INCATE receives Lighthouse Award 2024 from Swiss National Science Foundation

Photos: NCCR AntiResist

June 28th 2024 – INCATE, the INCubator for Antimicrobial Therapies in Europe, has been honored with the 2024 Lighthouse Award for outstanding Transfer of Knowledge and Technology by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The award ceremony took place on June 27th, in Bern.

The SNSF has developed the Lighthouse Awards to recognize the quality of non-science initiatives such as promoting equal opportunity, the transfer of knowledge and technologies, open science initiatives, communication of science, and education.

According to the SNSF, “INCATE – where the NCCR AntiResist is one of the founding members – wins the Lighthouse Award for the transfer of technologies. INCATE plays a key role in addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR), bringing together scientists and specialists from industry to trigger the development of new solutions to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Worldwide, AMR causes more than a million of deaths each year, as the evolution of bacteria renders current antibiotics ineffective. In addition, research is stagnating as the development of antibiotics is not profitable. The INCATE initiative seeks to change this with its collaborative approach, providing advice, networking opportunities and financing, thereby creating a genuine international community of interest. In three years, INCATE established strong links between the biopharmaceutical industry, European institutions and innovators from academia to fill the pipeline with new antibiotics.”

“Let me express, on behalf of the entire INCATE team, how honored we feel receiving this award. The SNSF and NCCR AntiResist Management supported INCATE’s creative design and implementation from its inception, with the objective of creating an international and impactful organization. Since 2021, we have helped innovators turn university findings into start-up businesses.”, said Helmut Kessmann from INCATE’s Management team. “We would also like to express a big thank you to the two other founding institutions, the German Center for Infection Research and the Leibniz:HKI as well as our Selection Committee, who play a crucial role in selecting the most promising enterprises.”

In this first-time pilot of the Lighthouse Awards, another NCCR’s received awards in four categories: NCCR Automation was twice rewarded, for its Energy Moonshot project to harmonize automation systems with ground reality and a for its Data Kiosk facilitating access to Swiss data on energy and mobility; NCCR Microbiomes was recognized for its video game communicating the science of microbiomes research; and the NCCR SPIN was rewarded for the tool it developed to enhance learning about quantum physics.

Since 2021, INCATE has been contacted by over 280 start-ups and projects, gathering more than 118 applications. The establishment of a robust pipeline for new ventures has been a hallmark accomplishment, along with furnishing essential support to 33 ventures at Stage I. The current portfolio of Stage I ventures comes from 16 countries so far, with over half not founded as companies when they first contacted INCATE. The technologies selected include traditional direct acting small molecules and peptides but also phages, anti-virulence and other technologies. Notably, two of these ventures moved forward to Stage II. At present, the landscape includes some INCATE ventures that have achieved the coveted “investable stage” status, successfully securing equity investment and forging impactful collaborations. Some success stories from our portfolio include Invitris, smartbax, CC Bio, Disperazol, and Xiretsa.

This award will allow INCATE to continue its commitment to advancing novel and breakthrough technologies and new products to fight the antibiotic resistance challenge.


About SNSF

Based on a government mandate, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supports scientific research in all academic disciplines – from physics to medicine to sociology. At the end of 2022, the SNSF was funding 5500 projects involving more than 20,000 researchers. This makes us the leading Swiss organization for the promotion of scientific research.

In close collaboration with higher education institutions and other partners, the SNSF strives to create the best possible conditions for the development and global interconnectedness of Swiss research. It pays particular attention to the promotion of early-career researchers. In addition, it accepts evaluation mandates to help ensure that large third-party-funded research initiatives deliver the highest scientific quality. The Lighthouse Awards were created to recognize the quality of non-science initiatives such as promoting equal opportunity, the transfer of knowledge and technologies, open science initiatives, communication of science, and education.


About NCCR AntiResist

The National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) AntiResist is a Swiss research consortium funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), which aims to tackle the urgent global imperative of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the top ten threats to global health. AntiResist is a diverse panel of experts in the fields of clinical research, infection biology, and engineering, which aims at transforming the research and development of new antibiotics and antimicrobial strategies by building human tissue-based infection models to screen and discover new antibiotics.



INCATE is a not-for-profit partnership which brings together translational and basic research, industry, experienced entrepreneurs and investors from across Europe and beyond. The German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), the Leibniz:HKI (part of Leibniz Association) in Germany, the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research AntiResist, the University of Basel are the academic founding members of INCATE with the University of Basel acting as the host. Together with the four industry partners Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche, Shionogi and MSD as well as other organizations, funders and investors, INCATE want to ensure that the pipeline of new antibiotics and technology platforms is filled and strengthened.



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