BCN Health Booster accelerator is launched to step up life sciences and healthcare emerging companies
The Barcelona Science Park of the University of Barcelona and the Barcelona City Council are launching BCN Health Booster, an acceleration programme to boost start-ups with an innovative healthcare business project, with support from Barcelona Activa and business support from Biocat. The initiative is part of the Barcelona Science Plan, designed as a tangible model for collaboration and consensus between public centres, companies, universities and administrative bodies to promote innovation in health and the return to investment in research.
Under this accelerator programme, eleven recently created innovative business projects will have access to a laboratory at the strategic hub known as the Barcelona Science Park -an international benchmark in promoting innovation in life sciences- and will receive free training, mentoring and advice from a team of mentors and experts in strategic areas such as team management, sales and marketing, commercial law, financing and internationalisation.
The programme also provides networking activities that promote interaction with the more than 100 member entities of the Barcelona Science Park Community and Biocat’s national and international networks, and access to the Barcelona Science Park’s state-of-the-art scientific equipment and infrastructure; in order to benefit from an ecosystem that actively contributes to the growth of their business.
‘Leading companies in the Catalan health sector such as Stat-Diagnostica, Greenaltech, SomBiotech, Oryzon Genomics and Enantia, among many others, participated in past bioincubators in the Park. We hope that this new acceleration programme will drive new projects that will become benchmarks in a few years’, explains Maria Terrades, director of the Barcelona Science Park.
The president of Barcelona Activa and deputy mayor for Economy, Employment, Competitiveness and Finance at Barcelona City Council, Jaume Collboni, said: ‘We view this collaboration project with various key scientific organisations as an opportunity to retain talent in this sector in the city. We are delighted with the expansion of laboratories that will enable more entrepreneurial projects and projects of necessity to be designed and developed in Barcelona. Science and health are priorities in life and we want to be at the forefront of such valuable current and future projects. Collboni noted that ‘life sciences represent 7.3% of our GDP and currently employ around 230,000 people. The growth model for life and health sciences is based on excellence, education, innovation and entrepreneurship. This is why the City Council’s roadmap, Barcelona Green Deal, is committed to supporting all these areas, allowing entrepreneurial, scientific and university talent to develop their full potential in the city’.
According to the deputy mayor for Culture, Education, Science and Community of Barcelona City Council, Joan Subirats, ‘this project fulfils an important objective of the Barcelona Science Plan, which is to stimulate the transfer of knowledge and technology from the world of research to economic activity. City Council connects science with culture and education through activities such as the City and Science Biennial or STEAM projects in schools, but we also have to make science the engine of a new economic model that is more resilient and sustainable, and that generates more well-being for citizens’.
Núria Martí, director of Innovation at Biocat, acknowledged that ‘this initiative will equip start-ups with tools, knowledge, personalised support and access to international investors to boost their business development and accelerate their arrival on the market. These are all strategic activities within Biocat’s mission to maximise the BioRegion’s economic and social impact.
The programme’s strategic pillars
The BCN Health Booster accelerator is open to companies younger than five (5) years old that develop pharmaceutical, biotechnological or medical device products, as well as service companies geared toward the health sector that require the use of a laboratory to pursue their business activities.
A committee of experts will evaluate the applications using the following criteria: technical and economic viability, promoter team and social impact of the entrepreneurial project, prioritising spin-offs from public research centres, hospitals and universities.
The programme is structured around two pillars in an effort to accelerate entrepreneurial projects:
-Subsidised access to laboratory space at the Barcelona Science Park
The Park is making 527 m2 available for the programme in the Cluster II building, where the eleven selected companies will have access to a laboratory for exclusive use or for co-working, from 1 December 2021. Rents and general services will be subsidised by the Park for three years. The subsidy will be 65% in the first year, 40% in the second year and 20% in the third year.
-Free access to a business support programme
The companies will have access to a Biocat business support programme during the three ears, fully adapted to the needs or challenges faced by each company during this period, which will include mentoring and personalised consultancy; training (customer discovery, intellectual property, market access and regulatory affairs, etc.), and advice on access to funding, such as the preparation of pitch training, the one-pager and brochure, and participation in the Health & Bio Team Dating and Investment Readiness Series (TIROS) programmes, organised by Biocat.
The accelerator in figures
The subsidy for the project from the Barcelona City Council is €468,936, of which €343,240 will go to partially subsidise laboratory rentals and €125,696 will be used to finance Biocat’s business support programme.
The Barcelona Science Park will allocate €685,334 to adapt the new laboratories in the Cluster II building.
» The deadline for applications is 17 September 2021.
» For more information and registration: https://www.pcb.ub.edu/bcn-health-booster/