BioUpper: Minister Lorenzin rewarded the winners of the second edition. From Novartis and the Cariplo Foundation, three € 50,000 vauchers

The final of BioUpper – the initiative promoted by Novartis and the Cariplo Foundation in support to young startuppers in the Life Sciences area – was held at the Ministry of Health

The winning teams: Kyme, Postbiotica and Probiomedica

Three € 50,000 vouchers issued, to help the teams with the market development of their projects

Rome, May 8, 2017 – Today, at the Ministry of Health, Minister Beatrice Lorenzin has rewarded Kyme, Postbiotica and Probiomedica, the three winning teams of the second edition of BioUpper, the initiative promoted by Novartis and the Cariplo Foundation in support of young talents who want to create a start-up in the Life Sciences sector, in collaboration with PoliHub – the incubator of the Politecnico Foundation of Milan – and with the scientific validation of Humanitas, hospital group and advanced research facility.

Each of the winning teams received a voucher of € 50,000, from Novartis and the Cariplo Foundation, to be invested in the market development of their project. The three teams had been selected by a jury made up of business, research and finance specialists and representative of the Institutions, active in the development of new companies and expert in the support to entrepreneurship.

The three business ideas that conquered the jurors fall into the following biomedical fields: nanotechnologies applied to medical diagnostics (Kyme) and alternative therapeutic treatments (Postbiotica and Probiomedica).

Kyme applies nanotechnologies to medical diagnostics, in order to improve the contrast media clinically used today, enabling an early and accurate identification of the diseases. Due to the greater effectiveness of the formulation, it is possible to increase the Magnetic Resonance Imaging contrast, reduce the amount of product to be injected and, consequently, its toxicity.
Postbiotica develops new bacteria-derived therapies – obtained through an innovative fermentation method – aimed at preventing and curing in a natural way a wide spectrum of inflammation: from allergic reactions to chronic bowel and urogenital diseases.

Probiomedica offers an innovative phototherapy for the treatment of the Helicobacter pylori infection, designed for antibiotic-resistant patients, who account for about 25% of the total. The device is an ingestible capsule that, once reached the gastric tract, eradicates the bacterium by emitting light, thus avoiding the side effects of the current antibiotic therapy.

In today’s pitch, participants demonstrated the progress attained during the acceleration phase, a twelve-week pathway tailor-made for each business idea, during which the teams consolidated the development strategy of their project and expanded their own network, relying on a team made of: tutors, business angels, venture capitalists, consultants, academics, incubators.

“I am very pleased to reward the winners of the second edition; the fact that this initiative is continuing to grow testifies to its robustness and validity, thanks to the collaboration between Institutions, research organizations, researchers, healthcare facilities, companies and investors”, stated the Minister of Health, Beatrice Lorenzin. “The program highlights our ability to do research and create innovation, especially in the biomedical field, where our researchers stand out for their very high level of education. I hope that all this will have a positive consequence in terms of patents and entrepreneurial growth in the Country: technology transfer is one of the aspects that the Ministry of Health is very much focusing on”.

“The hospitality offered to the final of BioUpper 2017 by the Ministry of Health testifies to the importance of an active collaboration between public and private subjects in drawing the future of biosciences in Italy”, affirmed Georg Schroeckenfuchs, CEO and Country President, Novartis Italia. “The positive experience of BioUpper indicates a credible entrepreneurial path for the best business ideas expressed by Life Sciences in the Country. Ideas that integrate the most advanced technologies available, creating solutions that improve the health offer to patients, while contributing at the same time to maintaining the sustainability of the system. I think one of the most significant qualities of BioUpper is precisely the ability to promote a “sustainable innovation” within the Italian healthcare landscape”.

“BioUpper is synonymous with quality in the start-up world, and so far it allowed many young people to fulfil their dream and scientific research to perfect new ideas for the benefit of the biomedical industry”, said Giuseppe Guzzetti, President of Cariplo Foundation. “This year, the second edition of BioUpper, held in Cariplo Factory, the Foundation’s hub dedicated to open innovation projects, allowed us to go even more into the heart of the competition. The quality and originality of the business ideas has grown a lot from one edition to the other, and this is crucial, because research always needs to be supported by innovation, so that scientific discoveries can be transformed into products and services useful to the community”.

The ten teams which today competed in the pitch session – BTeam, Golgi, Holey, Kyme, Newrosparks, PD-Watch, Postbiotica, Probiomedica, WATCh-ME and Wound Viewer – had 12 minutes each to convince the jury of the validity of their project: 6 minutes for the presentation of the research work made and 6 minutes for the debate, pressed by the questions of the jurors. One of the teams, WATCh-ME, could access BioUpper thanks to the wild card that the program offered to Hacking Health, an international movement that – also in Italy – promotes innovation, stimulating the co-creation between the research and clinical world and the academic one.

This year, the initiative – which for the final stage was granted the patronage of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economic Development – received 151 applications, 30% more than 2015, confirming the validity of its innovative formula. The second edition of BioUpper also benefited from the contribution of Cariplo Factory, which, in a logic of open innovation, sets itself as a reference for the finalist start-ups in the go-to-market and scale phases.

BioUpper was launched in 2015 and was an opportunity for all participants. 60% of the first edition teams have formed a company, while 40% are continuing the development phase of their project. In addition, 70% of the teams have already entered into business partnerships and 50% of them have already signed contracts with their first customers. Finally, 80% of the projects have gathered investments for more than € 2 million, in particular from private investors and venture capitalists.