Muscabiotics and Prognostix win Venture Challenge Fall 2011

Winners split €25,000 prize money to further develop promising ventures

December 14, 2011
The Fall 2011 edition of the Venture Challenge took a surprising turn when two winners were announced yesterday during the Dutch Life Sciences & Health conference in Media Plaza, Utrecht. Life sciences ventures Muscabiotics and Prognostix will split the €25,000 prize money. Muscabiotics focuses on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in livestock. Prognostix develops innovative diagnostic tests for prostate cancer.

The jury of the Venture Challenge, consisting of investors and experienced biotech entrepreneurs and chaired by Carine van den Brink (Axon Lawyers), was impressed by the quality of the presentations and the propositions of Muscabiotics and Prognostix and particularly by both teams' ability to address the questions raised by the jury. Both teams clearly demonstrated their knowledge of and experience in their respective fields. As a result, the jury decided, for the first time, to share the prize between the two ventures. Muscabiotics and Prognostix will each receive €12,500 to further develop their business plan and entrepreneurial skills.

About Muscabiotics
Muscabiotics will develop antimicrobial nutraceuticals for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases in livestock. Genetic modification of the common house fly (Musca domestica) will provide an alternative to the use of antibiotics. The nutraceutical will comprise a single effective agent or a cocktail of agents, and will be useful as a growth enhancer replacing antibiotics in feed. Fly larvae are already mass-reared commercially at scale to provide fly meal as a cost-effective, sustainable and ecologically friendly alternative to fishmeal, which depletes fish stocks. The initial focus of Muscabiotics will be on nutraceuticals for poultry.

About Prognostix
Prognostix targets the major problem of ineffective care for prostate cancer patients. Prostate cancer is the leading cancer type in men. Each year, approximately 900,000
new cases are diagnosed worldwide and the disease is responsible for 150,000 - 200,000 deaths. The current lack of accurate tools for diagnosis and prognosis (prediction of clinical development of a disease) leads to serious over-diagnosis and over-treatment in the early stages of the disease. As a result, a large group of men have to deal with severe side effects that might have been avoided with better diagnostic and prognostic tools. Prognostix is developing three proprietary diagnostic and prognostic tests that offer the prospect of improved quality of life for patients as well as cost savings due to better disease management.


For more information:
Chrétien Herben | Netherlands Genomics Initiative | T +31 70 344 0959 |

About the Venture Challenge
The Venture Challenge offers advice and coaching on essential elements of setting up a life sciences business. In two 3-day workshops, participating teams are continuously challenged by the facilitators and each other to streamline their business plan and improve their 'pitch'. The team with the best business plan and pitch is awarded €25,000 to further develop their venture.

The Venture Challenge Spring 2012 welcomes submissions by interested parties. The deadline for proposals is 6 March 2012. For details on submission requirements and general information on the Venture Challenge visit

The Venture Challenge is part of the LifeSciences@work start-up support programme powered by NGI.