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VCN Biosciences, a spin-off of the Catalan Institute of Oncology’s Virotherapy Group (ICO), won the third annual BioEmprenedorXXI Award, which recognizes the best plan to set up an innovative company in the life sciences sector. The ceremony took place yesterday afternoon at the Biocat Forum, which brought together more than 700 representatives from the biotechnology, biomedicine and medical technology sector in Catalonia.

This program, driven by "la Caixa", Barcelona Activa, Biocat, Genoma España and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, aims to help participants set up their company by offering training activities and analyzing the feasibility of their business ideas.

VCN Biosciences, promoted by Dr. Manel Cascalló, Dr. Ramon Alemany and Dr. Gabriel Capellà, develops new high-strength biotech cancer drugs using a technology platform based on oncolytic adenovirus. These oncolytic adenovirus act through selective multiplication in tumor cells, which destroys them.

The award consists of a cash prize of 20,000 euros and a series of actions aimed at accelerating the project’s growth, including a top-notch business strategy course at the University of Cambridge, participation in a benchmark international fair in the sector, participation in a technology and innovation bridge, and a six-month stay in the Barcelona Activa business incubator.

ImmunNovative Developments and iMicroQ, runners-up

The BioEmprenedorXXI Award also recognized ImmunNovative Developments (first runner-up) and iMicroQ (second runner-up) with 10,000 and 5,000 euros respectively, in addition to training activities and participation in benchmark congresses in the sector.

Biotechnology-based university spin-off ImmunNovative Developments specializes in developing products to prevent, diagnose and treat sepsis and other immune-based inflammatory diseases. This spin-off is driven by the immunology department at Barcelona’s Hospital Clínic and, specifically, by Francisco Lozano, Teresa Lloret and Enric Panadès.

The second runner-up was iMicroQ, a company that produces and markets kits to detect pathogens and toxins in the agrifood sector. This company, driven by the Rovira i Virgili University Center for Innovation in Biotechnology and promoted by Carlos Arias, Viviana Duarte, Diego Bejarano, Pablo Lozano and Ioanis Katakis, commercializes technology to produce integrated serigraphed microsystems.
Eleven projects participated in the BioEmprenedorXXI Award this year, all of which were from universities and organizations around Catalonia and focused on a variety of different subsectors.

BioEmprenedorXXI Program

BioEmprenedorXXI is a program to support the start-up of new companies in the life sciences area, which is based on training, guidance and business feasibility activities. 

Participants carry out a number of activities aimed at getting a first-hand look at the sector, including visits to science parks, roundtables with professionals from the sector, technology advisory services, courses to develop executive skills and mentoring sessions, among others.

This program is aimed at university graduates, professors, doctoral students and entrepreneurs with a business idea or company in the early stages that want to explore their entrepreneurial abilities in order to create and start up their own company, either as a spin-off of their institution or independently.

Since the first edition held in 2008, the BioEmprenedorXXI program has grown with regards to the number of projects presented, the quality of the projects presented, the implication of the promoting bodies and the participation of its advisory board, which is made up of representatives from business, institutions and academia in the Catalan biotechnology sector.

About the Biocat Forum2010:


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