11 Jan Success stories of GENESIS Biomed as Venture Builder
• GENESIS Biomed has acted in some cases as Venture Builder.
• The spin-off Telara Pharma and the spin-off RetinaReadRisk are two successful examples where GENESIS Biomed has played this role.
• More Venture Builders are needed to boost the biomedical sector.
The creation of a start-up or spin-off is not always an easy process and often fails due to the lack of training in business activities of the research teams responsible for the intellectual property, who would like to be able to advance in the development of a product and be able to reach the market.
This is why the existence of Venture Builders helps to fill these gaps and is essential to achieve the objective. The first question we should ask ourselves is what a Venture Builder is. A Venture Builder is an entity or company that is dedicated to the creation and development of new start-ups or emerging companies from scratch. Unlike a traditional investor or incubator, a Venture Builder not only invests in existing start-ups, but even before its foundation. Venture Builder could typically be involved in identifying market opportunities, generating business ideas, recruiting a founding team, providing financial and technological resources, providing support, and working closely with the founding team to develop and grow the company.
The differences with an accelerator and incubator are significant since a Venture Builder is involved from the very beginning, even before the start-up or spin-off is established. Another difference with incubators is that a Venture Builder always invests in the equity of the company in a usually significant percentage, as they do so in the early stages, when the equity is not yet high.
GENESIS Biomed, which emerged as a biomedical health sector consultancy specialising in providing consultancy services precisely in the genesis and early stages of the life cycle of biomedical spin-off and start-up companies, also has the management of an investment vehicle, GENESIS Tech Transfer Boost, which enables it to act on occasions as a Venture Builder, as we show below in two success stories:
TELARA is a spin-off of the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Gregorio Marañón (IiSGM), the result of the research work of researchers belonging to the Renal Physiopathology Laboratory: Alberto Tejedor, Alberto Lázaro, Mª Ángeles González-Nicolás, Sonia Camaño and Blanca Humanes, which culminated in the discovery of cilastatin for the prevention of acute kidney injury induced by toxins and sepsis. GENESIS Biomed supported IiSGM in the creation of Telara Pharma, the corresponding spin-off of the Cilastatin project. It also contributed to and led the closing of a €100,000 seed round. And finally, it has acted as interim CEO from the year of its incorporation, 2021, until the end of 2023 to subsequently assist in the search and identification of a CEO to whom to transfer the leadership of the company. In addition, during GENESIS Biomed’s tenure as interim CEO, it helped enter into an exclusive worldwide licence agreement with Canadian company Arch Biopartners for the use of cilastatin in the treatment and prevention of acute kidney injury and sepsis.
RetinaReadRisk is a spin-off of the Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili (IISPV) and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), which as a result of previous research work and a European EIT Health project has developed a telemedicine platform for the early detection of diabetic retinopathy, thanks to the combination of artificial intelligence and 5G technology. GENESIS Biomed supported the creation of the spin-off within the European project. It also invested a €100,000 ticket in the spin-off during 2023 through its investment vehicle (GENESIS Tech Transfer Boost). As in the previous case, it has been acting as interim CEO until the end of 2023 and has also carried out the search and identification of the current CEO.
In the words of Josep Lluís Falcó, CEO of GENESIS Biomed, “Putting the necessary instruments in place so that promising innovation materialises in a spin-off, obtaining the necessary funding and investing to advance product development and also acting as interim CEO until a potential CEO is identified, in short, acting as Venture Builder is a real challenge for a consultancy firm like GENESIS Biomed. These are moments of great tension where the survival of the company is at stake and a false step can sink the project before it has even started. Acting as a Venture Builder is exhausting but it is also stimulating to see our contribution to the consolidation of the ecosystem. The existence of Venture Builders is undoubtedly essential to boost the innovation sector. In Spain there is not much tradition in this aspect, but we are optimistic that in the future there will be more and more players in this field that will contribute to making Biomedicine a rising value”.