Biomatics, Dexterous Catheters and PitchMe receive an Innogrant

© 2024 EPFL

© 2024 EPFL

Following a competitive pitching process, the EPFL Startup Launchpad has granted three CHF100,000 Innogrants to EPFL-based startup projects: Biomatics to develop an automated bioreactor system aimed at accelerating and simplifying the production of biological drugs and cell therapies; Dexterous Catheters to create innovative catheters capable of becoming rigid or flexible on command, thus improving the efficiency and safety of cardiac ablation procedures; and PitchMe which optimizes vertical-axis wind turbines in real time thanks to advanced software, significantly increasing their efficiency in producing green energy.


The Biomatics team are both EPFL alumni who, after gaining extensive experience in the corporate world, are returning to EPFL to develop their technology. They hope to speed up and simplify the production of biologic drugs and cell therapies through their automated bioreactor system.

Biopharmaceuticals are drugs which are made using biological sources (as opposed to chemicals). They include a wide variety of products, from insulin and vaccines to gene therapies. Typically, these drugs are made by growing cells in a culture. This is a process which is done in several different stages – each step involves transferring the growing cells to larger vessels to maintain the right cell concentration to maximise cell growth and productivity. These transfers are done manually leading to higher labour costs, lack of consistency, and a risk of contamination.

The Biomatics team believe they can address this issue through their new single-use bioreactor bags. Instead of working through a batch process, the bioreactor is automated and operates through perfusion. This means fresh culture is continuously added to the bioreactor while waste is removed. This keeps cell concentration optimal at all times and boosts productivity by 20%.

They will use their grant to test and validate their technology at the world-class EPFL facilities.

Dexterous Catheters

Dexterous Catheters are working to support the best outcome for patients by equipping doctors with next-level cardiac technology.

Cardiac arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats either too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular pattern. The most frequent type of cardiac arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, affects 38 million people and causes around 300,000 deaths each year. The traditional treatment for these arrhythmias is cardiac ablation – using a catheter to scar the heart tissue to normalize the heartbeat. However, this method has limitations. When pressure (to scar the tissue) is applied, the existing type of catheters buckle and can’t exert enough force. This results in success rates which are 10-20% lower and procedures which can be twice as long.

Dexterous Catheters have developed a technology which transforms these intricate and high-risk procedures, significantly improving operational efficiency and patient care. Their catheters can become rigid or soft on command. When soft, the catheters can safely navigate the complex chambers of the heart to the target zone. When hard, they resist buckling, allowing doctors to apply concentrated force for high-quality ablations.

The team will use their grant to move to finalise the design of their product and take the next step towards commercialisation.


Yegor Piskarev


The team from PitchMe are rethinking the way vertical-axis wind turbines work – using real-time data and automation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of green energy generation.

Wind power is a vital part of Europe’s renewable energy strategy and currently provides nearly 20% of the continent’s electricity demands. It’s expected to be the number one source of power in Europe by 2027. There are two basic types of wind turbine – a horizontal axis turbine (the most common) and vertical axis turbines. The turbines rely on an external sensor to measure wind speed and direction. Despite vertical axis turbines being quieter, better for wildlife, and easy to fit in smaller spaces, they have historically struggled with lower efficiency and structural issues at high-speed winds.

The team at PitchMe is looking to overcome these hurdles and build on possibilities offered by this lesser used form of wind turbine. Their software controls the orientation (pitch angle) of the wind turbines in real time. Off-the-shelf sensors are attached directly to the turbine blades for more accurate wind readings. This data is then analysed to assess the optimal blade pitch with micro-controllers adjusting the blade. Initial tests have shown a three-fold increase in efficiency under typical and strong wind conditions.

PitchMe will use their grant to move towards incorporation in 2025 and start their pre-seed funding round.


Sébastien Le Fouest
Daniel Fernex


The three EPFL Innogrants are sponsored by UBS as part of their ongoing commitment to fostering innovation and driving positive societal change.