Spin-off companies

Since 2005, 242 spin-offs from Helmholtz Association have been founded. Two thirds of them were funded by the Helmholtz Enterprise Program.

Batch I/2020

B² Sensors offers a portable, one-sensor solution for early and reliable detection of multiple gaseous compounds in water and air. The state-of-the-art infrared sensor allows simultaneous identification and quantification of a broad range of dissolved compounds. The oil and gas industry, for prospecting as well as for monitoring pipelines for leakages, is one of the primary markets. The sensor is also designed for environmental and climate research and monitoring of ocean and inland waters. The B² Sensors Team has over 20 years of accumulated experience in the development, design, construction and production of underwater sensors and technologies.

Due to their dimensions and large weights, production machines can nowadays only be installed or moved out of a production with great effort. Rearranging a production line also comes at a great cost. The spin-off project will therefore develop and launch a modular high capacity transport system with which machines of various sizes and weights can be lifted comfortably. A single user can then move the entire machine by remote control.

Enginears is team of scientists and clinicians developing novel medical devices for the ear, nose, and throat. Common ailments, such as middle ear infections, are misdiagnosed at a significant rate in children, leading to unnecessary treatment and excess medical costs. The team has developed miniaturized tools that put advances in medical imaging technologies into the hands of practitioners, improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosis for common pediatric conditions.

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Novel, compact measurement system for the determination of absolute luminescence yields of LEDs or solar cells.


More environmentally friendly and quality assured repair of fibre composite structures with applications in aviation.


PALS is a method for non-destructive material analysis of defects on the nanometer scale.


Multifunctional sensor for non-contact monitoring and control of industrial plants.


Cloud-based software platform to improve discovery of suitable advanced materials for R&D purposes.


Enzyme catalytic process development for companies producing fine chemicals and active ingredients.


Service for special thin film coatings in areas such as optics, biology and electronics.


Soil gas analysis to reduce financial risks in exploration and to improve the accuracy of drilling planning.


Batch II/2019

The research team headed by Rolf Müller and Mark Brönstrup from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) is working closely with the industry partner Evotec, to analyze new active substance candidates from the cystobactamid family. Cystobactamids have the potential to provide empirical antibiotic therapy for complicated urinary tract and intraabdominal infections and are to be further optimized for this application. The cystobactamid active substance family inhibits the growth of a known bacterial enzyme (gyrase), but uses a mechanism that is resistance-breaking against the fluoroquinolones widely used in clinical application. The cooperation combines HZI expertise in the area of natural products with Evotec’s translational active substance research platform, the leading in the world in the area of antibiotics. The project is now transitioning to lead optimization and has received funding from sources that include the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The Myxobiotics Helmholtz Enterprise project, headed by Thomas Hesterkamp, is pursuing spin-off and risk capital financing with the mid-term goal of being able to nominate an advanced cystobactamid as a development candidate. More public funding is to be obtained to develop the active substance family. The Helmholtz Enterprise Plus module will be used to finance an experienced industrial consultant.

Human metabolism reflects processes of health and disease. There are specific biomarkers, which depict different stages of diseases - for example in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or Endometriosis: CKD is one of the most common and severe complications of diabetes and hypertension. CKD increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction, and end-stage renal disease is lethal unless treated by complex and expensive interventions like dialysis or kidney transplantation. Endometriosis, a chronic condition of unclear etiology characterized by the growth of endometrium outside the uterus, affects up to 10% of the women in the reproductive age. Endometriosis manifests by sometimes severe menstrual pain, infertility, and further complications like inflammation or even cancer.

Jerzy Adamski (Helmholtz Zentrum München), Klaus Weinberger (sAnalytiCo, Belfast, and UMIT, Hall), and their collaborators developed new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for unmet medical needs in nephrology and gynecology. The newly developed diagnostic tools are using the same technology platform, tandem mass spectrometry, to detect disease-specific metabolite patterns, and will support clinical decision-making in defined indications. For CKD, the biomarkers will allow a more practical and reliable selection of kidney transplantation donors, an accurate stratification of CKD patients into the best therapeutic regimens and, eventually, an early risk assessment for patients living with diabetes and hypertension. For endometriosis, the new test will shorten the time to a definitive diagnosis, avoid unnecessary invasive laparoscopies, support the treatment of infertility, and improve quality of life for patients.
Helmholtz Enterprise supports project Metaron with the first steps towards a spin-off preparing the biomarker assays for clinical validation and launch as in vitro diagnostic (IVD) kit products.

With an increasing demand for metals - needed for a green economy - the mining sector is facing a complex challenge. The sustainable supply of raw materials requires energy-efficient and socially acceptable procedures with a low environmental footprint. With over 6 years of experience gathered throughout international projects (research, R&D, industry, etc.), the department of Exploration Technology of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) as part of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), has successfully developed and demonstrated novel multi-source & multi-scale digital mapping and monitoring procedures. Technologies that will minimize both the impact on the environment as well as disturbances to the communities and, at the same time, improve existing solutions. Thanks to numerous proof-of-concepts, these capabilities are today fully operational and put directly into practice within the team lead by Richard Gloaguen. These state-of-the art developments have reached market readiness.

The Helmholtz Enterprise project "TheiaX" aims at bridging the need of the mining sector for rapid and accurate raw material characterization using innovative imaging sensors fitted to multiple platforms such as drones. Using the potential of artificial intelligence and computer vision, TheiaX’s core business will be providing a cost-efficient, rapid and non-invasive decision-making tool for the discovery and supply of raw materials. TheiaX provides these digital twins that serve as a reliable basis for structural and lithological mapping and environmental monitoring in order to minimize human impact in target areas. “We will provide adequate products that will improve worker’s safety, decrease environmental pressure, and provide a timely availability of key information to geologists and engineers to improve their decision making” says Robert Zimmermann, co-founder of TheiaX.

Batch I/2019

In the course of the WaMoS (Water Monitoring from Space) project, GFZ researcher Elisa Fagiolini developed computer software that can help regions exposed to climate extremes prepare more effectively for crisis events such as droughts or flooding. With the help of the hydrogravimetry software, changes in water resources in specific regions around the world can be analyzed using satellite data from the GRACE and GRACE-FO missions run by the GFZ and NASA. The software is able to differentiate between individual components of the overall water supply. WaMoS software could provide an essential tool for water providers, agricultural enterprises, or insurance companies, for example, who have to make long-term plans in those regions.

In contrast, the idea developed by Martin Israel at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) could be effective in some areas much closer to home: In the late spring, when farmers are mowing their fields and harvesting their crops, 100,000 fawns perish every year in Germany alone, because they are hiding from predators in the long grass and are not visible to the mowing machine operators. The “Fliegende Wildretter” (Flying Wildlife Finder) developed by the DLR team is intended to solve this problem and has already proved its effectiveness in numerous field tests. The DLR drone, which is equipped with sensors, automatically flies over the field before it is harvested and records high resolution thermal images and their position data at one-second intervals. Special software analyzes these data after the flight. The locations where animals were found are geo-referenced and can be transferred to a GPS device, which points the farmer or game tenant to where they are. One advantage of the Flying Wildlife Finder is that the technology detects the hidden fawns even when the sun is shining.

Batch II/2018

Precision measuring instrument for the tensor of the electrical resistance for the development of high-tech materials in the field of microelectronics.


Ultra-high density peptide arrays for accelerated drug development in the field of biologicals.



Forming process for plastic parts, which is more economical than 3-D printing and more flexible than embossing techniques or injection moulding.



Batch I/2018

Osteolabs has developed an innovative method for diagnostic early diagnosis as well as therapy control of diagnosed osteoporosis. Clinically tested non-invasive calcium isotope biomarkers are used for the B2B and B2C markets.

Neoficient has developed an indoor volume measurement system that can quickly and inexpensively create energetic building models. The automated creation of energy-efficient building models enable efficient energy assessment and documentation of buildings for customers in the fields of energy consulting, public utilities and large property management.


MyoPax Biobank offers patients of all ages, with progressive muscle atrophy, the opportunity to preserve their own stem cells for future individualized treatment of muscle diseases and defects. The Biobank for muscular cell therapy is the precursor to a promising therapy that is currently being developed at the MDC and is expected to become available within a few years.

Theraselect uses the so-called MALDI imaging method to localize a variety of molecules without labeling in clinical and preclinical tissue sections. Drug studies can thus be used to differentiate between active substances and their metabolites (metabolites) by image analysis in order to demonstrate the success of an application. Likewise, for personalized tumor diagnostics, extensive, specific biomarker profiles can be recorded. The MALDI Imaging Analysis outperforms the previous (immune) histological or molecular procedures in terms of speed, cost-efficiency, reliability and objectivity.

FCPP (Fuel Cell Power Pack) develops, assembles and sells fuel cell systems for use in cargo bikes and small electric vehicles, especially for urban last-mile transport. FCPP also implements business model design based on various last-mile logistics concepts for customers.

Simutence develops an improved simulation method for the virtual product development of fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) in the context of services and add-on modules. The role of FRP has a high potential for lightweight construction in vehicle structures due to their high stiffness and low weight. Based on the prediction of manufacturing effects within a virtual process chain, the simulation software enables the first meaningful and reliable modeling of digital twins of fiber-reinforced plastics.

Heisenberg develops quantum algorithms for the prediction of molecular properties for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The Heisenberg software can be used on conventional computers as well as on existing and future quantum computers. Thus, development processes can be accelerated with customers today and the understanding of chemical and physical relationships can be increased. As a result, new processes and products can be realized faster. Heisenberg already enables its customers to benefit from the possibilities of quantum computers in the research and development of materials and medicines and to minimize the risks of changes.

Batch II/2017

CEN-Mat produces highly-specialized custom-made nanomaterials with specific control of the properties of the material. Using a new cost-efficient and eco-friendly synthesis route, the company produces tailor-made materials for customers in the energy, automotive, and pharmaceutical sectors.

µyPrint is marketing a new kind of molecular printer which produces precisely-defined, high-resolution surface patterns for applications in biomedical research and clinical diagnostics at research institutes; customers in industry will be targeted at a later stage.

Eximmium distributes antibodies to manufacturers of biopharmaceuticals, which are produced using a platform technology it has specifically developed based on extracellular vesicles. The new technology enables the identification of previously unknown tumor antigens and simultaneously generates antibodies for these.

DcubeRoc develops and distributes software modules that can simulate the complex processes that occur in underground networks of cracks as realistically as possible for a wide range of geological applications. This technology can be used by government authorities, energy or mining companies involved in the exploitation of geothermal energy or in the final disposal of radioactive material.

Batch I/2017

With its Kinfinity data glove, Kinfinity Solutions turns the human hand into an interactive input device, giving access, on the one hand, to new applications in the fields of virtual reality and augmented reality. On the other hand, it can be used to specify complex movements for robot arms that are connected to it, without requiring any programing.

VECTOR21 develops and distributes market simulation software for the strategy departments of companies and consultancies. In contrast to alternative software products, the scenarios (for example for the diffusion of alternative technologies in the vehicle market) are interactive and live. The user simply accesses input data charts and the software calculates the result within seconds even in the case of complex analyses.

Batch II/2016

Industry 4.0 requires and necessitates the use of robotic systems that have no protective fencing to ensure safe human-robot collaboration (HRC). Moving robot tools and components are potentially extremely hazardous to people. COBOTECT offers a safety module which rapidly encloses robot tools and components in an airbag and then releases them again.


mSquare has developed a new generation of heated repair pads to fix components made of fiber-reinforced plastics such as those used in the wind power, aviation, and automotive industries. Compared to previous solutions, the material properties of the repaired components are significantly improved, while the time needed for their repair is also considerably shorter.


Batch I/2016

dermaSight is developing a mesoscopic device based on an imaging technique for dermatological and endoscopic applications. It uses what is known as “ultra-broadband optoacoustic mesoscopy” to produce high-resolution 3D images. Molecular and physiological parameters can thus be measured in real time and diagnoses can be made much more rapidly.

Until now, the mining and resources industries have had to undertake expensive expeditions and test borings in order to develop new deposits of rare earths or metals. ReSens+ is able to use the algorithms developed in-house using satellites or aerial photographs to rapidly determine the exact location, quality, and quantity of natural resources over an extensive area.

Erzlabor has refined a procedure for mineral analysis, which enables resource-efficient treatment and processing strategies in the fields of exploiting or recycling raw materials. The procedure of automated minerology leads to a reduction in process and production costs due to the increased speed of analysis and the improved quality of output.


Is It Fresh has developed printable sensors based on a new kind of ink technology, which almost makes the currently much-discussed expiry dates on foodstuffs superfluous. This technology allows data to be produced about the freshness status of each food product.

The sFIDA technology developed by scientists at the Forschungszentrum Jülich research center can quantify oligomers (which are co-responsible, for example, for the development and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)) in an ultrasensitive and specific manner. Furthermore, the technology can be used for other protein conformational disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease. It is initially being offered as a product for diagnostic services to customers in the pharmaceutical industry and in academic research.

The Forschungszentrum Jülich research center has developed a completely new type of drug candidate for treating Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Both the safety of the drug in treatment and its effectiveness in delaying the progression of the disease in animal models have been demonstrated. This potential active ingredient has a unique mode of action, which targets toxic Aβ peptide oligomers in a direct and specific way. Furthermore, the drug candidate is relatively inexpensive to produce and can be administered orally.

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  • Photo of Barbara Diehl