The Dresden-based start-up project RecTech led by Prof. Frank Buchholz and Dr. Anne-Kristin Heninger succeeded in scoring points in all competition rounds of the renowned Science4Life Venture Cup 2021. RecTech did not only stand out as one of the ten best teams for its innovative business concept, but also won the technology slam competition TechSLAM 2021 and came second in the business plan phase. Participation in this contest is highly competitive and offers applicants access to more than 300 industry experts.
The Dresden research team has developed a promising business concept to revolutionize molecular medicine based on a customized designer recombinase technology. This genome editing technology is predestined to drive the development of new therapeutic approaches for genetic diseases. Today, more than 8,000 gene mutations are known to cause incurable monogenic diseases. By using the designer recombinases developed in Dresden, these genetic defects could be corrected. Hence previously incurable diseases could be successfully treated. In addition, making use of the genome editing technique offers completely new cures for other diseases, such as viral infections. In order to bring genome editing approaches into clinical practice, it is of utmost importance that the tools used are safe and do not alter the genome accidentally. Designer recombinases have the unique ability to cleave and specifically reassemble DNA in vivo without relying on cellular DNA repair mechanisms. A major advantage over other technologies continues to be that recombinases can correct large structural genome alterations, which has not been possible before. Thus, designer recombinases offer precise and predictable modification of the genome, making them particularly suitable for therapeutic applications. Establishing the necessary platform technology and marketing it profitably defines the innovative business idea of the RecTech project.
In the Science4Life Venture Cup, 88 teams from all over Germany took part to present their innovative business concepts. The ten best contributions were awarded prizes in the first round of the competition and the BMBF-GO-Bio-funded start-up RecTech from Dresden was among the winners. The Dresden team was now also successful in the subsequent rounds of the competition and was able to convince the jurors of its innovative business plan. RecTech took second place in the most competitive phase of the competition, the so-called Business Plan Phase. This is endowed with prize money of € 10,000. The team also scored with the best pitch in the Pharma & Diagnostics category at TechSLAM 2021.
Fig. 1: Competition participants Fig. 2: Award seal, @Science4Life
Dr Anne-Kristin Heninger and
Felix Lansing, @Science4Life