Spindiag GmbH, together with the University of Freiburg and the Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft für angewandte Forschung e.V., was awarded the Technology Transfer Prize 2020 from the German Physical Society (DPG) on April 09, 2022 for the development of the PCR-based rapid test system Rhonda.
The jury based its decision on the successful transfer of results from the research field of centrifugal microfluidics into the development of a marketable test device for infection diagnostics with disposable test carriers for use at the point of care. The device is already being used as a PCR test device to combat the corona pandemic. The technology transfer awards had been postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
Spindiag GmbH was founded in 2016 from Hahn-Schickard and the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg. The company developed the PCR-based rapid test system Rhonda. The in vitro diagnostics platform can detect viral and bacterial pathogens in under an hour directly at the point of sampling. The technology built into the test system is based on so-called centrifugal microfluidics, in which liquids and gases are moved in hair-thin microchannels by rotation. It enables the miniaturization and automation of complex laboratory procedures in point-of-care test systems. With the onset of the Corona pandemic in the spring of 2020, the company founders decided to adapt the test system to SARS-CoV-2. In November 2020, Spindiag declared CE-IVD compliance for Rhonda and has since enabled the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare facilities. Further tests for respiratory pathogens, such as influenza A/B, as well as for multi-resistant bacteria are in development.
“I am extremely pleased to receive this prestigious award. We have always been convinced that good basic research and applied research are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, they stimulate each other enormously. I also see the award as confirmation of the importance of a close relationship between the University and Hahn-Schickard. We have been cultivating this cooperation for many years and can now look back on a whole series of successful spin-offs with more than 300 high-tech jobs at the Freiburg site,” says Prof. Dr. Roland Zengerle, Head of the Laboratory for MEMs Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Freiburg and Hahn-Schickard Institute Director.
Dr. Daniel Mark, CEO and co-founder of Spindiag says, “We are very proud of the DPG award, which means a lot to me as a physicist. The sponsorship and support of Hahn-Schickard and the University of Freiburg made the spin-off into our own company possible. With the commitment and dedication of the entire Spindiag team, we have developed our original product vision into a marketable product that is currently making an important contribution to infection control at the point of care.”
Dr. Ernst Drost, who accompanied the development process as the former head of the patent office of the Technology Transfer Office (ZFT) at the University of Freiburg, appreciates the appreciation of all those involved. “We are pleased that the DPG Award recognizes the performance of all partners who contribute to the success of a start-up. This includes not only the research and development department, but also the Technology Transfer Office, which, in close contact with scientists, competently accompanies and supports inventions from evaluation, through patenting, to market launch. This is how innovation succeeds.”
Through the annual Technology Transfer Award, the DPG honors a successful technology transfer from a research institute to a company. It is awarded jointly to the parties involved in the technology transfer, i.e. the institute from which the technology originates, the body responsible for the technology transfer, and the company implementing the technology.