Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BiovelocITA: Sofinnova Partners launches the Biotech Accelerator Made in Italy

Identify the most innovative projects in the field of biotech and turn them into real companies. This is the objective of BiovelocITA, the first accelerator dedicated to biotech companies Made in Italy launched by Sofinnova Partners, a European venture capital firm specialized in Life Sciences.  The idea is to bring together scientists, entrepreneurs and investors to promote the emergence and development of new innovative biotech companies. Even so, by deeply examining the startups' world, the biotech sector is very late. At least in terms of numbers. And an accelerator with a solid foundation can only do well.

Co-founded by Silvano Spinelli (Chairman) and Gabriella Camboni (CEO), the goal of  BiovelocITA is that to accelerate the feasibility study (proof of concept) of the most promising research projects and turn them into biotech companies. Silvano Spinelli founded in 2006 EOS, Ethical oncology science, a pharmaceutical company that it sold in 2013 - one of the richest Italian exits of recent years - to the US company Clovis Oncology for €357.4M. At the center of the business there was lucitanib, an anti-cancer molecule which inhibits the kinase, one of the key enzymes for the replication of cells. It is producing excellent results in human clinical trials against breast cancer and in 2018 it could become an approved and marketed drug. In 2014 it won the Wired Innovation Award as most innovative startup.

Now, along with Gabriella Camboni, also in Eos and even before, always with Spinelli, in Novuspharma, which in 2004 merged with Seattle, US-based, Cell Therapeutics with the subsequent listing on the Milan Stock Exchange, he wants to broaden the scope of the Italian biotech. Indeed, setting up a hub that allows "to bridge the gap that exists, in Italy, between good science and little application" . That's why they are launching an accelerator - not an incubator - to bring together scientists, entrepreneurs and investors (for now, private side, it's rich industrial) to promote the emergence and development of new innovative biotech companies.

The accelerator has already signed the first strategic partnership with TTFactortechnology transfer company that manages the intellectual property portfolio of three of the most important Italian research institutes: the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), the FIRC Institute for Molecular Oncology (IFOM) and the Monzino Cardiology Center. These last two are IRCCS, which stands for "Istituto Di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico" (Italian Research Hospital),  i.e. Institutes of hospitalization and health care science.
And already more than ten biotech projects are currently being studied coming from both the agreement with TTFactor and from other sources.

Parallel to the academic partnerships, the accelerator has started a fundraising campaign that has already ensured a financial availability of €6M (payable over the next few years of operations) funds raised from Sofinnova Partners and partly by a small group of private investors, introduced by Banor SIM S.p.A.

"We are facing a unique opportunity - said Graziano Seghezzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners - the scientific level in the country is excellent and the number of biotech entrepreneurs is growing. BiovelocITA is able to exploit the moment, by integrating the three key players that characterize a solid biotech market: scientists of excellence, experienced managers and investors in the sector." The President of the accelerator, Silvano Spinelli, meanwhile, said that "Gabriella and I are pleased to return to work as a team with Sofinnova Partners. Together we have created and developed EOS and Novuspharma, two successful companies in the biotech sector. Thanks to BiovelocITA we will replicate the same experience, namely to transform a promising research project in a successful biotech company, but this time on a large scale. Ethical Oncology Science (EOS) is part of the history of Italian startups: one of the main successful exits of Italy.


BioVelocITA srl It is the first Italian accelerator dedicated to biotech companies. It was founded by Sofinnova Partners, venture capital market leader specializing in the biosciences that, in 40 years, has funded and supported nearly 500 companies. Thank to BiovelocITA entrepreneurs, scientists and investors can work together to accelerate biotech projects of international scope and reach the "proof of concept" that precedes the clinical phase. Born to provide innovative solutions to the medical community and patients, BiovelocITA will support the creation and development of innovative biotech companies in all therapeutic areas.

For more information:

Sofinnova Partners

Sofinnova Partners is a European venture capital firm, industry leader specializing in the biosciences. With Headquartered in Paris, the company brings together 12 highly skilled investment professionals from across Europe, the United States and China. The attention of Sofinnova Partners focuses on highly innovative technological business models and visionary entrepreneurs. The company's goal is to operate as a founding partner and principal investor in start-up and spin-off businesses. In over 40 years, Sofinnova Partners has promoted and funded nearly 500 companies creating global market leaders. Sofinnova Partners has a total volume of funds under management in excess of €1.3B.

For more information:

Banor SIM S.p.A, a Milan and Turin, Italy-based regulated investment company, is an Italian consultancy boutique specializing in asset management and financial advisory to high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and family offices. With offices in Milan, Turin and, thanks to its subsidiary Banor Capital Ltd, also in London, Luxembourg and Lugano, Banor SIM supports since long time successful business families and currently manages assets in excess of €4B
Banor SIM S.p.A has recently been advisor for the IPO of Tesmec on the MTA of the Italian Stock Exchange and Industrial Stars of Italy and Initiative Bresciane on AIM. Banor sim followed as advisor the acquisition of the majority stakes in Barovier& Toso by DVR Capital and the sale of the majority stake in KD Pharma to Capiton.
For more information: