by Gemma Escarré,
CataloniaBio & HealthTech has given the Biosuccess Award to the Ysios Capital fund for the milestones achieved in 2018 in the healthcare and biomedicine arena in Catalonia, and an honorary award to Antonio Parente recognising his career in business. The awards ceremony was held yesterday at the CataloniaBio & HealthTech Gala Dinner at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona and attended by Catalan Minister of Health Alba Vergés and more than 200 entrepreneurs, executives and investors in the sector.
The panel of judges valued Ysios' investment in the main operations in the sector in 2018 (STAT-Dx and Minoryx Therapeutics), as well as its more than decade-long commitment to early-stage companies with investments ranging from €1 million to €7 million. Since 2018, Ysios has closed two funds with a total of €191 million (Ysios BioFund I and Ysios BioFund II Innvierte) and is currently working on its third fund. Ysios has also been key in bringing Bio€quity, the main European investment congress in biomedicine, to Barcelona for the first time this May.
Joël Jean-Mairet, co-founder and managing partner of Ysios, accepted the award from Minister Alba Vergés. "We truly appreciate this recognition of our work as catalysts to dynamise and boost the sector. When we first started in 2008, there weren't any specialised investors, hardly any companies were being created and, despite the scientific potential, getting funding for the few that were started was a real challenge," explained Joël Jean-Mairet. Ten years later, "We have success stories and international recognition. We're proud to have contributed to the growth of this key sector for society and will continue supporting it in order to make the most of its potential," he added.
Additionally, CataloniaBioHT recognised Antonio Parente for his business career. In 1987, Parente co-founded the Lipotec group, which was sold years later in one of the first big operations in the then young Catalan biotech sector. In 2006, with a group of other entrepreneurs, he created CataloniaBio (now CataloniaBio & HealthTech). He is currently on the board of directors at several companies, including GP Pharm, BCN Peptides and Specipig, and is promoting new projects like Sepsia Therapeutics, which is developing new cell and biological therapies for sepsis.
"Transforming science into wealth is what we have been doing all these years at BCN Peptides, GP Pharm and now Sepsia Therapeutics," explained Parente. "The future isn't just here; it's a global ecosystem" he noted.
Previous editions of the award have gone to Oryzon (2015), Minoryx Therapeutics and Palobiofarma (2016), STAT-Dx and Mosaic Biomedicals (2017), Anaconda Biomed and Mind the Byte (2018).
Jaume Amat: "We must consolidate Catalonia as an international hub in healthcare and biomedicine, and CataloniaBioHT must lead the business fabric"
At the Gala Dinner, President of CataloniaBioHT Jaume Amat spoke to the members, stressing: "We have a privileged 360º view of the sector because, as an association, we bring together the whole valorisation cycle: knowledge generators (universities, research centres and hospitals); start-ups, SMEs and large corporations developing products; the whole network of companies offering science and non-science services; and the users.
"We have to harness this to advance development of innovative, transformative solutions to consolidate Catalonia as an international hub for research, healthcare and business," continued Amat. In this regard, there are key players like Biocat and ACCIÓ "and here at CataloniaBioHT our job is to lead business positioning."
Catalan Minister of Health Alba Vergés: "We are firmly committed to investment in research and innovation"
At the closing, Catalan Minister of Health Alba Vergés explained that the Government favours a productive model in which the industrial fabric is an essential part of generating wealth. As such, "We are firmly committed to investment in research and innovation, with actions like PERIS and innovative public procurement." The 2019 PERIS call is endowed with €38 million (€9 million more than in 2017-2018).