11. BioRiver Boost! 2024​

27. 9. 2024, Johnson & Johnson in Neuss,
Application period 30 June – 26 August

The 11th BioRiver Boost! Start-up competition for life sciences founders for best business contacts 2024 starts on 30 June 2024 with the start of the online application phase. Start-up projects and very early-stage start-ups from and for the biotechnology and life sciences sector are invited to apply. A particular focus is on innovations in oncology, immunology and neuroscience. The application phase lasts until 26 August. After the best 8 applications have been selected by the jury of renowned industry experts and investors, the young companies will then present themselves with short pitches to this jury and the expert audience on Friday, 27 September 2024 in a full-day event, which will also include reverse pitches and networking times. Following this, the best three will be recognised as BioRiver Boost! Winners were chosen and awarded with professional marketing and high-quality coaching. Organisations that would like to support the BioRiver Boost! competition as sponsors should contact the BioRiver office.

About the Start-up Competition BioRiver Boost!

Young companies developing disruptive technologies or innovative services for the biotechnology or life science industry can apply to the BioRiver Boost! start-up competition. Finalists are selected based on specific criteria, such as customer benefit and the degree of innovation of the technology, as well as the experience of the team and the quality of the business plan. In a two-stage process, the jury first selects eight finalists from all submissions, which then give an “elevator pitch” on the day of the competition and answer questions from experts. In a secret vote, the jury then decides on the best three projects. After the awards ceremony, the winners benefit from the extensive BioRiver network and its expertise to further their company’s development.
The BioRiver Boost! is supported by numerous sponsors and partners. Do you have any questions about your application? We are at your service. Tel: +49 211 3160610, bioriver@bioriver.de

Click here for the programme.

The competition is open to start-up projects and start-ups from and for life sciences and biotechnology. This year, we are focussing on innovations in immunology, oncology and neuroscience.
27 September 2024 as a guest at Johnson&Johnson in Neuss. The event is held in English.

Here you can apply for the BioRiver Boost! 2024 here.

Here you can apply for the BioRiver Boost! 2024 here.

Application deadline 30.06. – 26.08.2024
Questions ? We are at your disposal: Phone +49 211 316 0610, bioriver@bioriver.de

1 Step 1
At BioRiver Boost! we especially look for
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If the problem persists, please contact the BioRiver office:
bioriver@bioriver.de / Phone +49 211 3160610.


1 |

Fill out online application

  • The application period is 30 June – 26 August 2024.
  • 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.

This year, the jury will again be made up of top representatives from globally active life science groups based in the Rhineland and North Rhine-Westphalia.

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! 2024 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 on 27 September 2024 in front of your audience of jury and experts in the rooms of the host of the Janssen-Cilag GmbH Directly after your presentation, there will be a question and answer session with the jury and the audience.

7 |

Following both pitch sessions, the jury will decide on the best 3 founding projects/start-ups in a confidential session.

8 |

The official part of the BioRiver Boost! ends with the award ceremony for the best three start-ups. The best team will be awarded the BioRiver Boost! Award. The BioRiver Boost! prizes will be presented by high-ranking representatives of the industry.

Further programme items on 27.9. are: Open Q&A session with the jury, Best Practice Success Startup, Reverse Pitches by industry representatives, Life Hub tours, as well as opportunities for all participants and guests to interact during the breaks and after the conference programme.

9 |

Through professional reporting on the BioRiver Boost! 2024 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.

We look back on a successful anniversary in 2023.

Our heartfelt thanks go especially to the host Bayer Crop Science LifeHub, our jury, all applicants and the sponsors who made the event possible.

The winners of the 10th BioRiver Boost! 2023 are fixed. First place went to Akribion Genomics from Zwingenberg. The Company develops novel CRISPR nucleases into a new class of genetics-based cancer therapies and advanced genome editing tools. Cologne-based companies Plantman and Ningaloo Biosystems made places 2 and 3.

With its award, BioRiver – Life Sciences im Rheinland e.V., the regional association representing the biotech and life science industry in the Rhineland area, aims to strengthen very young start-ups and founding projects. The award enables and supports access to leading life science experts and investors as well as visibility and networking for promising start-ups.

The day-long closing event of the two-part competition took place on September 22, 2023, at the LifeHub of Bayer CropScience in Monheim, Germany, and was also aired live via Zoom. A total of eight shortlist candidates presented themselves in short presentations to the top-class jury. Following an intensive discussion, the expert committee, which included top-level executives from global life science companies, Bayer, Qiagen, Miltenyi Biotec, Lonza, Janssen-Cilag/Johnson & Johnson, as well as from NRW.BANK and High-Tech Gründerfonds, announced the winners. Honorary juror was Prof. Dr. Detlev Riesner, successful founding father and business angel in the biotechnological industry and emeritus of Heinrich Heine University.

The Jury

Dr. Bettina Möckel

QIAGEN GmbH, Vice President
Corporate Business Development
Chairwoman of BioRiver e.V.

Curriculum Vitae

Current position
QIAGEN GmbH, Vice President Corporate Business Development

Dr. Ralf Angermund

Janssen Germany
Therapeutic Area Director Hematology, Early Innovation Partner

Curriculum Vitae

Intermediate positions: Medical Affairs in various positions in Germany
and EMEA 1999 – 2021.
Education: Internal medicine subspecialty: Hematology and internal
oncology. 1999 – 1999 University of
Düsseldorf. Promotion, Medicine
1984 – 1991

Sebastian Winsel

Johnson & Johnson,
Senior Medical Scientific Liaison

Curriculum Vitae
2004 Degree in Biochemistry, FU-Berlin
2009 PhD in the field of oncology, Bayer AG and FU-Berlin
2009-2013 Post-doc in the mitosis and drug development group at VTT in Turku, Finland.
2014 Master of Business Administration (EuroMBA, Maastricht University)
2014-2015 Scientist at Centogene AG in the field of human genetics
From 2016 various positions at Janssen and Johnson & Johnson, currently: Senior Medical Scientific Liaison

Dr. Karl-Heinz Schneider

Head of Clinical DS
Manufacturing WUP

Curriculum Vitae

Current position
BAYER AG, Head of Clinical DS Manufacturing WUP

Confirmed to be part of the jury


Dr. Volker Vogel

Lonza Cologne GmbH
Director Strategic Business Development
Curriculum Vitae

Current position
Associate Director Business Development bei der Lonza Cologne GmbH.

Joined Lonza Group in 2008 in various roles in marketing, innovation management and business development; previously worked at amaxa GmbH and QIAGEN GmbH in product management.

Graduate biologist with focus on cell and molecular biology

Dr. Boris Stoffel

Miltenyi Biotec B.V. & Co. KG.
the management board

Curriculum Vitae

Current position
Miltenyi Biotec B.V. & Co., Member of the Management Board


Dr. Anna Lisa Picciolo-Lehrke

UCB Pharma GmbH
Head of Business Development Neurology

Curriculum Vitae

Anna Lisa Picciolo-Lehrke, PhD, is Head of Business Development Neurology at UCB. She was the Head of Business Development for the recent acquisitions of Zogenix, Ra Pharma and Engage as well as the recent partnerships with Roche and Novartis. Anna Lisa has a proven track record in partnering and licensing spanning 20 years of professional experience. Prior to joining UCB, she was a member of the business development and licensing team at Schwarz Pharma. Since then, Anna has held various business development and licensing roles at UCB. Previously, she worked at the Technology Transfer Office of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, where she was responsible for the protection and commercialisation of research results from DKFZ research activities. Anna Lisa studied biology at the University of Bielefeld and received her doctorate from the DKFZ in Heidelberg in 2001. She is active in industry associations (e.g. board member of the Pharma Licensing Club Germany) and is a member of the supervisory board of Apontis Pharma AG.

Our host

Janssen is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies. Founded in 1953 by Dr Paul Janssen in Belgium, we have also been represented in Germany since 1959. His spirit of research and innovation still characterise the company today. We are one of the three largest companies in the industry here. As part of the global healthcare company Johnson & Johnson, we work to cure diseases, alleviate pain and prolong life. To do this, we say YES every day to the numerous medical challenges that lie ahead. With success: in 2022 alone, around 757,000 people in Germany were treated with prescription medicines from Janssen. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Platin Sponsor

Stadt Düsseldorf

The Economic Development Department is the central point of contact for all companies, whether they need help with foreign companies’ residency requirements or relocating a business within the city limits. From start-up to expansion to the question of company succession – our experienced experts will help you with the next steps in all phases of your company.

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor


Agenda / Schedule

  • 08:30 Uhr | Early-Bird-Site-Tour

    09.00 Uhr

  • 09:20 Uhr | Countdown for the live stream transmission

    09.00 Uhr

  • 09:30 Uhr | Greeting

    09.00 Uhr

  • 10:00 Uhr | Pitch session, part 1

    09.00 Uhr

  • 11:25 Uhr | Coffee break

    09.00 Uhr

  • 11:45 Uhr | Pitch session, part 2

    09.00 Uhr

  • 13:05 Uhr | Lunch

    09.00 Uhr

  • 14:00 Uhr | Networking session // Jury meeting

    09.00 Uhr

  • 14:45 Uhr | Reverse Pitch

    09.00 Uhr

  • 15:00 Uhr | Panel discussion

    09.00 Uhr

  • 15:45 Uhr | BioRiver Boost! Award ceremony

    09.00 Uhr

  • 16:00 Uhr | End of transmission // Networking

    09.00 Uhr


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