ImmuneWatch, a Belgian university spinoff specialising in monitoring and predicting immune responses, has been awarded an innovation grant of € 94.000 from the city of Antwerp. The grant will be used to commercialise their DETECT platform and develop their DESIGN platform, contributing to faster vaccine development by making use of artificial intelligence. The support will help the startup to become a more established player within the prominent vaccine-ecosystem in Antwerp.
“There is a realistic chance that in the future, we will again be confronted with a novel pandemic or epidemic.” says Sander Wuyts, CEO of ImmuneWatch. “I think that everyone agrees that we would want to avoid hard lockdowns and great pressure on our healthcare system. To avoid all of this, we need to be better prepared.” Vaccines have proved to be an important asset in the battle against such pandemics. However, to be effective, we need to be able to develop and deploy novel vaccines faster than we can today.
“With a development time of around one year, the COVID19 vaccines were already developed significantly faster than the average vaccine, which takes about 5 years,” said Sander. “However, in the context of an improved pandemic preparedness, a new goal has been announced by the scientific community: reduce vaccine development time to less than 100 days. At ImmuneWatch, we can contribute to this goal by introducing artificial intelligence in the early phases of the vaccine development process.”
The ImmuneWatch DESIGN platform uses AI-driven algorithms to guide vaccine developers to the most promising candidates, reducing the number of experiments needed to identify good candidates and ultimately reducing vaccine development time and cost. As a spinoff of the University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital, ImmuneWatch is uniquely positioned to leverage years of academic excellence in the field of immunoinformatics.
Furthermore, the company is part of a rich vaccine-oriented ecosystem in Antwerp, which includes innovative players such as Vaccinopolis, a unique vaccine research centre established by Prof. Pierre Van Damme, the Institute of Tropical Medicine, and IDEVAX, another Antwerp-based vaccine startup. “We are extremely thankful to the city of Antwerp for recognising the potential of our technology,” said Sander. “I am sure that this will make Antwerp an even more important international player in the battle against infectious diseases.”.
ImmuneWatch is an AI-research company that specialises in monitoring and predicting immune responses. At ImmuneWatch we strongly believe that T cells will shape the future of medicine. For this reason we want to accelerate medical applications that leverage their power. As a spin-off of the University of Antwerp and Antwerp University Hospital, we can build on years of academic excellence in the field of immunoinformatics.
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Sander Wuyts, CEO