As part of a new series, we present here the premises and other services offered by our shareholders and cooperation partners in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region with whom we work together in a spirit of trust.
For startups in the field of medical technology, the CUBEX41 startup centre in Mannheim offers space to grow. The building is located in the middle of the campus of Mannheim University Medicine and is operated by mg: mannheimer gründungszentren which is also one of the shareholders of 5-HT, in close cooperation with the Medical Technology Cluster of the City of Mannheim. “This means that our startups benefit from close contact with clinics, research and industry”, said Katharina Klotzbach. In an interview, the centre manager talks about the offers for startups in CUBEX41 and about the new Business Development Centre that is currently being built in the immediate vicinity.
What is CUBEX41?
CUBEX41 is the Mannheim startup and competence centre for startups in the field of medical technology. It is operated under the umbrella brand Startup Mannheim by mg:gmbh, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the city, whose tasks include making Mannheim even more attractive as a location for startups.
In addition to CUBEX41 mg:gmbh currently operates six other target group-specific business incubators, such as the MAFINEX-Technologiezentrum or the C-Hub. Creative Industries Centre. CUBEX41 was opened in 2015 on the campus of Mannheim University Hospital. Supported by the EU, the state of Baden-Württemberg and the city of Mannheim, we offer startups in the field of medical technology not only an excellent infrastructure but also access to our extensive network. In addition, we are currently building the CUBEX ONE Business Development Center in the immediate vicinity of CUBEX41 , which will create even more space for medtech startups, small and medium-sized enterprises and collaborative research projects in Mannheim when it opens in spring 2021.
What offers are there in CUBEX41 for startups?
Startups receive rental space from us at subsidised conditions. In CUBEX41
, a total of around 1800 m² of building space is available, whereby our tenants can choose from various room options. In addition to classic office space, there are so-called i-Cubes, multifunctional Innovation Cubes. Some startups use them as offices, others as electrical engineering workshops or as space for pilot production. Our startups work on very different products, from innovative medical equipment to IT systems and robotics solutions, so it is important that the space can be used flexibly. This also gives the startups the opportunity to adapt the space to their current needs as they develop. In addition, we provide a central infrastructure with event rooms, a tea kitchen and sanitary facilities. So the startups can simply move in, set up their rental space and get started.
What are the particular strengths of the CUBEX41 for startups in the field of medical technology?
A great advantage is the close interlocking of industry, clinic and research. The fact that we are located in the middle of the clinical campus of a maximum care provider – in the building of the old pharmacy of the University Medical Centre Mannheim – gives startups the opportunity to receive direct feedback from clinical routine. We also work closely with the Medical Technology Cluster, which offers a large network with numerous partners from Mannheim and beyond.
CUBEX41 with its hybrid operating theatre, is the core of the Mannheim Molecular Intervention Environment (M²OLIE) research campus, which is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with up to 30 million euros for up to 15 years with the aim of developing the operating theatre of the future for cancer therapy.
In addition to our startups also houses the Fraunhofer Project Group for Automation in Medicine and Biotechnology (PAMB), which, among other things, operates the hybrid operating theatre and provides it as a testing platform for industrial and research partners within the Mannheim Medical Transfer Center (M²TC). One of our startups, QIT Systeme, uses this hybrid operating theatre to integrate IT solutions for radiology and medical imaging in the future and has now become an official part of the M²OLIE research campus. For startups it is of course great to be able to work with such strong partners from academia, industry and research at an early stage.
All in all, we have a very large network at CUBEX41 that we can draw on: on the one hand, on the part of mg:gmbh, which makes a cross-sector network accessible through the operation of a wide variety of startup centres and creates synergy effects in the support of startups, and on the other hand, with the City of Mannheim Economic Development Agency, which offers both startup and support advice for startups and the sector-specific network via the Medical Technology Cluster. This means that distances are short and there is a large innovation network in Mannheim and the region, so that our startups receive the best possible support.
What success stories have there been among the startups of CUBEX41 so far?
Vibrosonic, a spin-off of the Fraunhofer PAMB, has won the Mannheim Business Startup Prize for the development of invisible hearing solutions. Initially, Vibrosonic had only two offices in CUBEX41, but over time the start-up has grown so much that a few months ago it moved into several hundred square metres in a building owned by Technologiepark Mannheim GmbH.
Also the already mentioned startup QIT system originally started with three or four rooms and grew so strongly over time that at some point it occupied one third of the rental space of CUBEX41. QIT Systeme has now found larger premises in the MAFINEX Technology Centre. This is also one of the advantages of mg:gmbh: If there is no more space in one of our startup centres, we may be able to find a solution for the corresponding startup in one of the others.
PreviPharma Consulting is another startup that has also grown very strongly. At the interface between science and the pharmaceutical industry, this startup is researching how blood plasma can be used as the basis for individual medication for rare diseases and is currently developing a joint project with a department of the University Hospital.
Only a few hundred metres away from CUBEX41, the Business Development Centre CUBEX ONE is currently under construction. What new offers will there be there for MedTech startups?
At CUBEX41 we realised that we simply need more space, both for our existing startups and for new companies. This is why the City of Mannheim decided to scale up the CUBEX41 pilot project with CUBEX ONE: The new Business Development Center for medical technology, which is scheduled to open in spring 2021, will be about four times the size of CUBEX41 and will make even more technically possible. For example, there will be clean rooms and laboratories in S1 standard. As in CUBEX41 , the areas will be highly flexible in use, so that startups, spin-offs and SMEs will have room to grow. CUBEX ONE will continue to offer an excellent infrastructure with coworking spaces, a congress centre and its own catering facilities with direct connection to clinical routine.
What makes CUBEX ONE so special is that it is part of the Mannheim Medical Technology Campus (MMT Campus), which is currently being built right next to the clinical campus and is being developed by the Medical Technology Cluster. Technologiepark Mannheim GmbH is also creating new space here for companies from the medical technology sector. One of its buildings is already in operation – our former startup Vibrosonic, for example, has found new premises here – and two others are in the concrete planning stage. The idea is that once our startups have become too big or have reached the maximum residence time of eight years, they can continue to stay in the medical technology ecosystem on site by simply moving one building further on.