The Weaker Sex?

Portraits of successful women in science

Hemex is particularly inspired by the hard-working women who push boundaries to create innovative healthcare solutions. Dedicated and powerful female leaders enrich the diversity of our Swiss start-up portfolio. Today, we would like to introduce five remarkable female role models to you.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur / leader is not easy, especially for women. Two common challenges female leaders face in the academic and scientific world are sometimes referred to as the “glass ceiling” (the invisible barrier that keeps women from rising) and the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon (the way that women disappear from some career pathways).

The process of building a new company from scratch is challenging, yet incredibly rewarding when dreams materialize, and new discoveries improve the lives of people around the world. Research shows that companies that embrace team gender diversity are stronger and more efficient at tackling external and internal challenges. Therefore, we have decided to dedicate this post to our fast-growing list of impressive female leaders in our portfolio companies.


Iselin Frøybu

Iselin is Co-founder and COO at EMOVO CARE. She is a hardware engineer who studied Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University and has a Master’s degree from EPFL. Iselin turned into a business developer with a passion for developing meaningful technologies. She says that the question is no longer whether we can make something, but rather whether we should. She also likes to fight stereotypes and entropy. Iselin is an inspiring woman, who has played a crucial role in the company’s success. Her work never ceases to amaze us. With Emovo Care, Iselin is on a mission to significantly improve quality of life for stroke survivors.


Özge Karakas

Özge is Co-Founder and COO at Hi-D IMAGING. She is an experienced scientist, entrepreneur, and a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich. Özge has over 10 years of experience in thermodynamics and fluid dynamic models. On top of this, she has completed a minor degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Özge has been instrumental in the company’s creation, writing the business plan and managing company finances.


Ronja Bruhn

Ronja is CEO and Co-Founder of STIMIT. She is a medical engineer with an MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. With 12 years of experience in R&D industry projects and an EMEA product launch, Ronja has impressive experience when it comes to bringing healthcare products to market. Her hard work has demonstrated that STIMIT provides added clinical benefits to patients. With STIMIT, Ronja works on a noninvasive solution for patients lacking natural breathing function. STIMIT’s vision is to empower sedated ICU patients to breathe, creating natural breath instead of pumping air into the lungs.


Danuta Cichocka

Danuta is the CEO and Co-Founder of RESISTELL. She is a microbiologist passionately driven by life science, innovation, and self-development. She finished her PhD at the UFZ Leipzig, completed the Executive MBA program at EPFL, and obtained a CAS in Management of Biotech, Medtech & Pharma Ventures. Her key strength is being able to bridge the gap between research and business. Her ability to translate a complex problem into manageable challenges is admirable. Being able to not only see the big picture but knowing how to communicate it is a valuable strength that we truly appreciate at Hemex. With Resistell, Danuta works on the world’s fastest antibiogram to save lives by finding the right antibiotic in time and combat antibiotic resistance.


Marija Plodinec

Marija is CEO and Co-Founder of ARTIDIS. She believes in the potential of their technology to transform a cancer patient’s journey (and so do we at HEMEX). Marija studied physics at the University of Zagreb and completed her doctorate from the Maurice Müller Institute at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. She is also a member of several international organizations and a Senior Principal Scientist at the University Hospital Basel. She is an energic source of inspiration in the field of physical sciences in oncology. At Artidis, Marija is dedicated to developing a rapid diagnostic technique to detect cancer.


Still think women are the “Weaker Sex”? Think again and embrace diversity – as we do here at Hemex!

How Animal Health Innovation Enabled a Rapid and Reliable SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Test Kit

In the battle of fighting against COVID-19, a rapid test is crucial to understand the spread of the pandemic.

The Swiss start-up LiVET that originally developed diagnostic tests for respiratory diseases in horses has accelerated their platforms to detect COVID-19 in human samples, establishing a newly incorporated company ender diagnostics ag. Undeniably, ender is a fascinating example of how health developments can be transferred from animal health technology into human health. ender’s isothermal technology utilizes a single temperature for all the steps providing a dramatic decrease of detection time when comparing to the gold standard polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR). In addition, its 30-minute turnover platform can support a relatively small sample size, no need for waiting for a large sample size in a batch. Thus, it is flexible and efficient to operate in laboratories.

Besides the currently sold CE-marked detection kit ender LAB, the company is developing its new outstanding platforms, ender MAS and ender MOBILE, which provide much simplified steps for the sample handling and for point-of-care purpose.

As of 25 June, the cost of all coronavirus tests, including coronavirus and antibody tests, will be covered by the Swiss federal government, implying that people would be more willing to get themselves tested (source: The Federal Council). The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has encouraged people to participate in prevention efforts by installing the SwissCovid app, a proximity tracing system to help in contact tracing and informing people who have spent a certain time with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Hand holding mobile with geoHealthApp for COVID-19 tracking

A similar app has been already launched in Switzerland in April by GeoHealthApp, a german start-up supported by HEMEX.

In an estimated 8,000 tests per day carried out in Switzerland, the need for tests is still increasing (source: A prediction model of Prof. Dirk Mohr at ETH Zurich suggests that the second pandemic wave would develop more slowly but potentially more deadly (source: Swissinfo). The good news is that it would not overload the Swiss healthcare capacity and we could better prepare in testing and tracing the population. There is no doubt that start-ups such as ender diagnostics play a pivotal role in this battle of COVID-19.

In summary, with the increased availability of advanced testing kits and tracing apps, we can now better monitor the current pandemic status in Switzerland and respond rapidly in order to prevent catastrophic local outbreaks.

HEMEX supports LiVET, ender diagnostics, and GeoHealthApp with clinical, regulatory and market access services.

For more information, see