Horacio Moreno (Barcelona, 1971) recently joined IRB Barcelona’s Innovation Department as the new Entrepreneur in Residence. Launched in 2016, this position aims to foster an entrepreneurial culture in our scientific community by hosting an in-house expert in bio-entrepreneurship for a year. Horacio holds a PhD in Biochemistry and a Master’s in Business Administration. He has has more than 16 years’ experience as a business developer in the biopharma industry, including at companies such as Almirall, Gebro Pharma and Menarini. He currently works as a consultant in business development for biotech companies, and he is also involved in training and teaching programmes at IQS (Institut Quimic de Sarria). During his time at IRB Barcelona, Horacio will work alongside the Innovation Department to identify projects with commercial potential.
What is your impression of IRB Barcelona so far? How are we doing in terms of innovation and technology transfer?
I am very impressed with the research and the level of scientific publications at IRB Barcelona. The institute’s scientific excellence is beyond question. And the Innovation Department has identified the most promising projects. There are quite a few researchers interested in exploring technology transfer aspects of their projects, and this is reflected by the fact that several have already taken up the challenges involved in setting up a biotech company.
What are your goals for this year at IRB Barcelona?
Entrepreneurship isn’t about knowledge or even experience. It’s an attitude. I hope I can do my bit to foster this spirit. In particular, I would like my expertise to contribute to the identification of the commercial potential of the identified projects and, together with the Innovation Team, support researchers in the tech transfer process. In my experience, the search for external funding is the main challenge, but if a project is good, it will attract support.
What makes a research result commercially interesting?
Well, a project is potentially interesting if it tackles an unmet medical need, that is to say, if it involves a new approach (therapeutic target or technology) that can be used to treat or diagnose relevant diseases. But equally important is that the project needs to be feasible from the technical perspective, and have commercial attractiveness. Once this potential has been identified, it can be channeled through a direct license and then transferred to industry, or it might be convenient to set up a start-up company to further develop the project or technology.
Do you find some research areas more interesting than others in terms of innovation?
I am still talking to various researchers to get a better understanding of their projects. But I have already pinpointed the promise of several projects related to new therapeutic targets and technologies. I hope that during the year I will be able to witness the set-up of at least one start-up.
If you want to get in touch with Horacio, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.