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The event, organized by Banc Sabadell BStartup, Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech, hosted 90 speed dates between researchers and mentors
Twenty biomedical research projects and nearly 30 business development experts and mentors participated in the fourth edition of Health & Bio Team Dating in Barcelona, the only business speed-dating event in the sector, promoted by Banc Sabadell BStartup, Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech. The event, which is now in its fourth edition, took place for the first time under the framework of the Healthio fair at Fira de Barcelona.
This edition of Health & Bio Team Dating hosted 90 speed dates, with scientists presenting their research to professionals with business experience interested in growing these projects as mentors, entrepreneurs or business developers.
Biocat CEO Jordi Naval highlights “Health & Bio Team Dating helps science and business profiles find each other and forge a bond of trust that will allow them to start up a company.” According to Biocat data, there are more than 1,000 companies in Catalonia working in the healthcare and life sciences arena. Between 2015 and 2017 alone, 144 new companies were created in the sector, which is one new healthcare company a week.
Naval also highlighted that the Catalan healthcare and life sciences sector is becoming a noteworthy destination for foreign investors: “Companies in the sector attracted more than €100 million in 2017 and there are more than 40 foreign investors that have committed to these companies. Here at Biocat we are working to make the BioRegion of Catalonia one of the preferred destinations for investment in the sector.”
According to Yolanda Pérez, director of Banc Sabadell BStartup, “Catalonia generates really good science, the only thing it needs now to attract more investment and become a top-notch global biotech hub is greater critical mass of projects to launch to market.” For his part, Angel Alonso, vice-president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech, noted that “innovation from research must continue to be a driving force to promote development of solutions that help improve health and consolidate Catalonia as an international hub, and the Health & Bio Team Dating initiative is key in making that happen.”
The event featured Marc Ramis and Manuel Serrano, co-founders of Senolytic Therapeutics, who shared their experience. “All scientists want their research to have an impact on society and the way to make that happen is to start up a company,” said Manuel Serrano, co-founder of the company and researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB). Marc Ramis, CEO of the company and serial entrepreneur in the biomedical sector, reminded the audience that the most important thing in founding a company is “to find people who share your values.”
Health & Bio Team Dating has consolidated its role as a catalyst for science-enterprise teams. At the past three editions, more than 250 participants held roughly 530 meetings.
These have led to success stories like Elem Biotech, a spin-off of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) that does virtual simulations of organs and tissue for drug research. Researcher Mariano Vázquez, co-founder of Elem Biotech, attended last year’s Health & Bio Team Dating event. There he had a meeting with Genesis Biomed and met Josep Lluís Falcó, who has joined Elem Biotech as a mentor and investor. Another success story is Leukos Biotech, as scientist Ruth Risueño met the company's current CEO, Enrique Llaudet, at Health&Bio.
In terms of challenges for the future, Jordi Naval highlights: "At upcoming editions, we hope to have an even greater impact and not just with the goal of starting up a company but also of creating teams with different profiles."