While US is ramping up for race to Mars, Europe is betting big on hyperloop on Earth

Recently, two US astronauts Dough Harley and Bob Behnken rode into space in SpaceX’s automated Dragon Capsule, a capsule designed to take people to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft was blasted off successfully after nine years from the United States soil (Kennedy Space Center in Florida). Notably, Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private company to launch human beings into orbit. 

Zeleros Hyperloop secures €7M!

While the US is ramping up investment in space programs, Spain’s Zeleros Hyperloop on the other side has recently raised €7 million in a financing round. Headquartered in Valencia, Zeleros is leading the development of hyperloop in Europe.

The round was led by Altran, Grupo Red Eléctrica, and also strategic investors at a national and international level, including among others Goldacre Ventures (United Kingdom), Road Ventures (Switzerland), Plug and Play (USA), and the Spanish Angels Capital and MBHA. 

Commenting on the announcement, David Pistoni, Chief Executive Officer at Zeleros, said: “For Zeleros it is key to have partners of this relevance and expertise onboard. Their support will accelerate the development of our technologies, unlocking the path towards hyperloop-based routes and corridors in Europe and worldwide. These new funds will boost a major milestone of developing and demonstrating our technologies in a real environment of operation, bringing Zeleros closer to a multibillion market opportunity to be captured in the next decades”. 

Best alternative to cover routes between 400 and 1,500 kms!

As per the company, the funding will be used to develop Zeleros’ hyperloop vehicle and its core technologies, which place them as the best alternative to cover efficiently routes between 400 and 1,500 kilometers in distance, with special benefits such as the reduction of the overall infrastructure costs and the operation at safer pressures for passengers. 

Pilar Rodríguez, Strategy, Innovation and R&D Director at Altran Spain, participating as lead investor, said: “By supporting Zeleros, Altran is accelerating disruptive innovation in a sector, such as mobility, that is reinventing itself. With technologies like hyperloop, we are changing the future of mobility. Altran has been collaborating with Zeleros since 2017 and will now contribute all of its experience and multidisciplinary talent to help the company accelerate the development of hyperloop technology.” 

The following step will be the deployment of the European Hyperloop Development Centre in Spain, including a 3-km test-track to demonstrate the effectiveness of its technologies at high speed.

Won at a competition organised by Elon Musk!

Co-founded in 2016 by David Pistoni (CEO), Daniel Orient (CTO), and Juan Vicén (CMO), after being awarded at the competition organised by Elon Musk (SpaceX) in Los Angeles. Zeleros is partnering with renowned industrial players and research centers worldwide to bring hyperloop into a reality within the next decade.

The Spanish company’s unique technologies integrated into the vehicle enable the implementation of scalable hyperloop routes, reducing drastically the cost per kilometer of infrastructure and operating at safer pressure levels. Currently, it coordinates more than 150 people in the development, including organizations such as Altran, Tecnalia, CIEMAT, Renfe o EIT Climate-KIC. 

Creating an international ecosystem!

“Hyperloop is a great development that requires the participation of first-class players and that is why from the beginning we decided to approach our project by creating a collaborative ecosystem. We combine Zeleros’ talented team and technology with the global experience provided by leading organizations in sectors such as railways, aeronautics, infrastructure, and electrification”, says David Pistoni. 

This project aims to accelerate the development of the hyperloop industry in Europe, by creating an ecosystem of international industrial, technological, and institutional partners. 

Juan Vicén, Chief Marketing Officer at Zeleros, concludes that “This technology will be a crucial tool to strengthen the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as the European Green Deal. Since its creation, Zeleros has been promoting the standardization and regulation of hyperloop systems to ensure the highest level of safety and interoperability to expand the limits of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).”

Main image credits: Zeleros

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[MigVax in Israel21C] In the race for a coronavirus vaccine, first doesn’t mean best

However, vaccine development, like drug development, is a long and complicated process. And it doesn’t always succeed, explains industry expert Ron Ellis, editor in chief of Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics and a consultant for Israeli vaccine development company MigVax.

Read more here.

The post [MigVax in Israel21C] In the race for a coronavirus vaccine, first doesn’t mean best appeared first on OurCrowd.


Can I Work From Home And Escape The Rat Race?

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This Italian startup is working hard to develop the first vaccine to kill coronavirus: Will it win the race?

The entire world is racing to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Multiple pharmaceutical companies, startups, and test labs are working around the globe to come up with a vaccine. One such company is a humble startup from Europe called Takis Biotech. The Italian startup has been working on a vaccine for COVID-19 and has now announced a new milestone in its journey. 

Takis Biotech produces coronavirus neutralising antibodies in test animals

Takis Biotech pivoted from working on developing cancer treatments to coronavirus vaccine. It has been working on the vaccine since late January. Now, it has announced that the first injections of the DNA vaccine candidates have produced neutralising antibodies in test animals. The injections are tested against the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. The next phase of trials is slated to begin this week by the startups’ manufacturing partner, Applied DNA Sciences Inc.

“We are proud of the rapid achievements with our Joint Partners in the fight to vanquish COVID-19 through its Spike protein and corresponding gene,” says Dr. James Hayward, CEO of Applied DNA Sciences. “The candidate vaccine constructs lend themselves to rapid manufacturing, and the potential for low-dose vaccination could enhance the power of our platform in a global pandemic, by requiring less manufacturing to vaccinate a given population size. Moreover, the simplicity of our joint approach empowers a technical response to viral mutations within days or weeks. We are especially aware of the irony of collaborating from New York and Rome, two locations so badly struck by COVID-19.”

Vaccine studies happened at the Lazzaro Spallanzani 

Studies for the testing were done at the renowned Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome. Spallanzani was among the first to obtain and sequence the novel coronavirus. It also developed unique models for the assessment of vaccines. Dr, Luigi Aurisicchio, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at Takis, says, “Thanks to the Spallanzani’s skills, as far as we know, we are among the first in the world to have demonstrated the neutralization of the coronavirus by a vaccine. We believe this will also happen in humans.”

Will Takis Biotech win the COVID-19 vaccine race?

As per the World Health Organisation, there are 5 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation. Four of these trials are in phase 1 and one is already in phase 2.  The one furthest along is by CanSino Biologics and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, which is in Phase II. The Boston biopharma company Moderna was in phase 1 and it recently received FDA approval to move into phase 2 of the trials. 

Additionally, there are 71 vaccines for COVID-19 in development worldwide that are currently in the preclinical evaluation phase. Takis Biotech is doing great work, but it is still a bit behind. Takis is now expected to enter pre-clinical and human trials. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t win the race since it will all come down to testing and evaluating how the vaccine works.

Main image credits: Shutterstock

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