Future-proof research-based innovations leading the way at Slush

The University of Helsinki and Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd (HIS) bring to the spotlight at Slush a total of 16 spinouts and commercialisation projects based on research innovations, some of which are already on their way to international success.

Slush 2022, a major international startup event organised in Helsinki on 17 and 18 November, attracts thousands of participants from around the world. As official main partners, the University of Helsinki and Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd (HIS) will present altogether 16 research innovations and spinout companies founded on research conducted at the University. 

Research in medicine, pharmacy, food technology and physics at the University of Helsinki will be presented by the researchers behind the innovations. Some of them are attending Slush for the first time, while others are more experienced in meeting decision-makers and investors in the Slush context from previous years.

Commercialisation requires focused long-term work, and some projects mature all the way into spinout companies during their commercialisation process. Uute Scientific, also to be found at Slush, is an example of a spinout originating in the University of Helsinki. Its Re-Connecting Nature® substance can be added into skin cream or integrated into fabrics to enhance the proper function of the human immune system. At the moment, dozens of products containing this ‘biodiversity powder’ are available to consumers, and the substance has been patented in Europe and the United States. 

Life sciences bring smoothness, comfort, and progress to everyday life

Innovations in medicine and pharmacy are represented at Slush by inventions ranging from molecular technology to practical applications visible to patients.

For example, microneedle patches by Medixmicro deliver drugs painlessly through the skin with the help of hundreds of small microneedles that dissolve into the skin, without the need to use conventional injection needles. 

Stem cell technology is represented through entirely new opportunities for investigating and treating brain diseases. Mini-brains can be grown from patients’ cells, which can be used to personalise pharmacotherapies targeted at brain diseases for individual patients. Patient-specific care related to personalised medicine is also the goal of an analysis tool suited to the optimisation of cholesterol medication.

Hydrogels that can, in the future, be 3D-printed as backup tissues and culture media for living cells may seem like a surprising concept, but projects aimed at improving the shelf life of vaccines, identifying harmful NAD metabolites in the blood, and producing therapeutic proteins more effectively require similar progressive approaches. 

Sustainable and tasty protein

The extensive substitution of animal-derived proteins with proteins in line with the goals of the sustainability transformation requires that these replacements are easy to use and taste good.

One solution is provided by MyShroom, which is developing a mycoprotein based on mycelium. The flavour of the mycoprotein is pleasant and its composition inherently meat-like, making it easy to use it as a product or raw material directly substituting for meat.

OleoFlow is developing new and healthier fats for the needs of the food industry. Thanks to their novel technical solution, fatty foods can be turned into healthier products that remain structurally similar to the original ones. The innovation also makes it possible to replace palm oil with materials produced closer to home. 

Innovations originating at the University of Helsinki on display at Slush for the eighth time 

Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd (HIS) has years of experience in taking research conducted at the University of Helsinki to Slush, a leading event in the startup field. This year, the University and HIS will be at Slush for the eighth time. 

“It’s great to be at the forefront and see how research projects mature into independent spinouts through long-term effort and investment. We already have nearly 25 examples of such spinouts taking off from the University of Helsinki. Supporting commercialisation projects on the path to spinning them off into businesses and subsequent success is HIS’s primary goal. For instance, the recently launched spinout MegaSense is developing an air pollution observation system for worldwide use that collects accurate information on the state of the immediate surroundings.” says CEO Jari Strandman of Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd.

 “Slush offers an excellent opportunity to expand international networks to outside the Finnish market. Optimally, innovations stemming from top-level research conducted at the University of Helsinki benefit people around the world. The impact of science and research, even on our immediate future, is concretely perceptible.”

Official side event Unicorner  

On the evening of Slush’s first day, a full house is expected at the Think Corner venue of the University of Helsinki, as Unicorner, an official Slush side event, brings together researchers, decision-makers and investors to network and hear how research-based solutions can have a broad impact on various sectors of society. In the keynote speech and panel discussion at Unicorner, the focus is on seeking solutions to global challenges in food production.


More information:

Harriet Haras-Refael, Helsinki Innovation Services Ltd