21 Feb GENESIS Biomed supports the creation of four spin-offs during 2021
For a long time, research from hospitals and universities that could be transformed into innovation in the healthcare environment often remained in the drawer and, in the best of cases, was applied in a reduced environment. In the last decade (from 2010 onwards), the emergence of ITEMAS (ISCIII – Instituto de Salud Carlos III platform) for the dynamization and innovation of the industrial capacities of the NHS (National Health Service) and their effective transfer to the productive sector, the OTRIs (technology transfer offices) from the universities or the UAIs (Innovation Support Units) from the hospitals, help to create an awareness among researchers that public-private collaboration is essential to ensure that this innovation is translated into products that reach the market and improve people’s quality of life. For projects to progress and reach the market, it is common knowledge that public funding is not enough and that, although it plays a fundamental role in the early stages and contributes to the maturity of the project, it is private funding that allows progress to be made in highly costly stages such as clinical validation. This funding can be obtained through different and diverse public-private collaborations ranging from collaboration agreements with companies in the sector (pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, etc.), co-development agreements, technology transfer agreements or the creation of spin-offs where private funding translates into the entry of investors who become shareholders of the company.
The creation of spin-offs or start-ups has gone from being an isolated event in the public environment to becoming an increasingly common vehicle for bringing innovation from these environments to the market. This has also been helped by the laws that have emerged to regulate the creation of start-ups, which provide certain facilities and tax benefits to attract entrepreneurs as well as potential investors. However, despite their regulation, there is still a long way to go because the current legal framework can be improved and because the creation of a start-up or a spin-off is an administrative, fiscal and legal labyrinth that produces a feeling of vertigo for a researcher who often knows little or nothing about health entrepreneurship.
The preparation of a business plan to assess the viability of the project is the first step, but this is followed by steps such as the licensing agreement with the university, the partners’ agreement, the closing of the first seed round, etc., which are a real ordeal. The existence of consultancy companies such as GENESIS Biomed smooth this path by accompanying the project team in this arduous work. GENESIS Biomed has helped to set up numerous start-ups and spin-offs and we are pleased to have contributed to the valuable knowledge we have in Universities and Hospitals materialising in companies that can facilitate innovation to improve people’s health. Moreover, for the research team it is a challenge, but also a reward when the fruit of their innovation translates into a tangible product that improves the lives of patients.
As we have already mentioned, GENESIS Biomed has collaborated in the creation of many start-ups and spin-offs and at the beginning of the year 2022 we would like to mention all of these that, thanks to courageous researchers/entrepreneurs, have been created during 2021 and at the beginning of 2022. Among them we can mention:
- Endolipid Therapeutics. It arises from a research project of the Diabetes and Metabolism research group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), led by Dr. David Martínez Selva, principal investigator, and Dr. Rafael Simó, head of the group and of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, where they develop SHBG (Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin) mimetic molecules for the elimination of ectopic fat and for the treatment of NASH. The lipolytic and anti-inflammatory effect also opens up enormous potential in the field of cosmetics and specifically for the treatment of cellulite, which starts with an accumulation of fat under the skin.
- BetaScreen: This is a technology company that is developing machine learning algorithms to predict Alzheimer’s disease from brain MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) and CT scans. This product will be used as RUO (research use only) to complement the information from IVD (in-vitro diagnostic) with molecular biomarkers. The spin-off founded by the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), a research centre of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, stems from a project led by Dr. Juan Domingo Gispert and Dr. José Luis Molinuevo.
- THYTECH: This project arises from researchers at the Laboratory of Immuno-regulation (LIR) of the IiSGM, led by Dr. Rafael Correa Rocha, where a new allogeneic cell therapy has been developed based on the isolation of Treg cells from thymic tissue, discarded in paediatric cardiac surgery, for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Specifically, they are being used to prevent graft rejection in children with heart transplants with good results.
- Anais Medical: This is a spin-off of the Hospital Universitario Parc Taulí promoted by the nephrologist Dr. José Ibeas, which develops physical and virtual models for the education and training of medical staff.