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More than 100 scientists and executives have participated in Health & Bio Team Dating, a speed-dating event for scientists and science managers to promote new projects in the healthcare and life sciences arena
The second Health & Bio Team Dating event was held today in Barcelona, organized by Banc Sabadell BStartup, Biocat and the CataloniaBio association of companies, with collaboration from 27 institutions from the university and research arena in Catalonia. This is a groundbreaking event in the healthcare and life sciences sector that brings more than 100 scientists and executives together in quick-fire 30-minute meetings to kick off business projects. Over the four hours of the event, more than 200 meetings were held.
This year's event followed the same format as the successful first edition held in December 2015. That time, 82% of participants made contacts and began collaborating through this initiative and 67% are still working on those projects. Six teams have signed contracts or agreements and all of the participants said they would repeat the experience.
Director of BStartup Yolanda Pérez highlighted that “Health & Bio Team Dating aims to act as a catalyst for connections between science and business to help bring research to market.” Biocat Director of Business Development Jordi Fàbrega similarly stressed that “Catalonia does world renowned science and has a growing entrepreneurial sector. What we have to do is bring them together to launch new projects for the common good.”
Health & Bio Team Dating is an initiative that is consolidating its place in the sector and this year more than half of all Catalan universities and numerous research centers participated.
One success story to come out of Health & Bio Team Dating is that of Dr. Ruth M. Risueño, founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Leukos Biotech (spin-off of the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute), and Dr. Enrique Llaudet, who joined the company as CEO after their meeting at last year’s event. The company is now completing preclinical development on a new class of drugs to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and has raised €3.5 millions in funding. “Researchers are scientists and we need the help and guidance of trained business professionals. Health & Bio Team Dating allowed me to find a CEO for my project,” says Risueño. “For me, the ‘date’ led to an exciting, rewarding job,” says Llaudet.
Another team to come out of the previous edition is that of Dr. Valentini Konstantinidou and Chenghan Yang who, as a result of their meeting at Health & Bio Team Dating, signed an agreement through which IESE MBA students can collaborate with Konstantinidou’s start-up: DNANutricoach. “Thanks to the event, I signed a collaboration agreement with IESE to have their MBA students do summer internships in my company, giving me a more business-oriented view that has helped me learn a lot and grow the company”, explains the scientist.
Assistant to the president of CataloniaBio Isabel Amat pointed out that “Creating these science/business tandems is key to establishing synergies, developing successful companies and attracting investors.”
This year, companies in the sector in Catalonia have raised €90 millions in investment, nearly as much as the previous two years combined, according to Biocat data. This growth can also be seen in the company start-up rates. In 2010, an average of 35 companies were created and now this figure is up to 45 per year.