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MedTech Business at USI, putting ideas into practice

15/02/2018

Dicronis is a start-up company that develops innovative pharmaceutical products for the early diagnosis of diseases with high and urgent medical needs. The first product, Lymphit, controls the function of the lymphatic system in a simple, safe and economical way, even from home. Thus contributing to drastically reduce, in combination with a specific treatment, the development of lymphoedema, a serious side effect of certain cancer therapies, to which up to one million patients are at risk annually, in Europe alone.

Dicronis was the winning project of the MedTech Business 2017 Award, conferred during the MedTech Business Comprehensive Advanced Program on MedTech Entrepreneurship at USI (which took place from November 27 to December 1, 2017). The start-up was also the winner of StartCup Ticino 2017, the competition that awards the most innovative and promising business ideas realized in Ticino – an initiative of the USI-SUPSI Start-Up Promotion Center (CP Start-Up).

Patrizia Marschalkova, CEO of Dicronis, shares her views on these two experiences.

 

How was Dicronis created and what is it all about?

At the outset, Dicronis was a project developed during my Master’s degree studies at ETH Zurich, as part of the methods I was working on for monitoring lymphatic activity. This eventually led to the idea of converting research into a product for the early diagnosis of lymphedema, a complication of cancer therapies. In this way, patients can begin with therapies before the condition becomes irreversible.

 

You recently attended the MedTech Business program at USI, after which you also competed (and won) the StartCup Ticino 2017 competition. Tell us a little about these two experiences.

The MedTech Business program that I attended at USI enabled me to learn many new things and to further my understanding of various aspects related to product development, including regulatory focus, clinical development and quality. The StartCup Ticino competition, thanks also to the so-called “accelerator” phase, gave me the opportunity to focus on the business aspects of a start-up company like Dicronis, for instance by creating a good business plan for investors. The combination of these two programs and the learnings acquired helped my colleagues and me at Dicronis to finalise a solid financial and development plan for our company.

 

From your standpoint in Zurich, do you find that Ticino is well positioned in the start-up landscape, beyond the biomedical sector? What are the prospects for startuppers in Ticino?

I think the future looks bright for Ticino. The StartCup Ticino competition, for instance, offers interesting prizes: besides the financial rewards to the finalists, it grants the winner with a full scholarship for the USI Executive MBA program, it covers the incorporation processes through startups.ch, it provides consulting from yourCFO and, as mentioned, it offers the accelerator program. In addition to the StartCup Ticino, more and more investors have a real interest in promoting start-up companies in Ticino. In this respect, I would suggest startups to follow as many courses as possible and participate in business events, even if they are outside the Canton, to compare themselves with other startuppers and learn from each other.