Home News & Events INCATE wins Swiss National Science Foundation Lighthouse Award
27 Jun 2024

INCATE wins Swiss National Science Foundation Lighthouse Award

INCATE, the Incubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe has received the Swiss National Science Foundation Lighthouse Award for technology transfer. Founded in 2021 by NCCR AntiResist together with the University of Basel and two German partner institutions (DZIF, LEIBNIZ:HKI), INCATE aims to boost the antibiotic pipeline by accelerating the translation of academic innovation into industrial R&D projects to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

INCATE is a unique not-for-profit organization that brings together translational and basic research, industry, experienced entrepreneurs and investors from across Europe. Through a combination of funding, community, and advice, and together with partners, INCATE focuses on supporting innovators to take their projects and ideas out of academia and research and develop them into investable ventures.

Prof. Christoph Dehio, Director of NCCR AntiResist, commenting on the award, said “It is a great recognition for INCATE to win the SNSF Lighthouse Award. I thank the SNSF and welcome the acknowledgment of the groundbreaking work, passion, and novel approach taken by INCATE in its determination to support new pharmaceutical enterprises in the field and bridge the gap between innovation and investment in advancing the development of innovative antibacterials. We at NCCR AntiResist are proud to have founded INCATE together with our partner institutions, and applaud the great success the team has achieved”.

Since 2021, INCATE has funded multiple new ventures, to support the development of both direct-acting antibiotics and alternative approaches, from diagnostics through to therapeutic treatments. Some success stories from INCATE’s portfolio include Invitris, smartbax, CC Bio, Disperazol, and Xiretsa. In the three years since its inception, INCATE has gained a strong international reputation, forging close collaborations with pharmaceutical companies such as Roche, Shionogi, MSD and Boehringer. With 1.5 million euros raised for the period 2021-2024, INCATE has supported 33 projects out of the 118 proposals received.

INCATE continues to maintain a close connection with NCCR AntiResist. The director Prof. Christoph Dehio, representing the University of Basel as hosting institution for INCATE, oversees INCATE operations. And Dr. Helmut Kessmann, the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Officer at NCCR AntiResist, is member of the INCATE management team, and has been pivotal in INCATE’s success.


About the Lighthouse Awards – NCCRs reach beyond the frontiers of science

The excellence of the NCCRs radiates beyond their specific research activities. The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) has developed its Lighthouse Awards, a prize exclusively for the fifth generation of NCCRs, to reward the quality of their non-science initiatives such as promoting equal opportunity, the transfer of knowledge and technologies, open science initiatives, communication of science and education. In this first time pilot of the Lighthouse Awards no prize was given for equal opportunity, while certain categories had two Award winners. In the end, five NCCRs share the Light-house Awards in four categories. The NCCR AntiResist won a Lighthouse Award for INCATE, an incubator tackling antimicrobial resistance. The NCCR Automation was twice rewarded, once for its Energy Moonshot project to harmonize automation systems with ground reality and a second time for Its Data Kiosk facilitating access to Swiss data on energy and mobility. The NCCR Microbiomes was recognized for its video game communicating the science of microbiomes research and finally the NCCR SPIN was rewarded for the tool it developed to enhance learning about quantum physics.