InnovationPublikationsdatum 26.01.2021

NCCR start-up Microcaps raises CHF 5 million

The NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials start-up Microcaps, a developer of formulation, processes and equipment to generate precision microcapsules, has announced that it has closed a CHF 5 million seed financing round.

Microcaps’ patented technology is based on research carried out at the Complex Materials laboratory of NCCR Principal Investigator Professor André Studart at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). The company has already co-developed many proprietary formulations with industrial clients, and will use the proceeds of the financing to launch its first product, a customized microcapsule production unit and associated consumables for sample batch sizes, and increase the size of its team, which will be based at new corporate facilities in Zurich.

“Microcaps is one of those unique companies that has developed an innovative technology that will have significant impact across multiple industries. We are very impressed with the progress made, and the size and relevance of the many market opportunities for Microcaps’ technology applications,” said Johannes Suter, CEO at Helvetica Capital, which co-led the financing round with the Zürcher Kantonalbank (Zurich cantonal bank).

Microcaps has developed a proprietary method to manufacture microcapsules in identical sizes that are used in pharmaceuticals, nutrition, cosmetics and other branches of industry. This means they all have exactly the same effect, with dosage and delivery rate of the active ingredient completely controlled. For drugs, this will allow precision dosing that could result in fewer side effects. In addition, the microcapsules with a controlled size can be produced 1,000 times faster than with currently available devices.

“We are very thankful to all of our investors who have helped Microcaps to get to this stage. We have already registered our first revenues from formulation development and are about to launch our first production unit to customers. This significant progress could not have been made possible without our dedicated and talented team,” said NCCR alum Dr. Alessandro Ofner, cofounder and co-CEO of Microcaps.

“The financing will help Microcaps grow and scale-up our operations, taking us to that next level in our corporate development plan. We have seen increased interest in our formulation capabilities and production offerings and will use this financing to continue to build on this momentum,” added Michael Hagander, co-founder and co-CEO.

In 2018, Ofner and Hagander received the pioneer fellowship award from the ETH Zurich Foundation, which allowed them to launch Microcaps. The start-up also received seed funding from the Venture Kick program in 2018, was selected for the Venture Leaders Technology program in 2019, and were ranked in the TOP 100 Swiss Startup Award in 2020. Last year, Microcaps was also the winner of the ZKB Pionierpreis Technopark, one of the most prestigious start-up prizes in Switzerland, sponsored by the Zürcher Kantonalbank.