[Darmstadt, Germany] Merck announced on June 12, the winners of the third annual Displaying Futures Award. This year, 97 applicants from around the globe submitted their smart medical ideas. The top ten teams, who have devoted themselves to topics such as wearables, artificial intelligence for real time data, smart devices for diagnostics, and sensors for disease prediction, were invited to the new Merck Innovation Center at the company headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany on June 4-6 where they pitched their ideas for a chance to be one of the three winning teams.
The three winning teams will now, over the next twelve months, receive mentorship from Merck experts, access to the company’s global network and resources, and up to US $50,000 each to help shape their ideas. “As a company with leadership positions in healthcare, life science, and performance materials, we are eager to use this unique opportunity to drive crosssectoral technologies that have potential to bring life-changing results in these important fields.” Says Kai Beckmann, CEO of the Performance Materials business of Merck “We are proud to be a part of these innovation journeys and are excited to offer our support and 350 years of expertise.” A panel of judges selected the winning teams by considering important criteria such as innovativeness, business potential and social impact.
The winning ideas are: • “Biosensors for high sensitivity and near real time medical diagnosis.” Hexagonfab, a UK based company, has developed a novel nanomaterial, which enables a new generation of fast and sensitive sensors for biomarker detection.
“Weaving neurons with electronics to revolutionise neurostimulation.” Neuroloom, from London, is currently developing a retinal implant intended to improve the functionality of a visual prostheses. Their work focuses on weaving neurons into implantable electronics so that the electronics may inherit the highly selective stimulation capabilities of neurons to restore eyesight.
“On-chip all-solid-state glucose micro fuel cell for energy harvesting in the human body.” This invention was presented by a team from the Electrochemical Materials Laboratory at MIT in the United States. It will enable the conversion of glucose in the blood stream of the human body into electricity with the first ever all-solid-state miniature glucose fuel cell.
This technology would offer revolutionary possibilities for applications such as pacemakers, implantable sensors and other implantable devices which require a constant source of electricity. This yearlong partnership will lead up to a final event in summer 2019 where the three teams will be able to pitch their ideas to investors As part of its innovation strategy, Merck focuses on international exchanges with young entrepreneurs who are working on future-oriented business ideas. In addition to the Displaying Futures Award, Merck offers other channels for startups to exchange and collaborate, such as the Accelerator Program at the Innovation Center that will open its application process this summer.