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Over all of the past editions, the forum has closed 20 operations and helped raise some €50 millions
The Healthcare Investment Forum is now in its sixteenth edition, co-organized by the Barcelona Medical Association, Esade BAN, Barcelona Activa and Biocat, with great turnout. Of the 47 projects that aspired to be selected, the committee chose 10 start-ups to present their ideas to businesspeople, investors and entrepreneurs: six of them were biotechnology projects, two work in medical care services and the other two are developing medical devices and equipment.
The event, which was held at the Barcelona Medical Association on the afternoon of 9 March, began with a brief presentation from the organizers, with Biocat head of Entrepreneurship and Business Growth Carlos Lurigados speaking about the real return of these forums. Over the 16 editions held so far, 20 operations have been closed and the Forum has helped raise approximately €50 millions.
The first project presented was AROMICS (looking to raise €250,000), a biotechnology firm developing new drugs for cancer and infectious diseases, including an anti-tumor drug for mesothelioma. The next to present was biotech company Iproteos (needs €200,000), which uses new IPRO technology to find therapeutic targets previously considered inaccessible, including schizophrenia, epilepsy and pediatric cancer.
Biocaoscontrol (€350,000) presented a biotechnology solution based on a device to selectively modify or destroy biological tissue remotely, which could resolve dosimetry issues in radiation therapy. Although the company expects to be funded through public grants, it is looking for an initial injection of private capital. Another project was MetaboStem (€800,000), a spin-off of ICO Girona and IDIBGI that makes new compounds to treat cancer targeting the metabolic characteristics of stem cells. The director highlighted their candidate that has already shown positive results in vivo.
Cebiotex (€1,000,000), also a spin-off –in this case of Hospital Sant Joan de Déu and the UPC– presented drugs developed with polymeric nanofibers for three main indications: sarcoma, colon cancer and glioblastoma. The company closed a first round of funding last March. The last biotechnology firm of the session was Ankar Pharma (looking to raise €2,000,000), which accelerates innovative drug candidates to help them start clinical trials, focusing on multiple sclerosis. The project is developing AP-1, a molecule that helps neurons affected by this disease start producing myelin again.
The forum also saw innovative projects working on devices and technical equipment. i2Walk (€583,000) presented their Eye to Walk device, which uses eye control to help boost mobility and communication (both essential functions) in patients with neurodegenerative disease like ALS or paraplegia. The company’s CEO highlighted that the market is consolidated and the time to market is very short, just 12 months.
A spin-off of Hospital Sant Joan de Deú, bcninnova, presented their eye-mobility measurement system Gazelab, which helps measure complex biomechanical diseases. After receiving all the necessary certifications and selling their first 40 devices, the company is seeking €400,000 to begin commercial expansion.
Finally, two healthcare services projects had their moment in front of the investors. iGlobalMed (€500,000) is a website that offers medical services, like setting up an appointment with a specialist, asking questions or scheduling surgery, a booming service in recent years. The Made of Genes platform, which requested €350,000, offers full, personal genomic analysis and support for healthcare professionals. This is the second time the project has been presented at a Healthcare Investment Forum, the first time raising €150,000.
Head of Esade BAN Fernando Zallo announced that there will be another investment forum focusing on health this year, but it will be held at Esade BAN.