Turning knowledge into social and economic value: the Biomedical Business

Description of the session

Thousands of researchers around the world are constantly generating new knowledge in biomedicine. However, most of the times the new knowledge does not translate into real benefit to patients in need. Knowledge generation is just a necessary condition, but turning that into small boxes that sell in a pharmacy or into smart devices that change our quality of life is an enormous challenge with very high constrains and barriers that go well beyond the pure scientific and mechanistic aspects of the academic research.

At the end of the chain there is always a patient in need, with its associated social and economic costs. Developing new solutions to biomedical problems is very risky and expensive, and it can take several years. On top of that biology is basically unpredictable: In essence, developing new biomedical solutions is a pay per view business, we need to pay in advance to see in a regulatory driven experiment  if our idea is right, no matter how good and solid is the science. Regulatory, Commercial and  Industrial issues are very strong barriers.

Cost-effectiveness is key, and we need to anticipate it some times decades before getting anything close to a product or service and some times without even knowing the exact nature of the problem to solve. Those are intrinsic limitation to the biomedical Innovation. But the very first barrier to the translation of knowledge into value is for the researchers to understand the economic, commercial, industrial and regulatory drivers that make translation possible. Awareness of what comes next is, in fact, a key aspect of the translation process. Wrong steps in the early management of potentially breakthrough biomedical science leads most of the times to lost opportunities.


Short Bio

Molecular Biologist PhD by training, with 10 years of classic academic research experience, joined the “dark side of the force” in 1998 as R&D project manager for the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2001 become CEO of the first biomedical spinoff from the University of Barcelona, and since then has been involved as executive, entrepreneur or investor in more than 15 companies created to facilitate the transition between academic biomedical research and the market. As CEO has raised more that 60M€ in different early stage companies to advance to clinical stage more that 10 project derived from academic research.

Is author in more than 30 peer reviewed papers (Medline Keyword Ruiz-Avila L), several books on the biomedical business and 6 patents. He participates regularly as speaker in tech transfer, Science management of entrepreneurship masters or seminars, and teaches biomedical business as associate professor in the biomedicine grade in Universitat Internacional de Catalunya.

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