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Ectica Technologies’ #BigBangMoment: Winning Merck as one of our First Customers!

Ectica Technologies’ #BigBangMoment came when they secured one of their first customers: Merck! We are always excited to find new collaboration partners, especially when they come from the Accelerator.

Ectica Technologies joined the fourth round of the Merck Accelerator in 2017, and has been going from strength to strength ever since. The team has developed the “3DProSeed® Hydrogel Well-Plate”, an innovative hydrogel-based cell culture platform for drug screening applications in oncology and neurosciences. A hydrogel is a highly hydrated polymeric network and is used to mimic the matrix in which cells live in human tissues. Ectica Technologies hydrogels offer the ability to culture cells in an artificial 3D environment better emulating the in-vivo conditions than conventional culture plastic or glass substrates. The 3DProSeed® plate combines the advantages of culturing cells in hydrogels with the automation-compatibility of standard culture platforms used in drug discovery.

Innovation in cell-based assays

Until now, translation of in vitro data into in vivo models and further into the clinics is still a major hurdle in drug discovery where many drug candidates fail at various stages. Using the technology from Ectica to culture cells in 3D is one of the ways to mimic the physiology of human cancers in vitro, leading to clinically relevant data early in the drug discovery stages.

With Ectica’s product, the 3DProSeed® microtiter plate, which contains pre-assembled hydrogels that are ready-to-use, our colleagues from Discovery & Development Technologies have been able to establish an advanced 3D cell culture model co-culturing immune cells and tumor cells. This complex assay format is one of their attempts to profile drug candidates and their effects on the tumor microenvironment as early as possible.

Recognition for Ectica Technologies

The Merck Accelerator alumnus is a spin-off company of the ETH Zurich and University of Zurich. During their time in the Accelerator, the two founders Benjamin Simona (CEO) and Vincent Milleret (CTO) had plenty of opportunities to take advantage of Merck’s strong team of scientists to try out their product. Gathering experience of Merck’s corporate labs and production capabilities wasn’t just useful for the startup during the product development stages - it also allowed Merck to see the potential of the startup, which eventually led to Merck becoming one of Ectica Technologies’ first customersIt’s exciting to seehow far Ectica Technologies has come since graduating from the Accelerator last year. Merck’s transition from a development partner to one of the startup’s first customers isn’t just a #BigBangMoment for Ectica Technologies, but for Merck too.

Merck Accelerator 2019 - Apply now!

We at Merck are delighted to have supported Ectica Technologies through the important stage of validation and the further development of their startup. We are always on the look-out for more startup talents to work with in the future. Does the opportunity to partner up with Merck, receive funding of up to €50,000, office and creation space at our headquarters, as well as access to advice from a global network of over 50,000 Merck experts sound appealing to you? Then why not join us? If you’re a startup operating in healthcare, life science, performance materials, and additional search fields, then get in touch! Besides all the HQ Accelerator program advantages, you can also get the chance to extend your stay in our China Innovation Hub Accelerator and gain access to the Chinese market. The seventh round of the Merck Accelerator Program starts in January 2019 and applications are open from 2 July to 30 September 2018. Apply here and see you there!