What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
ATTRACT made it possible for us to explore and take new paths in our project. The scheme also facilitates generating partnerships with companies that are very reluctant to take part in these type of initiatives.
The original idea turned to be too limited for the market, and thanks to the studies performed, we were able to rethink the concepts and we are now working on a new possibility to go for a real product in a short timescale.
What challenges have you faced so far?
When trying a new path, the risk of failure is high and culturally, this is always perceived as a threat, but ATTRACT’s flexibility encouraged us not to give up and keep trying.
Our institution’s bureaucracy made it difficult to benefit from ATTRACT’s flexibility, which is an extra complication given the compact timescale of the project. The possibility of an extension is a great thing allowing to exploit the resources at a maximum.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
We hope to move forward and beyond! With this proof of concept now we can either apply for ATTRACT’s phase II or other funding to continue with a clinical trial. Alternatively, we could find an interested company or business angel for a spin-off. This is just the start of the story, and we are evaluating the possibility of generating a patent.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
ATTRACT, though very selective, is fast and flexible. The application/selection phase is effective, and the release of funds is very fast. The overhead of the project administration is minimal, making project management very efficient. This is key when working with partner companies, which usually do not like time-consuming proposals, issues with fund release, administrative burden and reporting.
Another winning point of ATTRACT is that ideas are the priority, thus small group with a bright idea but limited resources can compete with bigger and consolidated groups, and propose “out of the box” concepts.