “immense footprint” of conventional construction materials.

Fokus: Life Sciences

Do you want to be close to major players, innovative start-ups and leading research institutes in the life sciences space? The Greater Zurich Area has evolved into a dynamically expanding life sciences hotspot, thanks to the region’s academic excellence, business-friendly regulations, IP protection, large international talent pool and R&D collaborations between universities and start-ups, as well as large multinational corporations.

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