Utrecht Health Seed Fund’s first anniversary!

Before we knew, we’re celebrating Utrecht Health Seed Fund’s first anniversary!

And what a year it has been. We can’t express how proud we are of our exceptional portfolio companies and the talented entrepreneurs and scientists driving these ventures:

– TargED Biopharmaceuticals is developing a next generation clot-busting drug with unique properties, focusing on Acute Ischemic Stroke and Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP);

– Moveshelf is building a unique software platform for clinical movement analysis, targeted at severe movement disorders such as Cerebral Palsy;

– NTrans Technologies is advancing their gene editing platform to target Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; and

– SentryX is building a next generation, innovative pain relief therapy platform, focusing on orthopedic surgical post-procedural pain.

We are continuously scouting and screening new startups that want to bring fantastic and innovative developments into the market. Are you an entrepreneur within Life Science & Health with an early stage seed venture and are you looking for an investment (TRL2-7)? Submit your proposal via our application portal. Do you have a question? Please contact us via contact@uhsf.nl.

The Utrecht Health Seed Fund is a joint initiative established by Utrecht Holdings and the Economic Board Utrecht (EBU) with the assistance and support of the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), co-financing of the Dutch Government and support of UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht.

Utrecht Holdings manages the UHSF. Utrecht Holdings has an extensive track record in the field of early-stage life sciences and health investment.

SentryX closes €3.2M seed funding round for the development of next generation pain relief therapeutics

We are delighted with the new investment in SentryX, a next generation, innovative pain relief therapy platform, focusing on orthopedic surgical post-procedural pain.

Press release:

June 9, 2021 – Utrecht, the Netherlands

SentryX, a spin-off of the University Medical Center Utrecht (the Netherlands) today announced that it raised €3.2M in seed funding for the development of their next-generation pain relief therapeutic platform. The round includes an investment from the Utrecht Health Seed Fund.

Every year, millions of people in Europe and the US undergo a significant orthopedic surgical procedure and experience intense post-operative pain as a result. Despite the application of systemic pain medication, most patients still report insufficient pain relief, hampering post-operative recovery. SentryX’s innovative pain relief therapy platform focuses on minimizing post-operative pain to improve the overall patient experience and quality of care.

Bas Oosterman, CEO of SentryX comments: “Our initial results are promising and underscore the potential of our platform to provide superior pain relief. In speaking with orthopedic surgeons worldwide, we are convinced that our platform can make a big impact. We are excited to have the support of our investors in realizing our next development steps.”

Albert van Wijck, anesthesiologist and pain specialist at the University Medical Center Utrecht states: “SentryX is doing important work that addresses an unmet need. Orthopedic surgeries are among the most painful procedures, especially the first day after surgery, despite state-of-the-art analgesic therapy. Pain is not only uncomfortable for the patient, but it also induces complications such as thrombosis, infection, and a prolonged recovery.”

Jaap de Bruin, Fund Manager of UHSF commented: “We are delighted to support the SentryX team in further developing their pain medication platform. We believe that the platform has great potential to lower the burden of pain and medication directly after surgery, benefitting both patients and healthcare systems. This aligns with the vision of UHSF and we look forward to working with SentryX’s outstanding team.”


Background statements

About SentryX

SentryX is a life sciences company based in Utrecht, the Netherlands, that develops next-generation pain relief therapeutics. SentryX was founded by Prof. dr. J.J. Verlaan and Dr. B.J. Oosterman and spun out of the University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.

For more information, please visit https://www.sentryx.nl.


About Utrecht Health Seed Fund

Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is an early-stage life sciences & health investment fund also based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It focuses on scalable technologies in the fields of Life Sciences (therapeutics and diagnostics), Medical Devices, Digital Health, and Animal Health in the earliest stages of development.

UHSF was established by Utrecht Holdings with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht.

For more information, please visit www.uhsf.nl.



Contact information

Hein Jonkman, MD, MSc, hein.jonkman@sentryx.nl

TargED Biopharmaceuticals appoints Ludo Haazen, M.D. as Chief Medical Officer

TargED Biopharmaceuticals, a biotech spin-off of the University Medical Center Utrecht, today announced the appointment of Ludo Haazen as Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Kristof Vercruysse, CEO of TargED commented: “We are delighted that Ludo is joining our team as CMO. In Ludo, we found the ideal candidate to support the company’s transition from preclinical to clinical stage company. Ludo’s extensive experience and outstanding track record in the clinical development of new medicinal products, including in the field of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP), will be a valuable asset for TargED Biopharmaceuticals.” In his role as CMO, Ludo will design and lead the clinical development of the company’s lead compound, Microlyse, in patients suffering from aTTP and acute ischemic stroke (AIS), in line with regulatory requirements and with support of TargED’s Scientific Advisory Board. Ludo will directly report to Kristof Vercruysse, CEO.

About Ludo Haazen: Ludo obtained his Medical Degree (M.D.) in 1985 from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium as well a postgraduate certificate in Statistics and Epidemiology. He practiced 2 years as resident in internal medicine and 2 years as general practitioner before starting his career of over 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry. As such, Ludo worked as Global Medical Leader and Global Project Leader at Janssen Research Foundation (J&J), as Regulatory and Medical Affairs Director at Orthovita, and for over 18 years now, Ludo has been consulting start-up and small biotech companies. In this role, he held various functions including that of Head of Pharmacovigilance, Medical Director and CMO. At Ablynx (2013- 2017), he provided expert clinical and medical support in the phase II and phase III clinical development program of Caplacizumab in aTTP. Ludo is also appointed as lecturer and examiner by the Free University of Brussels (ULB), and is Review Editor for the medical journal Frontiers Pharmacology for the section Pharmaceutical Medicine and Outcomes Research.

Ludo Haazen stated: “I am excited to join the dynamic TargED team to ensure an efficient and seamless transition of their promising lead product Microlyse into the clinic. Microlyse has the potential to fill an important medical need in the management of various thrombotic diseases and I want to make sure to maximize this potential from a clinical perspective”.

About TargED Biopharmaceuticals: TargED is a UMC Utrecht spin-off founded in July 2020 by Associate prof. Coen Maas, PhD, Steven de Maat, PhD, Marc van Moorsel and Kristof Vercruysse. TargED stands for Targeted Enzyme Delivery and the company develops first-inclass biological drugs that use small antibodies (“nanobodies”) to deliver enzymes to sites of thrombosis, enabling ‘targeted thrombolysis’. In November 2020, TargED raised a EUR 1.35 million seed investment to develop their lead compound Microlyse. Microlyse accelerates the degradation of blood clots that obstruct the vasculature and, consequently, reduce the risk for organ failure. TargED’s objective is to accelerate thrombolysis in all forms of thrombosis, irrespective of the thrombus composition or location. Its first target indications are acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP) and acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
Contact: info@targedbio.com

NTrans Technologies closes Series A investment to accelerate development of gene editing therapy

We’re excited to be investing in NTrans Technologies BV, a gene editing therapy company focusing on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, together with Essential Ventures, BOP Capital and Starfish Innovations.

May 27, 2021
Utrecht, The Netherlands – NTrans Technologies (NTrans), a leader in gene editing technologies, today announced a Series A investment of 2 million Euros, led by Essential Investments, together with BOP Capital, Utrecht Health Seed Fund, and Starfish Innovations. Through this investment, NTrans aims to advance the development of its gene editing-based therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The funds will be used to demonstrate preclinical efficacy and safety of the therapy in DMD disease models, in preparation for its progression to the clinic.

NTrans, a spin-off of the Hubrecht Institute of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a leader in developing novel gene editing technologies for the treatment of inheritable diseases and cancer. Its proprietary therapeutic platform to treat genetic muscle disease, triggers a cell’s natural uptake mechanism to safely deliver gene editing systems, like CRISPR-Cas, into the target cell, where it efficiently corrects the function of the defective gene.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating genetic disease characterized by progressive muscle degeneration, for which there is no cure. Onset occurs usually in boys between the ages of 2 and 3 years, whose average life expectancy is 26 years. DMD is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene and affects all voluntary muscles in the body. NTrans’ iTOP DMD gene editing treatment will be used to preserve the critical arm function in DMD patients. Sustained upper extremity function is extremely important as it allows a patient to independently control his wheelchair, computer, phone and feed himself. It preserves a great level of independence and thereby significantly enhances the quality of life. NTrans aims to offer a treatment that will permanently repair the dystrophin gene mutation with a single intramuscular administration.

Marco de Boer, CEO of NTrans says: “We are are thrilled to have strong support from such an outstanding group of investors, each with their own broad networks, to help advance NTrans and its programs. We look forward to strengthening our team and infrastructure to progress NTrans’ innovative programs with the goal of delivering breakthrough gene-editing therapies to the patient.”

Prof. Niels Geijsen, co-founder and scientific advisor of NTrans, commented: “Gene editing technologies hold great promise for the treatment of genetic disorders, and NTrans’ platform can fundamentally improve the efficacy and safety of these therapies. In collaboration with experts at Leiden University Medical Center and other academic centers, we will optimize our technology for clinical applications, with a focus on muscle diseases.”

Peter Schoevers (Essential Investments), on behalf of the investors, commented: “We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with the NTrans team. The company has demonstrated scientificexcellence and we believe its technology platform can play a crucial role in the introduction of life-changing gene editing therapies into the clinic.”


NTrans Technologies
Marco de Boer | Chief Executive Officer
Email: marco.deboer@ntranstechnologies.com

Background statements:

About Essential Investments
Essential Investments is a seed capital fund focusing on high tech companies within the life sciences sector. The Netherlands-based fund provides seed and early-stage investments for R&D-intensive start-ups and ventures. Backed by experienced angel investors and a strong network, the fund uses a hands-on mentality to help innovations reach the market.

About BOP Capital
BOP Capital is a multidisciplinary venture fund focused on investing alongside entrepreneurs, scientists and management teams operating companies with a strong focus on innovation and impact; supporting the transition of society towards a more sustainable and socially responsible environment through challenging the status quo. While we remain sector agnostic, our portfolio companies mainly operate in the broader definition of the technology and life science industry. We have an active network of experts in various sub sectors to support us during due diligence and the partnership with our portfolio companies.

About Utrecht Health Seed Fund
Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is an early-stage life sciences & health investment fund based out of Utrecht, The Netherlands, focused on scalable technologies in the field of Life Sciences (therapeutics and diagnostics), Medical Devices, Digital Health, and Animal Health in the earliest stages of development. UHSF is established by Utrecht Holdings with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht. For more information, please visit www.uhsf.nl.

About Starfish Innovations
Starfish Innovations is an investment fund and commercialization hub that seeks to accelerate breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. Founded in 2016 by the Leiden University Medical Center, Starfish Innovations scouts for early-stage technologies in the field of regenerative medicine through her direct access to the promising science at LUMC as well as her global network of academic institutions and industry alike. For more information, please visit www.starfishinnovations.com.


Moveshelf closes seed investment to accelerate digital transformation of diagnosis and care for movement disorders

We proudly announce UHSF’s second investment, in Moveshelf, together with Locapes Investment Fund. Moveshelf is a digital health company with a unique platform for clinical movement analysis.
We look forward to working with their talented team!
Please find the press release below:

March 2nd, 2021, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Moveshelf, a digital health company with a unique platform for clinical movement analysis, has raised a seed investment to accelerate the digital transformation of diagnosis and care for movement disorders. Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) and Locapes Investment Fund contributed to this round.

One out of four 50+ year olds are confronted with some form of movement disorders, with prevalence rising sharply with age. Severe movement disorders in particular, such as those associated with Osteoarthritis, Stroke, Cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease have a high societal, personal, and economic impact. Movement analysis, the structured and quantified measurement of movement data, is a vital part of the diagnosis and treatment of patients affected by movement disorders. Moveshelf, founded by Ignazio Aleo, PhD (CEO) and Per Slycke (Chairman), integrates movement analysis with clinical systems, providing a digital platform for decision support and objective and quantitative analysis of complex multi-modal datasets.  Similar to what Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and Vendor Neutral Archives (VNA) have done for Xrays and MRI imaging since the 1980s, Moveshelf supports the standardization and interoperability of movement analysis technologies.

Ignazio Aleo, CEO of Moveshelf said: “We are thrilled with this collaboration and excited for the next phase of Moveshelf. This is a major milestone, and it will enable us to accelerate our plans and serve our rapidly growing number of clinical customers with our digital platform for movement analysis. Based on feedback that we receive from the clinicians that we work with, we are convinced that we can make a significant difference in patients’ lives.”

Jaap de Bruin, UHSF’s Fund Manager commented: “We are excited to join the journey of Moveshelf and its mission to facilitate movement digitization and diagnosis to improve outcomes for patient groups that face a complex set of disabling movement limitations. Furthermore, we look forward to working with the talented team that is driving the company.”


Background statements

About Utrecht Health Seed Fund

Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is an early-stage life sciences & health investment fund based out of Utrecht, The Netherlands, focused on scalable technologies in the field of Life Sciences (therapeutics and diagnostics), Medical Devices, Digital Health, and Animal Health in the earliest stages of development. UHSF is established by Utrecht Holdings with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht. For more information, please visit www.uhsf.nl.


About Locapes Investment Fund

Locapes Investment Fund (Locapes) invests in exponential technology ventures with a focus on early stage B2B technology start-ups that have the ambition to improve how people live, work, and stay healthy. Locapes operates primarily from Utrecht, the Netherlands, Stockholm, Sweden and Palo Alto, California. For more information, please visit www.locapes.com.



Johannes Gijsbers, VP of Product

E: johannes.gijsbers@moveshelf.com

Interview with the TargED team and learn more about this exciting venture and its team!

In November 2020, TargED Biopharmaceuticals from Utrecht, The Netherlands, announced that they closed a seed investment round, and agreed on a public-private partnership with the UMC Utrecht.  For the Utrecht Health Seed Fund, this marked their first closing since opening the fund for investments in April 2020.

TargED’s team has hit the ground running and is rapidly making steps to advance their groundbreaking clot-busting drug, Microlyse. UHSF had the opportunity to sit together with the team for a short interview, to talk about their exciting goals and challenges. Five questions, as the team was eager to get back to the lab!

What are you developing and for whom?

“Thrombosis is a disease that clogs up the vasculature that is essential to provide the human body of essential elements such as energy and oxygen. Thrombosis of the large blood vessels can be removed via a surgical procedure, but this approach does not work for the smaller blood vessels (microvasculature). The latter can only be treated with therapeutic agents that slowly dissolve the blood clot. Unfortunately, current therapeutics have a limited efficacy and have serious side effects. To address the shortcomings of existing therapeutics, we have developed Microlyse, a novel therapeutic compound that works completely different than wat is currently used. While we have originally developed Microlyse for the rare thrombotic disease TTP, we have preliminary evidence that Microlyse could also work well in other thrombotic diseases such as stroke.”

Can you tell us about your team?

“TargED currently consists of the four founders together with three investors. Coen Maas (associate professor @ UMCU; CSO) and Steven de Maat (Post-Doc @ UMCU; CTO) are the original inventors of Microlyse and will help TargED to complete the development of Microlyse both in in-vivo studies as well as product development. Marc van Moorsel (PhD-candidate @ UMCU; COO) leads the business development of TargED and together with Kristof Vercruysse (CEO) forms the management board. Kristof brings a wealth of knowledge to the team from his past experience with the development of Caplacizumab for TTP (Sanofi). Additionally, he supported the development of several compounds from Proof of Concept in animals to marketing approval. Recently, TargED received its seed investment from Utrecht Health Seed Fund, Curie Capital and Fonds InvesteringsRijpe Starters (FIRST). The team is relatively young, but brings outstanding scientific acumen, combined with industry experience from Kristof, and is very eager to bring Microlyse to the market. We look forward to the challenges and success to come!”

What are the key challenges that you are facing as an early stage life science venture?

“Development of a novel therapeutic is a long and costly process. As such, TargED needs to prove that it’s worth the investment. Hereto, we are currently focusing on showing that our product, Microlyse, is effective in multiple forms of thrombosis. In addition, three of us experienced a transition from being solely scientific researchers to being both researcher and academic entrepreneur. A start-up company raises countless, but very interesting discussions outside our comfort zones, i.e., we have to develop ourselves as well as the company.”

What does this seed investment mean for the development of TargED?

“The potential of Microlyse is huge, but needs to be proven. With the investment of Utrecht Health Seed Fund, FIRST fund and Curie Capital, it allows TargED to do exactly that. We will show proof-of-concept in various disease models of thrombosis and start with toxicity studies that are required to eventually receive EMA/FDA market approval. Furthermore, we will further develop the Microlyse compound itself, which allows for producing in a professional setting on a large industrial scale.”

What, in your wildest dreams, will be the impact of TargED for society in the long run?

“Microlyse could be a safe, one-stop-solution in any situation where thrombosis is suspected. This includes millions of peoples worldwide each year. In addition, we will also attempt to develop novel methods for the identification of thrombosis in the smaller blood vessels, which to date, is not possible. This would greatly help patients to receive the proper treatment as fast as possible.”


UHSF Fund Manager Jaap de Bruin said: “We’re very excited about TargED as our first investment of the Utrecht Health Seed Fund. The potential of TargED’s product for patients is enormous, and we look very much forward to working with this outstanding team. I would like to thank once more UHSF’s founders & funders, i.e. UMC Utrecht, University of Utrecht, and the European Regional Development Fund (through the Kansen voor West program), who have made this fund, and hence this investment, possible.”


For more information regarding TargED:

visit www.targedbiopharmaceuticals.com or contact info@targedbiopharmaceuticals.com


For more information regarding UHSF:

visit www.uhsf.nl or send an email to contact@uhsf.nl



TargED receives NWO Take-Off 2

Congratulations to the team of our portfolio company TargED Biopharmaceuticals, as they have been awarded a Take-Off 2 grant from NWO (the Dutch National Science Organization)!

TargED closes seed investment for the development of a next-generation thrombolytic clot-busting drug

We’re thrilled to announce UHSF’s first investment, in TargED Biopharmaceuticals, together with Curie Capital and FIRST Fund. TargED is developing a next generation clot-busting drug with unique properties, initially focusing on acute ischemic stroke as its target, with several thrombotic diseases as potential spin-offs.
Please find the press release below:
TargED closes seed investment and partners with UMC Utrecht for the development of Microlyse – a next-generation thrombolytic clot-busting drug
November 24th, 2020
Utrecht, the Netherlands – TargED Biopharmaceuticals, a biotech spin-off of the University Medical Center Utrecht founded by Associate prof. Coen Maas, PhD, Steven de Maat, PhD, Marc van Moorsel and Kristof Vercruysse, raised EUR 1.35 million to develop a unique biotechnological drug for rapid degradation of blood clots that obstruct the vasculature. The funds include a seed investment from FIRST fund, Curie Capital and Utrecht Health Seed Fund as well as a public-private-partnership with UMC Utrecht, supported by additional funding from Health Holland.
Every year, approximately 1.3 million Europeans and 800.000 US citizens have a first stroke. Stroke is the second most common cause of death and a major cause of disability in developed economies. The majority of stroke events are caused by an occlusion of a blood vessel (thrombosis). TargED’s Microlyse, a new proprietary clot-busting compound, binds to a protein that is present in all forms of thrombosis, ranging from those that obstruct the largest vessels to the smallest vessels in the body (microvasculature). Due to its unique mechanism of action, Microlyse can stimulate a natural pathway that dissolves these blood clots. This therapeutic approach can be used to rapidly eliminate occlusive blood clots and has the potential to outperform current stroke care therapeutics. Next to acute ischemic stroke, thrombosis is seen in a wide range of cardiovascular conditions for which TargED expects that Microlyse is also applicable, such as the life-threatening disease TTP (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura).
Kristof Vercruysse, interim CEO of TargED said: “The first results of Microlyse based on the work of Coen Maas and Steven de Maat underscore the potential of Microlyse to break down blood clots in various diseases. We appreciate the support from our investors to realize next development steps, and I am honored to be part of a company that has the potential to positively impact millions of lives by enabling patient access to these lifesaving treatments.”
Bart van der Worp, MD PhD, Neurologist specialized in cerebrovascular diseases at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, stated: “Given its mode of action, Microlyse has the potential not only to improve the chance of recanalization of an occluded artery as compared to intravenous thrombolysis using currently available drugs, but also to reduce the risk of intracranial bleeding, the most feared complication of thrombolysis. Greater efficacy and an improved safety profile could lead to better outcomes for thousands of patients worldwide. To assess the potential benefit of Microlyse, further preclinical and clinical research is needed.”
Rianne Ellenbroek, PhD, Investment Manager of FIRST commented: “We are very excited to support the TargED team on their journey to further develop the strong scientific work Coen Maas and Steven de Maat have established with support of the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA). Microlyse is a therapeutic innovation that has a strong potential to lower the burden of cardiovascular diseases related to thrombotic events.”
Background statements
Fonds InvesteringsRijpe STarters (FIRST) is a pre-seed fund that finances pioneering scientists in The Netherlands active in the emerging fields of regenerative medicine and cardiovascular diseases. FIRST is founded by the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA) and Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders (RegMed XB) with support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) supports the FIRST fund as registered fund manager, making available its network, expertise, and facilities.
For more information, please visit www.biogenerationventures.com/first.
About Curie Capital
Curie Capital is a private life-science seed fund, based in Amsterdam, investing in early stage Dutch companies with skilled teams and promising medical products in healthcare, together with other VCs. Curie Capital is managed by the two partners, Mariette van der Velden and Han de Groot who both have extensive experience in investing, entrepreneurship and in creating value for companies. Curie Capital invests with the aim to make a positive impact on patients and healthcare.
For more information, please visit https://www.curiecapital.nl
About Utrecht Health Seed Fund
Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) is an early stage life sciences & health investment fund based out of Utrecht, The Netherlands, focused on scalable technologies in the field of Life Sciences (therapeutics and diagnostics), Medical Devices, Digital Health, and Animal Health in the earliest stages of development. UHSF is established by Utrecht Holdings with the assistance and support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UMC Utrecht, and the University of Utrecht.
For more information, please visit www.uhsf.nl.
Marc van Moorsel
E: marc.van.moorsel@targedbiopharmaceuticals.com

ROM Regio Utrecht launched

The Regional Development Fund (Regionale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij  or ROM) for the region of Utrecht is launched. The ROM Regio Utrecht Fund aims to strengthen the economic structure and innovation power of the Utrecht region. We at the Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) look forward to collaborating with the ROM in the field of Life Sciences & Health.


A key opportunity of the formation of the ROM, is to support follow-up financing for the investees of the Utrecht Health Seed Fund. UHSF is primarily focused on start-up and early scale-up companies, whereas the ROM focuses on the scale-up and later stages of company development. The Life Sciences & Health sector is one of ROM’s focus areas.

Below you may find the press release of the Regional Development Fund Utrecht (in Dutch).

ROM Regio Utrecht opgericht

De akte voor de oprichting van de Regionale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij (ROM) Regio Utrecht is ondertekend. Met dit ontwikkelingsfonds van 50 miljoen euro, wil de regio Utrecht het regionale economische ecosysteem verder versterken door te investeren in de innovatieve sectoren en maatschappelijke opgaven in de regio Utrecht.


Robert Strijk, gedeputeerde Economie provincie Utrecht: “De economie van de regio is een van de sterkste van Nederland en de EU. Met de ROM kan deze positie niet alleen beter bestand worden gemaakt tegen onverwachte crises maar ook beter inspelen op de maatschappelijke en economische uitdagingen in toekomst.”


Doel en ROM Regio Utrecht
De ROM Regio Utrecht levert een bijdrage aan de uitvoering van de Regionale Economische Agenda (REA), ondersteunt het brengen van innovaties naar de markt zodat belangrijke maatschappelijke vraagstukken opgelost worden en de ROM versterkt het innovatieve bedrijfsleven. Op die manier kunnen gemeenten, provincie samen met bedrijven en onderwijsinstellingen (‘Triple Helix’) de huidige economische toppositie zowel in crises alsook op langere termijn behouden. De ontwikkelingsmaatschappij deelt dan ook nadrukkelijk de drie belangrijkste speerpunten van de REA: een toekomstbestendige leefomgeving, gezonde mensen en digitalisering. Met business development, participaties en financieringen richt de ontwikkelingsmaatschappij zich dan ook voornamelijk op het innovatieve MKB dat actief is op deze thema’s.


Financiën en de ROM Regio Utrecht
De ROM Regio Utrecht beschikt over een fonds van € 22 miljoen, dat zal doorgroeien naar € 50 miljoen. Dit bedrag wordt ingebracht door het Ministerie van Economische Zaken & Klimaat, de provincie Utrecht, gemeenten Amersfoort, Hilversum en Utrecht, de Universiteit Utrecht en het Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht. Bovengenoemde partners zijn aandeelhouders in het investeringsfonds van de ROM Regio Utrecht.


Ondernemers en de ROM Regio Utrecht
De ontwikkelingsmaatschappij richt zich vooral op ondernemers en bedrijven die bijdragen aan de doelstellingen uit de Regionaal Economische Agenda; het verbeteren van het gezonde, stedelijke leven, zoals in de energietransitie, klimaatadaptatie, duurzame mobiliteit, circulariteit, welzijn, gezondheid, gezonde leefomgeving en digitalisering. Deze bedrijven kunnen bij de werkorganisatie van de ROM een ondersteuningsaanvraag doen voor hun businessplan en bedrijfsontwikkeling of een financieringsaanvraag. Een team van onafhankelijk experts beoordeelt of de aanvraag voldoet en gaat samen met het bedrijf op zoek naar financieringsmogelijkheden. Daarnaast zal de ROM zich ook bezighouden met het begeleiden van buitenlandse bedrijven bij hun komst naar de regio en het organiseren van handelsmissies voor bedrijven uit de regio Utrecht.


Governance en de ROM Regio Utrecht

Diana Monissen
Diana Monissen wordt voorgedragen als voorzitter van de onafhankelijke Raad van Commissarissen voor de ROM Regio Utrecht. Monissen was afgelopen jaren bestuursvoorzitter van het Prinses Máxima Centrum. Daarnaast is zij in het verleden actief geweest in diverse bestuurlijke en toezichthoudende functies. De RvC zal onder haar leiding worden uitgebreid naar 3 – 5 leden. Haar benoeming zal in de eerste aandeelhoudersvergadering van de ROM Regio Utrecht worden bekrachtigd.

Arjan van den Born
Arjan van den Born zal worden voorgedragen als kandidaat voor de functie van directeur/bestuurder van de ROM Regio Utrecht. Van den Born vervulde afgelopen jaren verschillende leidinggevende functies binnen de academische wereld en in het bedrijfsleven en heeft brede en praktische ervaring met ondernemerschap, technologie en financiering als speerpunten. Daarnaast is hij als hoogleraar digitaal ondernemerschap, gespecialiseerd in de impact van digitale technologie op ondernemers; van start-ups tot gevestigde bedrijven. Hij neemt op 1 juli 2020 het stokje over van de kwartiermaker en interim-directeur, Nathal van Rijn.


Internationale werkzaamheden in de gemeenten Amersfoort, Utrecht en de provincie zullen ondergebracht worden bij de ROM Regio Utrecht. Dit betreft meerdere medewerkers. De werkorganisatie heeft intussen huisvesting gevonden in Utrecht aan de Euclideslaan nummer 1 (gebouw YinYang). Op het internet is de ROM Regio Utrecht te vinden op www.romregioutrecht.nl.


Coronacrisis en de ROM Regio Utrecht
De ROM Regio Utrecht gaat van start in een tijd waarin de economische realiteit wordt gedomineerd door de coronacrisis. Vooruitlopend op de oprichting van de ontwikkelingsmaatschappij is onder leiding van Nathal van Rijn in de provincie Utrecht een organisatie opgericht voor de uitvoering van de Corona-overbruggings-Lening (COL-regeling) van het Ministerie van Economische Zaken & Klimaat. De COL-regeling ondersteunt start ups, scale ups en het innovatieve MKB, die geraakt worden door de coronacrisis. Deze uitvoeringsorganisatie voor de provincie Utrecht zal komende periode ingroeien in de ROM Regio Utrecht.


Bericht: Provincie Utrecht

New Utrecht-based fund investing in Life Science & Health start-ups

The Utrecht Health Seed Fund (UHSF) officially launched at the end of March. Over the next three years, it’ll be looking to invest in promising start-ups based in the province of Utrecht and working in the field of Life Sciences & Health (LS&H).

Jaap de Bruin (UHSF Fund Manager) explains the reasons for setting up the UHSF, “Utrecht is a hotbed for medical start-ups. Yet there are many great ideas that simply aren’t being exploited due to a lack of early-stage funding. And this is hampering both technological and economic advancement. The UHSF will be acting as a catalyst in this respect with its €5.4 million investment fund.”


The fund aims to help around twenty promising companies accelerate and scale up their technologies in the field of Life Sciences (biotech, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics), Digital Health, Medical Devices, and Animal Health.

De Bruin paints the bigger picture, “The ultimate goal is to improve outcomes, and make healthcare more efficient and affordable. The province of Utrecht is home to a wide range of innovative public and private LS&H research organizations, healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, who together have created an ecosystem ripe for LS&H start-ups. However, we noticed that there is a gap in early-stage funding between research (public) and venture capital (private). It’s this gap we’re aiming to fill.”


The UHSF is partly financed by the Kansen voor West program [‘Opportunities for West’], which is in turn financed by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Kansen voor West is looking to boost the regional economy and innovation with its investment in the fund. Ronald van Raak (Kansen voor West Program Manager) explains its involvement, “I believe wholeheartedly that this will succeed. Utrecht is one of the last provinces to set up such a fund. This had to do with establishing a structure rather than anything to do with the region’s level of innovation. Utrecht is home to many researchers, and engagement is high.”

The UHSF aims to initially invest between €100K and €250K in the form of a convertible loan or equity, preferably in partnership with co-investors. Companies must be based in the province of Utrecht and in an early stage of development equivalent to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) between 2 and 7 to be eligible for UHSF funding.

TRL is a system used to define the stage of development for a specific product or service innovation. The higher the TRL, the closer the innovation is to proving its technological and functional viability, and the closer it is to be implemented on a large scale.


Expertise and positioning

The UHSF’s team members have been investing in early-stage LS&H businesses for many years now and will be applying their combined knowledge and leveraging their collective networks to benefit the new fund.

The UHSF works closely with the Utrecht Regional Development Corporation (ROM). ROM’s goal is to support local businesses and strengthen the region’s economic structure, with a particular focus on sustainable environments, human health, and digitalization. These goals are closely aligned with those of the UHSF.

Nathal van Rijn (ROM Coordinator) explains how he views the partnership, “Our partnership aims at identifying promising young businesses at an early stage so that we can then support them financially at a later stage when they need larger investments. Besides collaborating and coordinating, ROM business developers are also available to help UHSF-funded start-ups develop their strategies and plan their growth.

The fund has a lot of potential and provides an impetus and the much-needed investment to help start-ups develop their innovations at a stage when sufficient funding is generally unavailable.”

Van Raak (Kansen voor West) is of the same opinion, “I have a lot of faith in the UHSF team. They have a great deal of expertise between them and are ideally positioned in terms of their networks.”