Scientists and business developers get together at 'Health & Bio Team Dating'

by Gemma Escarré,

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Twenty biomedical research projects and nearly thirty business development experts and mentors participated in the fourth edition of Health & Bio Team Dating in Barcelona, the only business speed-dating event in the sector hold on 17th October in Barcelona. This edition of Health & Bio Team Dating hosted 90 speed dates, with scientists presenting their research to professionals with business experience interested in growing these projects as mentors, entrepreneurs or business developers.

Health & Bio Team Dating is promoted by Banc Sabadell BStartup, Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech, and took place for the first time under the framework of the Healthio fair at Fira de Barcelona.

In Catalonia there are more than 1,000 companies working in the healthcare arena. Between 2015 and 2017 alone, 144 new companies were created in the sector, which is one new healthcare company a week.

According to Yolanda Pérez, director of Banc Sabadell BStartup, “Catalonia generates really good science, the only thing it needs now to attract more investment and become a top-notch global biotech hub is greater critical mass of projects to launch to market.” 

Target point of international investors

Biocat CEO Jordi Naval highlights that the Catalan healthcare a sector is becoming a noteworthy destination for foreign investors: “Companies in the sector attracted more than €100 million in 2017 and there are more than 40 foreign investors that have committed to these companies.” The Study on investment in the Biomedical industry in Catalonia of CataloniaBio & HealthTech and EY collects these data and future challenges.

For his part, Angel Alonso, vice-president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech, noted that “innovation from research must continue to be a driving force to promote development of solutions that help improve health and consolidate Catalonia as an international hub, and the Health & Bio Team Dating initiative is key in making that happen.”

Inspirational Talk of Senolytic Therapeutics

The event featured Marc Ramis and Manuel Serrano, co-founders of de Senolytic Therapeutics located in Boston and Barcelona, who shared their experience. “All scientists want their research to have an impact on society and the way to make that happen is to start up a company,” said Manuel Serrano, co-founder of the company and researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB). 

Marc Ramis, CEO of the company and serial entrepreneur in the biomedical sector, reminded the audience that the most important thing in founding a company is “to find people who share your values.”

Breeding ground for success stories

Health & Bio Team Dating has consolidated its role as a catalyst for science-enterprise teams. At the past three editions, more than 250 participants held roughly 530 meetings.

These have led to success stories like Elem Biotech, a spin-off of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) that does virtual simulations of organs and tissue for drug research. Researcher Mariano Vázquez, co-founder of Elem Biotech, attended last year’s Health & Bio Team Dating event. There he had a meeting with Genesis Biomed and met Josep Lluís Falcó, who has joined Elem Biotech as a mentor and investor. 

Another success story is Leukos Biotech, as scientist Ruth Risueño met the company's current CEO, Enrique Llaudet, at Health & Bio Team Dating.

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