Spinnovator: 40 Million EUR for Life-Science Start-Ups

(PresseBox) ( Munich, )
The venture capitalist Vesalius Biocapital and the technology transfer company Ascenion have together developed a new tool for the commercial exploitation of promising results from publicly funded research: the Spinnovator. The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Working in close cooperation, the partners will select particularly promising research projects and in each case initiate a start-up, to be professionally supported over a 5-year period.

'Adequate financing is an important prerequisite for innovation,' emphasizes Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the BMBF. 'Our commitment to the Spinnovator is therefore part of our strategy to exploit the potential of top-level research in Germany, thereby promoting advances in healthcare and creating new jobs.'

The Spinnovator will provide up to 40 million EUR over the coming 5 years for start-up financing. Around half of this will be provided by Vesalius Biocapital. The other half will be provided by the BMBF in the form of project-linked funding. In addition, further investors will be able to co-invest in the start-ups, thereby significantly increasing the financing volume per company.

The Spinnovator is currently the biggest project of its kind in Germany, and the only one in which venture capitalists play an active role from the outset. 'Trough their investment they carry part of the risk, while their experience ensures that projects are selected and developed in tune with the market,' says Dr Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion. 'The advantage for our start-ups is that they have a better chance of finding their place in the market after the period of support has ended.'

The projects will primarily originate from Ascenion's partner institutes. These comprise a total of 24 publicly funded research institutes in the Helmholtz and Leibniz associations, together with the Hanover Medical School. The selection will focus on innovative projects with good commercial prospects that are of significant value in healthcare or nutrition - for example, diagnostic or therapeutic products or medical devices.

'This is a fantastic opportunity for us to be involved from the very beginning in the development of innovative projects from top-level German research and to align them to the market,' commented Dr Christian Schneider, Partner at Vesalius Biocapital. 'The close cooperation between science, technology transfer and venture capital at this early project stage is new in Germany. I am confident that we can achieve a great deal together, and obtain a significant increase in value for all those involved.'

Both Ascenion and Vesalius Biocapital will receive shares in the newly founded companies. Proceeds made by Ascenion from the subsequent sale of its shares will flow back to the research institutes from which the start-ups originated. 'In this way, the institutes profit form the commercial exploitation and receive new funding for research,' says Dr Stein.

About Versalius Biocapital

Vesalius Biocapital Partners is a European venture capital firm that focuses on the creation and growth of pan-European early-stage life-science companies. The managed Vesalius Biocapital funds invest in areas with a high unmet medical need and a significant profit potential: new therapeutics and drug delivery technologies, innovative functional food, cutting-edge medical devices, and diagnostic tests and instruments with a high utility level. The expertise of the team ranges from extensive investment and exit experience to operational experience in general management, business development, product development, IP, and finance of start-ups and more mature life-science companies. Furthermore, individual team members have in-depth technical insights and competitive scouting experience in the life-science sector.
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