Two biologists and a biotechnologist with extensive national and international experience in reproduction and genetics, and an entrepreneur and active business angel decided a year ago to found HoMu Health Ventures, an incubator, and venture builder, to support startups in the biotech sector focused on reproductive health.
“We detected a lack of investment support, not only in startups but also in the development of researchers’ ideas. We decided that we would accompany companies and entrepreneurs in early stages and even from scratch,” explained Santi Munné, PhD in Human Biology, and one of the founders of the project.
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One of the company’s objectives is to become a benchmark in Europe as a startup incubator specializing in reproductive medicine
It is on its way to achieving this goal after signing an agreement with the Swiss biopharmaceutical multinational Ferrin Pharmaceuticals at the end of May.
It is one of only three European companies dedicated to the production of fertilization hormones. This alliance already positions HoMu as a reference in its field in southern Europe.
The multinational, with headquarters in Barcelona and a laboratory in Seville, entered the market with the help of doctors Santi Munné, José Horcajadas and David Cotán, together with the businessman Delfí Torns, supported by indispensable professionals for these companies, such as lawyers and patent experts.
They chose a peak moment for the biotech sector, which managed to attract investments worth 226 million euros last year, according to figures from Biocat and CataloniaBio & HealthTech, innovation dynamizing centers in this field in Catalonia.
HoMu has taken on a role that it considers essential to boost innovation in this sector. On the one hand, it supports start-up companies in their beginnings and, on the other, it turns good ideas into business. “There is a lot of talent in our universities, but it is very difficult for innovation to move from the laboratory to industry.”
“We have set out to support researchers who want to develop their projects and who, for regulatory reasons, have to leave the university environment, something that would be unthinkable in the United States, for example,” says Munné.
Initial impetus and funding
HoMu helps to create a viable project from an idea, takes charge of completing the technical and business profiles required by any company and accompanies it in the search for financing, “while, as a venture builder, we also invest in all of them,” he points out.
Focused on the biotechnology sector, and with an activity preferably dedicated to reproductive medicine, HoMu “also looks for projects related to genomics, medical devices or those focused on Artificial Intelligence, diagnostics, new drugs, innovative products or telemedicine”.
It has its own capital to financially support emerging companies in their pre-seed and seed phase. In this sense, the incubator carried out a capital increase last March for one million euros, which will be used for its expansion, with the participation of business angels and executives from the national and international healthcare sector.
In its first year of activity, nine projects have emerged from HoMu, four of them focused on reproductive health, such as Genotica, the first markedplace on the market that helps doctors to compare and choose the best genetic test for their patients.
There are also five other projects aimed at areas such as oncology or genomics. To support the search for funding and investment of these startups, HoMu has recently closed an agreement with Capital Cell, the first crowdfunding platform in Europe specialized in biomedicine.
Munné announces that at the end of the year, the company will carry out a second and larger round of investment aimed at recognized investors, “who bring volume and stability to the project, to continue supporting the startups that have emerged from HoMu and to capture new business ideas”.
For the time being, he says, more than 50% of the shares are still in the hands of the founding partners.
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First published in El ESPANOL, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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