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Department of Engineering

Cambridge spin-out company wins award and industry mentoring

Cambridge spin-out company wins award and industry mentoring

Ruizhi Wang (second right) and HexagonFab partner Dr Hannah Stern accept the award at Merck headquarters in Germany. Also pictured, from left, Tobias Helbich and Wookyu Kim from Merck. 

Cambridge start-up HexagonFab, a spin-out from the Department of Engineering, has been announced as a winner of the Merck Displaying Futures Award.

HexagonFab is a recent spin-out of The Hofmann Group. It utilises large-scale fabrication of high quality graphene and related atomically thin materials to enable a new generation of extremely sensitive and fast sensors.

Ruizhi Wang, PhD student

Led by PhD student Ruizhi Wang, HexagonFab has developed a new generation of biosensors for high sensitivity and near real-time medical diagnosis. The sensor is based on a novel nanomaterial, for which The Hofmann Group has developed new ways of industrial scale production.

The company is one of three ‘smart medical idea’ winners, selected from nearly 100 applicants from around the world, which will now receive, over the next 12 months, mentorship from Merck experts, access to the science and technology company’s global network and resources, and up to $50,000 to help shape its idea.

This year-long partnership will lead to a final event in summer 2019 where HexagonFab and the two other winning teams will pitch their ideas to investors.

Ruizhi Wang said: “It is fantastic that the potential of HexagonFab’s technology has been acknowledged by Merck and its Displaying Futures Award.

“HexagonFab is a recent spin-out of The Hofmann Group. It utilises large-scale fabrication of high quality graphene and related atomically thin materials to enable a new generation of extremely sensitive and fast sensors. The work of the Hofmann Group and HexagonFab will play a significant role in transitioning high quality graphene from the laboratory to truly large scale commercial applications.”

The winning teams were assessed against criteria such as innovativeness, business potential and social impact.

Kai Beckmann, CEO of the Performance Materials business of Merck, said: “As a company with leadership positions in healthcare, life science, and performance materials, we are eager to use this unique opportunity to drive cross-sectoral technologies that have potential to bring life-changing results in these important fields. We are proud to be a part of these innovation journeys and are excited to offer our support and 350 years of expertise.”

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