Ovizio, launched in 2009 as spin-off from the ULB, develops ultra specialized microscopes allowing creation of a hologram-like 3D image of biological cells. The device is ideal to follow up on the evolution of cells in laboratory research. For example, it visualizes how cancer cells work and which cells survive.
"We started from the idea of simplifying diagnosis with our microscopes," says Philip Mathuis, CEO of Ovizio. "In 2012, we build a device that gave the result of a pap smear within a few minutes.”
"However, we soon realized that producing medical devices is a difficult task. The certification brings an administrative burden," Mathuis continues. "We then decided to focus on microscopes that could be used in bioreactors. This is a clear niche, where we can grow before turning to medical diagnosis again. Bioreactors require the continuous monitoring of the growth of the cells. Our devices can do this automatically, which will reduce the costs with 60% to 70%.”
An important client of Ovizio is GSK in Rixensart. "This pharmaceutical company helped us to test and validate our microscopes and uses it now," says Mathuis. "Another deal with a pharma group would obviously help us, as they immediately might need hundreds of the devices."
Ovizio gathered eight million euros from investors to speed up the commercialization of its microscopes. Qbic, Nausicaa Ventures and Theodore III signed in, as well as Pierre Drion, the former chief executive of Petercam. Also an American investment fund will sign in, New Science Ventures, which will help to launch sales in the US. "Different partners will assist us in the distribution. Having an investor in the US, is a positive signal to the US market,” says Mathuis.