Basel is certainly Europe’s life sciences centre. The Swiss border city is home to countless world-renowned companies and research institutions in the area of life sciences, biotech, public health and digital health, among which are Basilea, SKAN, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Idorsia, Abbott, Novartis, Roche, Lonza. Now it is home to the first dedicated electron diffractometer, ELDICO ED-1, and to Europe’s first very own electron diffraction platform hosted by Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area.
ELDICO ED-1, the electron diffractometer from ELDICO Scientific is going to be installed and taken to operation in February 2022 in Basel. Here, in one of the centres of the global pharmaceutical industry, the groundbreaking device will be operated by specialist personnel for a consortium of academic and industrial users.
This installation is the long awaited response to the imminent need for advanced nano-analytical applications. There is no doubt that electron diffraction is an important driver for academic and industrial research and product development. However, instrumentation was scarce, given that experiments were only possible on (and at a limited level) with modified ("retrofitted") transmission electron microscopes. A need to broader access to electron diffraction facilities was reported throughout the last years.
Experience center for research in academia and industry
The application of electron diffraction on a dedicated device is unique in the global context and meets the needs of researchers and product developers worldwide, which is also clearly communicated by science and industry at the Allschwil site. Thus, future users confirm the need and pioneer content of such an innovation platform:
"Electron diffraction on a device developed specifically for this purpose represents a very significant advance compared to the possibilities currently available. Our chemists are very excited about the prospect of soon being able to work on the world's first electron diffractometer." Prof. Dr. Christian SCHÖNENBERGER, SNI
"Electron diffraction is a promising, but so far not adequately available analytical technique. It is important to us because we specialized in the discovery and development of small molecules. Having access to the latest structure elucidation technologies in the field is of key importance. We are convinced, this new technology can provide highly relevant, yet unseen stimuli for pharmaceutical research." says another representative.
A strong push for research in life science and pharma
The strategic goal of the innovation platform is the development and local anchoring of analytical capabilities in the field of nano crystallography in order to position Switzerland as a centre of excellence for application-oriented electron diffraction on a global level. Basel, as a global centre for pharmaceutical research and development, as well as for the chemical and life sciences industries, is the right location for this world-first facility.
The innovation platform is thus integrally linked to the overarching Basel Area Business & Innovation strategy, expressed in its programmatic motto "More to discover". Electron diffraction in general and ELDICO ED-1 in particular offer the opportunity to discover new things. Electron diffraction, as it will be made available at the Innovation Platform, will play a decisive role in enabling companies and science to illuminate the nanoscale range, i.e. material samples from 10 - 1,000 nm, better, faster and at lower cost than is currently possible here or elsewhere with the available instrumentation and methods.
A platform open all performing ED applications
Companies from the pharmaceutical, specialty and agrochemical industries, nanotechnology and the energy sector will thus have the chance to benefit from previously unavailable analytical capabilities and will be enabled to trigger innovation thrusts.