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A total of 80 scientists and managers held more than 200 meetings on 3 December at Health & Bio Team Dating, a groundbreaking event to bring science and business together in order to create new entrepreneurial projects, organized by the Banc Sabadell BStartup program, with Biocat, CataloniaBio and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation.

This event, the first of its kind in Catalonia, featured researchers with scientific projects related to the health and life sciences that need professional who are experts in business plans and the search for funding, and professionals with business experience and the drive to bring new technology from laboratory to market. Following the speed-dating format, participants had 30 minutes in each meeting to present their project and experience to their potential partner.

“An entrepreneur can’t do everything on their own, they must carefully select their companions on this path,” highlighted Marc Martinell, CEO of Minoryx, which just closed the largest round of funding in the biotech sector in Catalonia (€19.4 millions). Martinell remembered how he found his partner, Xavier Barril, at the Bioemprenedor XXI awards. “I had the technology and needed someone to take it to market,” explained Barril. “The round of funding we just closed will allow us to work on what we’ve always believed in: we aspire to cure patients,” the founders of Minoryx stressed in their speech to inspire scientists and managers who, like them, aspire to find a partner to set up a successful company with.

One of the scientific projects that participated in the event was DNA Nutricoach, which aims to unite nutritional genomics, food and coaching. “For researchers like me, events like Health & Bio Team Dating allow us to explore unknown synergies between the academic sector and the business arena,” said Valentini Konstantinidou, PhD in biomedicine and founder of the project.

“A business idea may be exceptional, but you always need someone on the business and financial side of things to keep your feet on the ground,” explained Maria Isabel Castellanos, product-design engineer and former d·Health Barcelona fellow, who is preparing to launch an innovative medical technology project for breastfeeding that came out of her clinical immersion at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu during the d·Health Barcelona program.

One of the participants in Health & Bio Team Dating looking to contribute that business side is Marc Ramis, entrepreneur and CEO of Tech & Business Innovation (TBI). “I’ve come to discover first hand scientific projects that could potentially have an impact on the market in order to contribute my expertise and set up teams that will make it possible to take them through to market.”

Bridging the gap between science and business

According to the 2013 Biocat Report, in Catalonia there are 56 research centers in the life sciences, which have more than 900 research groups and 360 research projects. The 2014 Biocat Directory shows the BioRegion of Catalonia has 560 companies (biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical technology and specialized suppliers) that generate annual turnover above €11.5 billions, making up 6% of the Catalan GDP.

“Initiatives like Health & Bio Team Dating facilitate the technology transfer the health ecosystem in Catalonia needs to be more innovative and competitive,” highlighted Biocat Director of Business Development Jordi Fàbrega.

“Catalonia has a level of scientific excellence that doesn’t match the industrial innovation rates. There’s a gap between research and business,” said Yolanda Pérez, director of the Banc Sabadell BStartup program.

Melqui Calzado, secretary general of CataloniaBio, highlighted that 2015 “has already seen successes that indicate the sector is maturing and the experience we can generate through Health & Bio Team Dating is important because it could lead to similar initiatives.”

CEO of the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation Jordi Naval said that “both here and abroad, successful companies in this sector follow the same pattern: a partnership of a scientist and a manager. The success of Health & Bio Team Dating confirms that Catalonia has good projects, good entrepreneurs and the desire to connect them.”

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