Research to Business Projects at the University of Turku
The Research to Business funding of Business Finland promotes the development of an idea while also preparing its commercialisation in order to form a new business activity.
The objective of the Smart Wear Sensor (SWS) R2B project is to develop and commercialize SWS-technology, which enables real-time quality monitoring of problematic or relevant wear of surfaces in R&D-sector and in mass production. SWS-technology can be utilized e.g. in precision machining of different materials, and to automatic control of production phases or processes.
More information: Anssi Kähkönen
In our everyday life, we are using many electronic devices. These devices are made of semiconductor materials. Different semiconductor materials are used in devices depending on the application area. In RONASEC project, we apply our technology on devices made of compound semiconductors. We can improve devices made of III-V semiconductors (solar cells, detectors, LEDs, and lasers) by our technology. We offer increased energy efficiency for such devices with an environmentally friendly and scalable technology with lower production/investment cost. Our technology is simple and does not require specific equipment nor critical raw materials.
More information: Anssi Kähkönen
Brain metastasis are fatal complications of several different cancers. Currently used tools (including PET, CT, or MRI scans) do NOT allow early diagnosis of brain metastases, which are today diagnosed based on persisting symptoms like headache, memory loss, personality changes, or seizures. This late diagnosis, in most cases, leads to poor prognosis with average of 6 months life expectancy. Thus, there is a significant unmet medical need for prolonging survival of these patients.
We have designed and developed the NAVIGATOR, a targeting molecule that can be conjugated via a linker to a radioisotope to specifically label and visualize brain tumour cells via a routine PET imaging. The NAVIGATOR offers unique features that allow specific recognition of tumour cells and will be used for unprecedented early diagnostics, thus, disrupting the current status quo. Due to the uniqueness of the NAVIGATOR no other agent with similar properties exists in the market.
The NAVIGATOR has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are diagnosed and treated today. The NAVIGATOR enables early diagnostics of brain metastases even when tumours are small allowing earlier treatment and thus prolonging the lifespan of patients. Importantly, NAVIGATOR will improve patients’ ability to return to work and actively participate in life, thus, lowering the burden in the health care systems with significant positive economic and societal impact.
More information: Marjo Pihlavisto
Our innovation takes advantage of single cell technologies to revolutionize traditional industrial strain development. Industrial enzymes and microbial natural products are produced in a closed environment in a bioreactor. Therefore, product yields determine the commercial viability of the product and a microbial strain with high product yields provides a significant competitive advantage.Optimized industrial strains that produce high quantity of desired products are of great interest for pharmaceutical and enzyme companies. Industrial enzyme market alone is extensive, valued at $10 billion. There has been a drastic change in the lifestyle of human beings and the expected lifespan has increased since the industrial revolution. New types of diseases are discovered, and microbe derived products continue to provide solutions to such diseases. Global Microbial Product Market is expected to grow $250 billion by 2023. Many international companies in enzyme production market rely on bacterial strains in manufacturing and our solution would cut production cost and reduce production time in an eco-friendly manner. We will demonstrate the superiority of our strain development tool and generate a set of verified industrial strains, which can be launched commercially after completion of the project and sold to the manufacturing industry. At the end of the project, our technology will become the de facto leader in the field of industrial strain development.
Computers have become essential to all aspects of modern society and are omnipresent. With the increasing utilization of deep neural networks, applications are becoming more data centric and traditional computers are struggling to catch up. This is why a new computing paradigm is necessary. A physical construction of a deep neural network as hardware is known as neuromorphic computing. It is characterized by mimicking the parallel processing of biological systems. Just like brains in mammals, neuromorphic systems are based on combinations of a large number of simple processing units (artificial neurons), each of them connected by artificial synapses potentially reducing the power-consumption by a thousand times. This is completely different to traditional “von Neumann” architecture, where the processor and memory units are physically separated which give rise to the data transfer bottleneck.
To implement this next generation of computers, we also need new devices that behave more like biological neurons and synapses. Memristor devices are the lead candidate for this task and are envisioned to have very low power consumption as well as high scalability properties, which are drawbacks of current neuromorphic computing. Therefore, the implementation of memristor devices could pave the way for next generation hardware-oriented applications using artificial intelligence with significantly lower power-consumption and reduced carbon footprint.
Taking advantage of our knowledge and expertise in the fabrication and characterization of complex oxides, we will carry an ambitious project of implementing memristive devices composed of low bandwidth manganites as the building block of neuromorphic circuits. For this aim, we have gathered a group of specific expertise combined with the vast experience of our collaboration network to develop the next generation computers required to bridge the gap between isolated devices and their implementation in neural networks circuits.
The global general lighting market is 30 B$ (2020) and reaching 43B$ by 2027 with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 5%. However, current lighting solutions have negative environmental impacts because they contain rare earth and toxic heavy metal traces. Governments globally apply stricter regulation and pressure for reducing CO2 emission, resulting in a CAGR of 34% for lighting products that are ecological and have a smaller carbon footprint.
We have currently developed and already successfully patented in Finland a fully functional white organic light-emitting diode (WOLED) prototype in our laboratory using a single purely organic light-emitting material and a novel photonic design that we call "Bragg converter”. Our goal in the R2B is to introduce to the market our new white organic light-emitting diode (WOLED) device architecture. During the R2B project, we will focus on increasing the luminous efficacy (efficiency) and luminance (brightness) of our WOLEDs in order to reach the general illumination standards (lighting applications). We anticipate that further funding will come from future industrial partners.
The project investigates the commercialization of a new type of multifunctional pigment for security inks. According to an estimation from 2016 done by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) the value of ceased counterfeit products around the globe is around 500 billion euros, which is around 3.3% of the total global market of goods. Counterfeit products cause economical losses for the manufacturers of genuine products. They also may cause adverse health effects and pose a safety risk for their users. OECD is concerned that these fake products and their market increases criminality and diminishes the trust of the general public towards authorities, as well as hinders economic growth. University of Turku has developed a multifunctional security pigment that can be used in several authentication application and logistics. Security inks are used in the authenticity marking of several product types as well as in tags used in tracking items. By changing the pigments currently used in these inks with this new technology, it is possible to decrease costs significantly. This is because the new pigment gives four functionalities in one pigment. One of these is not available in any other pigment or ink: an on/off switchable property in a range that is invisible to the naked eye. These functionalities make a tunable fingerprint for the ink that is very difficult to forge. The new pigments are non-toxic and recyclable. Thus, the project strongly supports sustainability. Because this new pigment will replace the current ones in the security inks, the customer making the labelling will not need to make any new instrumental acquisitions and thus these technologies can be put to use without new investments. Similarly, the reading of the label needs no new expensive equipment and thus the commercialization potential of this innovation is huge, especially as the global market of security inks is currently 2.5 billion euros and rising 5 % annually.
Analysis of tissue structure - histology - is widely used method in medicine and biology. Histology is being used in safety studies of chemicals, drug development and scientific research. Histology, however, is largely based in decades-old methods. New developments for these methods can enhance quality of analyses and reduce costs. This could have significant impact in all parties utilizing histology, such as pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Global market of histology and toxicology is growing strongly, which creates new business opportunities. The aim of this project is to prepare commercialization of a new method suitable for analysis of tissue structure.
The goal of the EPAST-project is to validate a novel biomarker-based method for cancer patients to identify cancer aggressiveness and for personalized medicine usage.
In the Proof-of-Principle studies, biomarker function has already been validated in head and neck cancers. They are the sixth most common cancer in the world. Approximately 800 000 new patients are diagnosed with head and neck cancers globally each year, and they are causing the death of about 400 000 patients annually worldwide. In addition, in our Proof-of-Principle studies we have been able to demonstrate that the indication of the biomarker-based method could be extended to other than head and neck cancers as well and that the biomarker recognition can also be used in selection of treatment modalities in cancer patients. In summary, the EPAST-project has a very high potential to produce a novel biomarker-based method for the personalized cancer medicine and for international cancer markets.
In the future, the EPAST project aims are:
1) to expand and ensure the functionality of the biomarker as widely as possible in identifying the aggressiveness of different cancers
2) to ensure the functionality of the biomarker in personalized medicine and in the individual selection of anticancer drugs
3) to determine and ensure the widest possible use of the biomarker in hospitals and as a part of the cancer treatment guidance among cancer patients
4) to identify and create a platform and a business model to ensure the widest possible commercial use of the biomarker in the international cancer diagnostic and treatment guidance market.
The commercialization of a solution related to a heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is investigated in this project. The targeted solution is for home use of heart failure patients. The patients and their physicians can monitor the progression of their disease and detect when the disease gets worse in time, thereby avoiding the acute hospital readmissions.
Project investigates the impact of different lights on plants in greenhouse and vertical farm conditions. The aim of the project is to minimize the energy consumption of LED lighting. Project is based on fundamental photosynthesis research and aims to commercialize photosynthesis knowledge by combining it to artificial intelligence, LED technology and embedded systems.
More information: Mikko Tikkanen
Lisätietoja: Anne Marjamäki