XS-Innovations wins Venture Challenge Fall 2023!

XS-Innovations wins Venture Challenge Fall 2023!

The winner of the Venture Challenge was announced today at the Dutch Life Sciences conference. The proud winner of the 2023 fall edition is XS-Innovations! The innovative startup has developed a revolutionary and novel device that connects the artery and vein only during haemodialysis. At all other times it is closed, and normal circulation is restored. The device, the Dynamic AVF will set the new gold standard for haemodialysis, by allowing the high blood flow only when needed and thus reducing complications.

According to the jury, comprised of Carine van den Brink, André Hoekema, Nettie Buitelaar,  Ivan Burkov and Saman Honarnejad choosing a winner was a very tough decision. The participating teams all had high quality pitches and impressive slide decks, which made it hard to choose one winner.

The jury finds that XS-Innovations is addressing a real need as globally in 2030. Approximately 5.4 million people with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) rely on lifesaving kidney replacement therapies. Roughly 70% of these ESKD patients depend on haemodialysis as their lifeline. This requires a high-flow vascular access site. The current standard is a surgically created arteriovenous fistula (AVF), a connection in the patient's arm between a major artery and a vein. However, this vascular access is fraught with debilitating side effects such as reduced patency, cardiac stress, and aneurysms. XS-Innovation’s device, the Dynamic AVF is an implantable valve that only opens during the connection during dialysis and closing it the rest of the time. This makes it a world-first solution that addresses the root cause of all known complications: the persistent high blood flow. This will drastically improve the quality of life of these vulnerable patients, as follow-up surgeries are strongly reduced. The jury thinks the team has a clear value proposition on which they can expand in the future.

XS-Innovations has proven functionality of the device in an in vivo goat model and are now starting biological impact assessments as part of an early-stage de-risking program. In parallel, they are continuing development of the prototype, and target first-in-human testing by 2026. Following a structured medical device development process, XS-Innovations aims to secure regulatory approval in both the US and Europe and to enter these markets in 2029.

“The Venture Challenge kick-started our ambitions to start a venture. We are now ready to revolutionize the lives of more than half a million new kidney patients each year.”

- Toon Stilma, cofounder of XS-Innovations

The Venture Challenge Spring started in October and today at the Dutch Life Sciences Conference XS-Innovations takes home the €25.000 prize money to invest in their growth. Contact Toon Stilma for more information about XS-Innovations.

The other highly-motivated participating teams were: Triangle Therapeutics, OncoRead, Lumox, Fenix Therapeutics and DEPREDICT. As mentioned before, the jury sees great potential in all of these outstanding teams. Keep an eye on them!

Participating in the Venture Challenge leads to a clear venture plan, as well as to investor-ready pitches. The  LifeSciences@Work Accelerator  is powered by  Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health. 

Our specialised coaching focuses on developing your initial idea into a solid business during a series of boot camps and 1-on-1 coaching and mentoring sessions. Startup teams learn to identify key risks, analyse customer value propositions, develop a validation strategy, learn to build a venture plan and, ultimately, get connected to Life Sciences experts, investors and seasoned entrepreneurs. Read more. LifeSciences@Work: The national accelerator for high potential Life Sciences start-up initiatives. We help scientists build their business. We offer activities designed for researchers with entrepreneurial aspirations as well as for life sciences startups. LS@W is powered by Health~Holland | Top Sector Life Sciences & Health. Contact us.

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