Lluís Pareras, founding partner of the new fund Invivo Ventures, is optimistic about the future of the life sciences sector and warns that companies need to keep working at a good pace these months so they don’t lose inertia.
Doctor of Medicine, specializing in Neurosurgery, and MBA Global Executive (IESE), Lluís Pareras is a founding partner of the new fund Invivo Ventures. This Barcelona-based fund that specializes in healthcare announced it had achieved a first closing of €40 million a few months ago. With extensive experience as an investor, advisor and entrepreneur, Pareras also heads up the Healthequity fund.
We are getting fewer new projects to assess and many now have Covid-19 in their pipeline. But we don’t invest in topics, we invest in good science: what matters most is that the solution is a good one.
In terms of the projects that we were already studying for investment, we’re still assessing them and investing. Between now and this summer, we expect to invest in several. Our message is that we can’t stop. Stopping now would be a mistake, because science and biotechnology will play a huge role in society and, for those who don’t stop now, having the advantage of these 2 quarters will be key. It is time to execute everything we have planned.
Companies may see some delays in project development, but in our experience, there haven’t been too many problems. Companies with projects in the clinical phase will see delays because it can be difficult to recruit patients right now.
We asked all of them for an impact report and contingency plans, taking into account all possible scenarios: best-case, worst-case and something in the middle. Our advice depends on each company, but we’ve given them each recommendations and alternative plans to prevent development from slowing down. As a general recommendation, we require focus and pressing to keep going and try to move forward as much as possible during this time. I’m very pleased with how all of our companies have handled the situation. But we never expected any less because we only invest in companies with quality CEOs. This is the most important element of a company, above all in a crisis or uncertain times like the present.
I think the biotechnology field will be even more prominent after Covid-19, as it is attracting interest from the general public and investors, and visibility will be boosted. But that also depends on the overall situation of the economy, not only in biotechnology: if the economy really suffers, it will be a bit more difficult to invest, in any sector.
Virology has gotten a bit more attention, but it has always had a specific piece of the investment pie and will never eclipse other clinical needs. Investors will keep investing in all of them. They won’t abandon the rest for virology.
Society has to realize that we can’t keep cutting investment in biotechnology indefinitely, because the trend in recent years has been constant cutbacks in this sector. This isn’t the answer, because it is a sector based on human health and wellbeing, something so essential that politicians and society should understand that we need to strengthen and promote it in order to tackle the challenges we’ll face in the future.