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Mariona Serra
Mariona Serra

Co-founder and CEO of GoodGut

She has a degree in Veterinary studies, a master in Immunology and a PhD in pharmacology (including one year at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda). Mariona Serra began this new phase as an entrepreneur as a result of her post-doc at the Biomedical Research Institute of Girona. She complemented her training with a Program for Leadership Development at IESE and co-founded GoodGut in 2014, acting as CEO ever since. She is a member of the Social Council at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where she presides over the University-Enterprise committee.

Mariona Serra: "Through entrepreneurship I found a way to bridge the gap between science and society"

12.12.2016

Intestinal microbiota is a decisive factor in the intestine’s immune system. This is the know-how at the core of GoodGut, a spin-off of the University of Girona (UdG) and the Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI) founded by Mariona Serra, Xavier Aldeguer and Jesús García-Gil.

The company develops non-invasive support systems for diagnosing and treating digestive diseases. These include a new screening test for colorectal cancer that could replace the traditional diagnostic method: colonoscopy. This year the biotech firm has received public grants valued at more than €1.2 million.

 

Why did you want to be an entrepreneur?

In my family, your job isn’t just a way to get to the end of the month, it’s a pillar of personal fulfilment when doing what you like can improve the world around you. I began my career in research with passion and vision, but I was missing execution. A lot of the work I did got stuck on the level of scientific dissemination. I saw an abyss between science and society. Through entrepreneurship I found a way to bridge this gap and that is what drives me and motivates me all the time.  

 

What is the most important strategic decision you’ve made so far?

For me, the most strategic decision was choosing a funding model for the company. There are many factors, including the type of technology, that help define the best model in each case. We chose an investment model because it allows us to execute our project more quickly and with a good foundation.

This model often starts with a Family, Friends & Fools round, which means getting the people who matter to you most to participate in this risky project. The response in this case surpassed all expectations. Having the support and confidence of those you love helps you keep sight of the goals you’ve set. I want to thank them all here publicly!

 

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Go into business as a team and create your own virtuous circle.” One of the keys of the adventure of entrepreneurship is not going it alone, creating your own circle of references that guide you. And I also live by the words of Anna Maiques: “Vision, Execution and Passion”, which I think are 3 essential traits any entrepreneur must have.

 

And now what? What milestones do you want to achieve in the short term?

We’re at a very strategic point right now: we’ve finished the first study validating our marker for colorectal cancer with 500 individuals in 5 hospital centers. We’re analyzing the data, which will be crucial in defining the next phase of product validation and be decisive for launching to market in 2019.

 

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