BioUpper: the 10 finalist projects have been selected

  • Out of the 151 candidate projects, 17 teams were selected which, last December, participated in a training week aimed at translating ideas into a business model
  • On January 10, the 17 teams competed in front of the jury: 10 are the finalists participating in the acceleration phase
  • During the final of April 12, the jury will select the three best projects, each of which will win a € 50,000 voucher to be invested in the launch of the startup

Milan, January 11, 2017 – The 10 business ideas which will enter the second phase of BioUpper – the initiative sponsored by Novartis and Fondazione Cariplo in support of young talents who wish to create a startup in the field of life sciences – have been selected.


In its second year, BioUpper is organized in collaboration withPoliHub, the startup district & incubator of the Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, and with the scientific validation of Humanitas, hospital group and cutting-edge, internationally renowned research facility.


The program has collected 30% more applications (151) than in 2015; a subsequent phase saw the identification of 17 teams, which participated in the training week, a path of education and debate with industry professionals, tutors and business angels. Yesterday in Milan the elevator pitch was held, a competition during which the 17 teams from all over Italy submitted their projects to the jury.


The 10 ideas selected at this stage are thus shared among two of the application scopes provided for by the competition notice: medical science-oriented biotechnologies – BTeam, KymePostbiotica – and medical devices – Golgi, Holey, Newrosparks, Pd-Watch, Probiomedica, Watch-me, Wound Viewer .


70% of the teams are characterized by a female presence, and the average age of the candidate startuppers is 30/35. One of the ten teams, Watch-Me, was able to access BioUpper thanks to the wild card that the program offered to Hacking Health, an international movement that promotes (also in Italy) innovation, motivating the co-creation between clinical research and academia.


” Already in its second year, BioUpper is proving to be a solid reality for the young Italian startuppers; this initiative, in fact, is highlighting a credible path supporting innovation in the health sector” – stated Georg Schroeckenfuchs, CEO and Country President, Novartis Italia“The credit goes to a formula which enhances the content and quality of the ideas proposed, without losing contact with their real potential in terms of business. This formula has been acknowledged also by the market, which rewarded several projects from the first edition. We wish the same success to the 10 new ideas that are now reaching the decisive phase of BioUpper 2017”.


” We are proud to be hosting in Cariplo Factory the second edition of BioUpper, a project that is proving increasingly competitive  – added Carlo Mango, Director of the Scientific Research Area of the Cariplo Foundation “The new hub of our Foundation aims to become the reference point for the creation of open innovation projects and for the promotion of young talents. With BioUpper we showed that profit-nonprofit cooperation has an enormous potential, so much so that – after only one year of life – this project has become a model for other companies wishing to support young entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative startups”.


The pitch session saw the 17 teams explain their projects in two phases: 6 initial minutes for the presentation of the team and the research work carried out, and 6 more minutes of debate with the jury, which was composed of representatives of the business, scientific and institutional sectors, active in the development of new businesses and experts in the areas of support to entrepreneurship.


The two representatives of the Institutions – Mattia Corbetta, from the General Directorate for Industrial Policy, Competitiveness and SMEs of the Ministry of Economic Development, and Nando Minella, Chief Technical Advisor of the Minister of Health – emphasized their support to research and their appreciation of BioUpper.


” In recent years we are seeing an actual revolution in the world of life sciences, that is becoming increasingly digital “, – commented Minella – ” and the candidate startuppers who participate in this program are the main actors of this change. In this context, BioUpper plays an important role as facilitator and accelerator of the industrialization processes of projects that affect the health of patients, often improving their living conditions if not, indeed, curing them from diseases so far incurable “.


” BioUpper pursues purposes which are consistent with the objectives that the Ministry of Economic Development set in recent years, starting from the approval of the national policy on innovative startups “, said Corbetta. ” Innovation, talent and human capital are the paradigms that we want to promote, through measures such as the tax credit for research and development, the Patent Box and the hyper-amortization on the investment in innovation, all of which also characterized the recent Budget Law. In this context, BioUpper is an initiative of great value, because it clearly exemplifies our focus “.


The elevator pitch was held in Cariplo Factory, an innovative reality created in Milan – thanks to the efforts of Fondazione Cariplo – to promote the exchange among startuppers and in which participants will be able to find an additional support for improving international strategies and the capital they need to grow, through the ecosystem built with technological partners, Venture Capital funds and large corporations.


The 10 selected proposals will access the ten-week Acceleration Program (from January 26 to April 20): a custom-built pathway, aimed at setting and make effective the “go-to-market” phase, i.e. the market entry of the project. The program will be calibrated on each business idea, based on the life cycle of the product or service offered. Each project will be followed by a multidisciplinary team composed of business angels, vertical industry professionals and senior advisors, together with the advisory for the structuring of effective business plans, care of PwC.


Once completed this last stage, each team will be called to present the results obtained in the pitch session on next May 8. Each of the top three will receive a contribution of € 50,000, which will allow them to make use, in a custom and flexible way, of further specialized advice and services and activities for the development of their business plan, in order to facilitate and make effective the market access path.


The 10 ideas selected, which will access the Acceleration Program


BTeam (Lazio) offers bromothymol, a new, powerful antibacterial, developed through a low-cost and environmentally sustainable production process, which has proven to be an effective active ingredient both for personal hygiene and for the disinfection of all surfaces.


Golgi (Emilia Romagna) is the first 3D printer that enables research centers to print three-dimensional biological tissues, to be used in pharmacological and biomedical research and in cosmetics, allowing to customize the in vitro testing phase, and therefore dramatically lower its costs.


Holey (Lazio) is the first platform that allows healthcare organizations to 3D print orthopedic braces, ensuring a significant reduction in costs compared to the commercial braces, and reducing complications with regard to traditional plaster casts. Patients thus can use customizable devices, which are also anti-allergic and water resistant.


Kyme (Campania) applies nanotechnology to medical diagnostics in order to improve the contrast media currently used clinically, allowing an early and more accurate identification of the diseases. Thanks to the increased efficacy of the formulation, it is possible to increase the MRI images contrast, reducing the amount of injectable product and, consequently, its toxicity.


Newrosparks (Emilia Romagna) is the first system that helps quit smoking by means of a wearable device that increases the ability to control nicotine addiction.


PD-Watch (Basilicata) provides a continuous and non-invasive monitoring of the tremor caused by Parkinson’s disease, allowing the specialist to support the early diagnosis and to better control – remotely – the evolution of the disease.


Postbiotica (Lombardia) develops novel therapies based on bacteria derivatives – obtained through an innovative method of fermentation – to prevent and organically treat a wide spectrum of inflammatory conditions: from allergic reactions to chronic bowel and urogenital tract diseases.


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


Watch-me (Lombardia) is a device for the care of children with cognitive retardation: it allows to support the rehabilitative intervention at home, actively involving parents.


Wound Viewer (Piemonte) is the first 3D system for the monitoring and automatic evaluation of skin ulcers, affecting 2% of the world population. An artificial intelligence algorithm independently processes the data from the device and returns the objective parameters necessary to support the specialists in their appropriate therapeutic choice. The use of Wound Viewer therefore significantly reduces the recovery time and, consequently, the hospitalization time and costs.


For further information:

Rossana Bruno – Novartis Farma
Tel. 347 8703671


Emanuela Murari – PoliHub
Tel. 339 2801017


Bianca Longoni – Fondazione Cariplo
Tel. 02 6239405


Federica Gramegna – Comin & Partners
Tel. 338 2229807