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Hercules Pharmaceuticals ontvangt investering van UNIIQ voor ontwikkeling immuuntherapie tegen kanker

Inhibition of tumor growth

Many cancer patients experience a suppressed immune system. This causes the body to incorrectly detect tumor cells as healthy tissue, resulting in the inability of the body’s natural defence system to attack and destroy these cells. Hercules Pharmaceuticals currently develops a therapeutic that activates the immune system, thereby limiting the growth and metastasis of the cancer cells. This therapy revolves around the inhibition of the Aryl Hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in different forms of cancer in which AhR has a high expression level.

Over the last few years, a number of different therapies, focusing specifically on improving the patient’s immune system, have been introduced into the market. These so-called ‘checkpoint inhibitors’ have had a strong positive effect on patients suffering from a number of difficult-to-treat cancers, such as skin and lung cancer. Using the UNIIQ investment, Hercules Pharmaceuticals will further develop its lead compound and use this compound in a number of mouse models, thereby also exploring the possibilities to use the compound in combination with current therapies. Expectations are that Hercules’ drug can be used as both a standalone therapy and a combination therapy.

This investment from UNIIQ enables us to further prove efficacy and safety of our drug

Further Development

Hercules Pharmaceuticals was founded by Boston University and DDF Ventures and uses the IP and knowhow from inventor and CSO David Sherr. The company is headed by CEO Bart Wuurman, former CEO of, amongst others,  Lanthio Pharma and AM-Pharma. Wuurman: “This investment from UNIIQ enables us to further prove efficacy and safety of our drug. Initially this will be done by using different mouse models, but we have set a clear goal to use this therapeutic in a clinical setting as soon as possible”.

Liduina Hammer: “Immunotherapy has seen a very strong growth and a number of breakthrough developments over the last couple of years, strongly improving the outlook for a large number of patients. Hercules Pharmaceuticals has shown promising results so far in this field and with this this investment UNIIQ will contribute to an important step towards obtaining proof-of-concept with the technology and further growth and development of the company.”

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International Robotics Week

Integrating RoboBusiness Europe, TUS Expo and ROS Industrial in one event turned out to be a huge success. For three days, experts in the field of robotics and unmanned systems, and their robots and drones, from all over the world gathered in the Netherlands. The week saw an expo and conference in the World Forum The Hague, tours to labs of the Delft University of Technology and demonstration days in the port of Rotterdam (unmanned harbour) and former airport Valkenburg (drone show). This made clear that the Netherlands has everything needed for robotics companies that want to settle here.

Keynotes

The International Robotics week started on Wednesday, with inspiring keynotes from Kim Liebregts (Tesla Benelux), Noel Sharkey (Responsible Robotics) and Melonee Wise (Fetch Robotics). Wise’s contribution was of particular interest. She pointed out that there are around 1000 robotics start-ups in the world, most of these founded after 2010. Why is that? The answer is open-source robotics (ROS). “Why did this sudden explosion happen? Because of open innovation.” Her company also benefited from ROS.

There are around 1000 robotics startups in the world, most of which were founded after 2010. Why is that?

Sharkey told visitors to think about the ethical aspects of robotics. “We don’t want to sleepwalk into robotics just as we did with the internet.”

Business wise

The IRW is the perfect place for start-ups to present themselves. Prince Constantijn, the startup envoy of StartupDelta, had some advice for them. The preconditions for being successful in the Netherlands are present, but it is not enough to just have a good product. To give this product a place in the market, you have to be ‘business wise’: you need to surround yourself with people who have a sense of enterprise.

Constantijn also visited the RoboValley pavilion, where various startups were gathered together: Delft Robotics, CropZoomer, Clear Flight Solutions, SeaDrone, Robot Care Systems, Robot Security Systems, Robot Engineered Systems, Vectioneer. Also present were the student DreamTeam: Project MARCH, ImProvia and the Care-o-bot from Fraunhofer / Unity Robotics. During the startup event, AeroVinci announced they received a subsidy of € 300.000,-. This allows them to further develop the dronedock technology.

Portal: connect.robovalley.com

During the IRW, we also launched the beta version of connect.robovalley.com: ‘your compass in the world of robotics’. Connect.robovalley.com offers a single place for companies to find the latest news, insights and reports on robotics.

RoboValley Foundation Dinner

Networking is an important part of a large congress. Because of this, the organisation was happy that the city of Delft and InnovationQuarter enabled us to host the first RoboCafé NL in the old town hall of the city of Delft on the first evening of the event. Futurist Aseem Prakash delivered an inspiring presentation, the historical ambience took care of the rest.

A day later, they organised the RoboValley Foundation Dinner in our own offices. The Dutch robotics sector was present, as were several international guests. They were, amongst others, addressed by Delft University of Technology’s rector magnificus Karel Luyben, Aimee van Wynsberghe and Guszti Eiben.

‘Golden Age of Nerds’

“We are living in a golden age of nerds”, concluded comedian Pep Rosenfeld during the closing keynotes a day later. He is right. During the IRW, it became clear how much is happening in the field of robotics and how fast developments are moving. “Robotics and AI are all about possibilities”, said Prakash during his keynote. “Possibilities that humans never have experienced before.”

“Robotics and AI are all about possibilities”

There was room for ethical issues during the closing keynotes. Irakli Beridze of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute told us what the UN is doing in the fields of robotics and AI. Beridze and his organisation have settled in The Hague because of the presence of the Responsible Robotics Foundation. “By joining forces, we want to make this a city of ideas and global policies related to AI and robotics.”

“Over the past few years, we have built a global platform for organisations and people involved in robotics”

RoboValley Platform

RoboValley’s Managing Director, Arthur de Crook, thanked everyone at the end of the IRW. He explained the importance of the event for RoboValley. “Over the past few years, we have built a global platform for organisations, researchers and governments involved in robotics. But we also really wanted to create a moment to show this platform to the world. This moment was the International Robotics Week.” Robotics can contribute to solving the grand societal challenges. This is why it is important to create the next generation robotics. “So we can embrace the future for the good.”

Source / RoboValley

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The Hague Security Delta Campus

Leading security cluster

The core is the HSD Campus, the national innovation centre for security in The Hague. 50 of the 250 partners of The Hague Security Delta (HSD) are located at the Campus. These parties vary from governments to knowledge institutions and from startups & SMEs to corporate organisations. All of these partners share a common goal: more business activity, more jobs and a secure world.

At the HSD Campus, the King of the Netherlands spoke with representatives of involved organisations and the HSD Board, followed by a guided tour. Richard Franken, executive director of HSD: “This visit offered us the opportunity to familiarise his Majesty with the diversity on initiatives within HSD. Besides that, we discussed some challenges in the security field, such as the lack of IT and cyber security talent, the tensions between privacy and security, and the cyber security threats with regards to the Internet of Things.”

Royal company visit

HSD partners talked about four topics with King Willem-Alexander:

Bezoek Koning Willem Alexander aan The Hague Security Delta

The education of cyber scurity talent. The University of Leiden, TU Delft and The Hague University of Applied Sciences offer an executive master education in Cyber Security at the Cyber Security Academy. The King spoke with professors and professional students about challenges, such as guaranteeing the sufficient supply of professional teachers, anticipating on the quick developments within the cyber security domain and the protection of the balance between security and privacy.

Bezoek Koning Willem Alexander aan The Hague Security Delta

SAM, the security robot, which can patrol autonomously. The robot is designed by Robot Security Systems/Lobeco in collaboration with Trigion, TU Delft and end users. With the help of HSD investments and its partners such as InnovationQuarter and Rabobank, it is now successfully used at the Port of Rotterdam. In addition to the physical threats, the port of Rotterdam also needs to be resilient against digital threats.

Bezoek Koning Willem Alexander aan The Hague Security Delta

The National Cyber Testbed, an investigation by TNO and HSD – in consultation with the Metropolitan region Rotterdam/The Hague – with a focus on how society can be more resilient against cyber attacks. As long as the possibilities of digitalising, ‘The internet of Things’ and ‘Smart Cities’ grow, vulnerabilities for ‘hacks’ will grow as well. The municipality of The Hague and KPN have been the first organisations to support the development of this Testbed.

Sweetie 2.0: preventing child abuse. Tracks Inspector, the University of Leiden and Tilburg University work for Terre des Hommes on the development of an advanced version of a ‘chat robot’. Using artificial intelligence it prevents the abuse of children through webcam sex.