Start-up competition for life science founders

Best business contacts for young companies

For the tenth time in a row, the annual European start-up competition BioRiver Boost! will award the three best young companies on 22 September 2023. The top-class jury of experts will present the prizes after short presentations and subsequent expert discussions.


In its anniversary year, the event will take place at Bayer CropScience’s LifeHub in Monheim am Rhein, as is now customary, with a connected live broadcast. The three winning teams will win customised coaching from experienced entrepreneurs, expert marketing support and access to the BioRiver network of top business contacts.

“The founders who apply to us inspire me anew every year. They deserve our support. I am very proud that BioRiver Boost! has established itself as its own platform for a broad field of technologies in the life sciences and biotechnology. For 10 years, we have been enabling young companies to engage in a goal-oriented exchange with accomplished experts from the industry,” says Dr Frauke Hangen, Managing Director of the industry association BioRiver e.V., which has organised the competition since 2014. “Numerous representatives of the life science industry and investors interested in the sector use this day to get to know the people behind the start-ups and their innovative ideas. The BioRiver network brings professional expertise for further company development.”

The great commitment by industry and the entrepreneurs themselves is also the special feature of BioRiver Boost! Managers with life science experience will contribute their know-how in start-up dialogues, pitch trainings and as jury members to the start-up support. In 2023, the jury will again include top representatives of various, globally operating life science groups based in the Rhineland, including Bayer, Miltenyi Biotec, Qiagen, Lonza, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and NRW.BANK.

The BioRiver Boost! start-up competition is open to very young companies that develop disruptive and innovative technologies or services for the biotechnology or life science sector. The finalists are selected according to fixed evaluation criteria such as customer benefit and the degree of innovation of the technology as well as the experience of the team and the business concept. In a two-stage process, the jury first selects the eight finalists from all the applications, who then present themselves in the form of an “elevator pitch” on the actual competition day and face the questions of the experts.

For the anniversary year, in addition to the pitch presentations, BioRiver is planning a World Café with industry experts from all over the world who will be available to answer questions from the presenting start-ups and the other young companies with advice.


Apply for the BioRiver Boost! Award

1 |

Fill out online application

  • The application period is 1.6.-15.8.2023.
  • If you have any questions, please contact the BioRiver office.

2 |

Review of applications by the BioRiver office for formal errors. Approx. 16.8. Forward all applications to the BioRiver Boost! Jury.


3 |

Individual assessment of the applications by the BioRiver Boost! jury members, with regard to fixed criteria such as technology, market, team and financing concept.


4 |

The evaluation of all jurors results in a ranking list of the applications. The 8 best start-ups will be selected as finalists for the BioRiver Boost! 2023 and invited to the final event.


5 |

The finalists will be invited to a one-day, free, professional, pitch training.


6 |

As one of 8 finalists – startups, you are invited to pitch to your audience of judges and professionals on 22/9.


7 |

Following all 8 short presentations, the jury will decide directly on the best 3 projects in a secret session.


8 |

The BioRiver Boost! event ends with the award ceremony for the best three start-ups. The best team will be awarded the BioRiver Boost! Award.


9 |

Through professional reporting on the BioRiver Boost! 2023 following the event, the winning teams will receive visibility, networking and interest from the market and investors.


10 |

Individual coaching by experienced managers is available to the top three teams.



As a winner you will receive:

  • The BioRiver Boost! Award.
  • Free membership of the BioRiver Association.
  • Individual coaching by experienced CEOs or managers from the life sciences industry.
  • individual marketing support.

In the application we ask:

  • Where is your market?
  • What is your idea and technology?
  • If there is a market – think big.

For a successful application you will need:

  • Your business field in the life sciences
  • Your business concept in brief
  • The customer benefit
  • Your technology
  • The market potential
  • The team and the advisors
  • Successes and status of your project
  • Financial situation and plan


BioRiver Boost!

Application period 01.06.2023 – 15.08.2023


9th BioRiver Boost! 2022

BioRiver Boost! 2022: For the 9th time, young companies and start-up projects from biotechnology and life science presented their technologies and answered the questions of the expert jury at the finale of the start-up competition Bioriver Boost! on Thursday, 29 September 2022. The eight outstanding finalists, selected by experts, pitched at Qiagen in Hilden.

The winners are…

Lumatix Biotech

Produces light-driven affinity matrices as a superior alternative to protein A chromatography for antibody purification.

Garching near Munich; Andreas Reichert, Ingmar Polte.


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Develops innovative systems that take bioreactor aeration to a new level.

Aachen; Patrick Bongartz, Konstantin Kurz


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Saves and improves the lives of people suffering from organ failure worldwide by increasing organ viability and the number of organs available for transplantation without using donor blood.

Altenkirchen; René Tolba, Benedict Doorschodt

From left to right: Benedict Doorschodt, René Tolba, Andreas Reichert
Ingmar Polte, Patrick Bongartz, Konstantin Kurz

Other startups featured as finalists:


Bocomer produces of terpenoids via microbial platform technology.

Founding Team:
Nadja Alina Henke, Florian Meyer, Jan Seeger, Vanessa Göttl, Ina Schmitt, Christopher Henke


Nium uses biological data and metabolic modelling for the development of healthy food products and tailored nutritional recommendations

Founding Team:
Alberto Noronha, Adam Selamnia



X-ZELL’s is redefining preventive healthcare by enabling routine pathology centres to detect atypical cells in non-invasive body liquids and process them digitally – paving the way for affordable, accessible and data-driven cancer diagnostics.

Founding Team:
Dr. Sebastian Bhakdi, Johannes Hille, Prapat Suriyaphol, Sebastian Grote

Athenata GmbH

Athenata helps to avoid non-reproducable research by leaving behind conventional statistics and implement flexible and -most importantly- verifiable statistical analyses.

Founding Team:
Tyler Vogt, Daniel Habermann, Jan-Christoph Schmitz


Modiblast concept is controlling leukemia by inducing personalized anti-cancer vaccines in vivo.

Founding Team:
Helga Schmetzer, Octavian Schatz, Nikolaus Schaller, Behrouz Mansouri

We would like to thank our economic experts in the BioRiver Boost! jury for their commitment!
JURY 2022: Dr Bettina Möckel (Qiagen GmbH), Dr Caroline Fichtner (High-Tech-Gründerfonds Management GmbH), Dr Marek Kozlowski (NRW.Bank), Uni.-Prof. em. Dr Dr h.c. Detlev Riesner (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf), Dr Marco Scheidle (Bayer AG), Larissa Schulz (Janssen Germany), Dr Volker Vogel (Lonza Köln GmbH) and Jie Kang (Qiagen GmbH).

We would also like to thank our great sponsors and supporters!


I would like to participate in the BioRiver Boost! 2023.

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