In September 2010, as part of a thesis project, Wouter Coemans (Product Development), a Master’s Student at The University of Antwerp, started working on the VAX-ID (formerly named ‘Vaxintradermal’). VAX-ID is an easy to use platform of injection devices suited for highly accurate and painless drug delivery in the dermis, the skin layer underneath the epidermis or upper layer of the skin.
In 2009, Vanessa Vankerckhoven, CEO of Novosanis, was appointed as Innovation Manager at VAXINFECTIO, and bridged collaboration between VAXINFECTIO and the Department of Product Development (Artesis University College, now University of Antwerp). The idea for an intradermal vaccination device resulted from VAXINFECTIO's key researchers who identified vaccine shortages during the pandemic H1N1 flu. Intradermal vaccination allows for smaller volumes while leading to an improved immune response. Given the need and potential of an intradermal device like VAX-ID, Koen Beyers, CEO of Voxdale, a design and engineering company based in Antwerp and CTO of Novosanis, became Wouter Coemans’ industrial supervisor for the VAX-ID project.
In 2011, a grant from the Belgian Industrial Research and Development (BiR&D) allowed for further development with three master students with different backgrounds: Ruben Camerlynck (Product Development), Charlotte Reypens (Applied Economics) and Timothi Van Mulder (Nursing and Obstetrics), who investigated the industrial design, usability and market potential of the device, respectively. All three of them were awarded by BiR&D. Vanessa Vankerckhoven was responsible for academic supervision and support for all students involved.
Alongside development of the device, as there was a clear market potential and business need, in March 2013, Novosanis was founded in collaboration with the University of Antwerp (VAXINFECTIO and Product Development; formerly Artesis University College) and Voxdale (Design & Engineering company), under the leadership of Vanessa Vankerckhoven (CEO) and Koen Beyers (CTO). Novosanis was funded by a private investor Taste Invest next to subsidies from the Flemish Government and the European Commission.
Novosanis established its own quality management system, and performed verification and validation testing on the initial VAX-ID prototype.
In 2019, Timothi Van Mulder, current Operations Manager at Novosanis completed his PhD (Baekeland) research focusing into VAX-ID as a drug delivery device for pediatric applications. Currently, the second generation of VAX-ID is being developed, which aims to improve usability and allow for large scale manufacturing.