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Catalan biotechnology start-up Peptomyc, a spin-off of ICREA and the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) led by Laura Soucek, won the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Start-up Slam Barcelona at BIO-Europe Spring. The event was held on 21 March at the CCiB in Barcelona, with roughly 200 participants.

The company was chosen from 14 start-ups that participated in the competition, including 4 Catalan firms (Peptomyc, IDP Pharma, Leukos Biotech and Iproteos). The company’s prize is mentoring and guidance from Johnson & Johnson.

However, they aren’t the only Catalan start-up to be recognized in pitching competitions at BIO-Europe Spring. Transplant Biomedicals, Mowoot and Braingaze won first, second and third, respectively, in the HealthTech Start-up Competition, held on 22 March. Transplant Biomedicals, presented by CEO Ignasi Heras, won €5,000, 4 hours of mentoring from Alta Life Sciences and 10 hours of legal advice form RCD.


Innovative solutions in oncology, organ preservation, chronic constipation and cognitive disorders

Peptomyc is working to develop a new oncology treatment based on inhibiting the Myc protein, which is the most aggressive oncogene in cancer. In her presentation at the Start-up Slam, Laura Soucek explained that the company is looking to raise €10 millions to complete preclinical development and begin phase I/II clinical trials. They have already raised €1 million in private investment and €2 millions in public grants.

Transplant Biomedicals, which has just raised €2.5 millions in a round of funding led by Caixa Capital Risc and Kereon Partners, is developing a new device to improve the quality and viability of transplant organs during transport, specifically kidneys and livers.

Mowoot, the first start-up created out of the d·HEALTH Barcelona master, Biocat’s main program to accelerate entrepreneurship in healthcare, is marketing a non-invasive non-farmacologic medical device to combat chronic constipation. The belt-like device imitates colon massage to alleviate this condition, mainly in patients that have suffered a stroke, spinal injuries, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson, among others.

Braingaze was founded in 2013 and has developed a platform to diagnose, monitor and treat common cognitive disorders like ADHD, dyslexia, autism and Alzheimer using neurobiological markers and artificial intelligence.


Two competitions raise visibility of 24 start-ups

The entrepreneurial sector was represented at BIO-Europe Spring in two pitching competitions with a total of 24 participating start-ups, 14 of which were Catalan. The companies that participated in Start-up Slam Barcelona were Vaxxit, IDP Discovery Pharma, Junction Therapeutics, TILT Biotherapeutics, Oxford Endovascular, Oncostellae, Leukos Biotech, Oppilotech, Aligen Therapeutics, Epical Biosciences, MicroQuin, vitalityDNA, Peptomyc and Iproteos. They each gave a brief three-minute pitch to the panel of judges: Antonio Gomez, of Johnson & Johnson Innovation; Nerida Scott, of Johnson & Johnson Innovation; Joris de Maeyer, venture coach at Bioqube Ventures; Karen Wagner, partner at Ysios Capital; and Montserrat Vendrell, partner at Alta Life Sciences.

The 10 start-ups selected for the HealthTech Start-up Competition were Adan MI, Braingaze, Butler Scientifics, HealthApp, Made of Genes, MJN, Mowoot, Qrem, TBioMed and Transplant Biomedicals. They each gave a brief five-minute pitch to the panel of judges: Montserrat Vendrell, partner at Alta Life Sciences; Oscar Alegre, consultant at RCD; Jorge Juan Fernández, director of e-Health and Health 2.0 at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu and academic director of Moebio; and Frederic Llordachs, co-founder of Doctoralia.

Start-up Slam Barcelona was organized by the EBD Group with sponsorship from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and collaboration from Biocat, Innovation Forum and Plug&Play. The HealthTech Start-up Competition was organized by Biocat and sponsored by Alta Life Sciences and RCD.


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