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ExCulture wins Venture Challenge Spring 2023!

ExCulture, a pioneering startup, has emerged victorious in the Venture Challenge Spring 2023. The prestigious announcement was made at the Dutch Biotech Event, recognizing ExCulture’s exceptional achievement in developing a proprietary, natural, mixed-culture fermentation bioprocess for producing heparin, the world’s most commonly used blood thinner. The Venture Challenge Spring, which commenced in April, culminated in ExCulture being awarded the prize money of €25,000 to invest in their growth.

Jury faces tough decision with high-quality pitches

The jury, consisting of esteemed professionals including Carine van den Brink, Sterre Witteveen, Inez de Greef-van der Sandt, Rob de Ree, and Brigitte Drees, faced a challenging decision due to the high caliber of all participating teams’ pitches. The exceptional quality made it nearly impossible to select just one winner. 

ExCulture’s technology offers advantages over current methods

ExCulture’s innovative solution addresses a pressing need as heparin has been on the FDA drug shortage list since 2017. Traditionally, heparin is derived as a by-product of pig slaughter, which can no longer meet the global demand. The jury recognized ExCulture’s value proposition, which holds potential for future expansion.

In contrast to conventional heparin production methods, ExCulture’s cutting-edge technology offers several advantages. It has the potential to ensure supply security, reduce the risk of contamination, and eliminate dependency on animal materials. Furthermore, its scalability sets it apart from emerging synthetic methods.

The initial proof-of-concept studies conducted by ExCulture have demonstrated comparability between their heparin compound and commercial heparin. Moving forward, the team plans to carry out biosimilarity and safety studies in compliance with the Pharmacopoeia heparin monograph.

Founders Aisling Foley and Ilaria Poledri expressed their gratitude for the Venture Challenge program, highlighting the sharpening of their focus and the valuable perspectives gained from experienced professionals and fellow participants. Their mission now is to execute their venture plan and ensure the success of ExCulture.

Venture Challenge equips startups with clear plans and investor-ready pitches

The Venture Challenge showcased several highly motivated participating teams, including Invision-Ex, Pneoo Tx, Saturn, Sencilia, and Spatium Medical. As mentioned earlier, the jury faced a considerable challenge in selecting a single winner from such outstanding teams, making these participants worth keeping an eye on.

Participating in the Venture Challenge equips startups with a clear venture plan and investor-ready pitches. Powered by Health~Holland and the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, the LifeSciences@Work Accelerator provides specialized coaching through boot camps and personalized sessions. The program helps startup teams identify key risks, analyze customer value propositions, develop validation strategies, build venture plans, and establish connections with life sciences experts, investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Learn more about LifeSciences@Work, the national accelerator for high-potential life sciences startup initiatives.

Pivot Park Captains' Dinner

10 years ago, Pivot Park opened its doors to the world. Thanks to your commitment, support and confidence, we have been able to grow it into the successful and innovative biopharmaceutical campus it is today.

Now it’s time to celebrate!

We are therefore delighted to invite you – along with all your fellow CEOs at Pivot Park – to a special night out featuring inspiring art, a wonderful dinner and lots of opportunities to network and exchange ideas.

Erwin Wurm | Am I a House?

For the first time, the artist shows a cross-section of his work, from Narrow Furniture to One Minute Sculptures, within the walls of a historic building. Villa Constance, a former home that today houses Museum Jan Cunen, is not only a location but also part of the conversation. Because what exactly is a house?


The development of medicines in Oss began one hundred years ago. It was then that the foundations were laid for what would become a flourishing pharmaceutical sector in the Netherlands, leading to groundbreaking discoveries such as insulin and the anti-conception pill.

Today, the entire chain is still represented in Oss, from early-stage research to the commercial scale production of medicines. Working in Oss, we focus on the health of people all over the world. Employees at dozens of companies large and small put their heart and soul into new medicines, products and services that will improve lives worldwide. Together, our strength lies in our combination of broad knowledge about the development of medicines and a thorough understanding of the requirements of high-quality production.

This shared past and common values stimulate strong bonds among everyone who works in pharmaceuticals in Oss. We build on qualities, expertise and networks that go back decades. And with a wide variety of pharmaceutical companies, suppliers and scientific institutions all located nearby, we offer an attractive business climate and an excellent basis for international collaboration.

We are proud to work together to create a better and healthier future for all, a collaboration that in turn fuels growing employment: today, most pharmaceutical jobs in the Netherlands are in Oss. Here we connect talent and companies and stimulate entrepreneurship, while our expert employees are our most important asset. Their drive ensures that Oss has an influence on health all over the world.

Pharma in Oss offers endless opportunities to startups and talent in a city and region that is a joy to live and work in. We are committed to collaboration and sustainable and successful entrepreneurship. Oss’s pharmaceutical companies are intrinsically competitive while also being committed to quality and safety. This, plus their focus on new health solutions and contemporary technology, makes us a leader in our pursuit of a better life for people worldwide.