“Tech transfer is critical for IRB Barcelona to guarantee long-term sustainability”

From left to right: Begoña Carreño-Gómez, Javier Garcia, Maria C Freire, Carlos Plata, Eva Méndez and Remi Droller during their visit to IRB Barcelona.
From left to right: Begoña Carreño-Gómez, Javier Garcia, Maria C Freire, Carlos Plata, Eva Méndez and Remi Droller during their visit to IRB Barcelona.

The Business Advisory Board (BAB) visited IRB Barcelona on 3 April. Launched in 2013 and convening every two years, the BAB puts their expertise to the service of the Institute with the aim to speed up technology transfer and map out a successful tech-transfer roadmap.

During the visit, the BAB advised the Innovation Department on the tech transfer strategy for the next three years and gave specific guidance on how to push those innovation projects that are closest to the market. The board was debriefed on several initiatives in the "tech transfer" field, such as the Entrepreneur in Residence Programme, and had an informal meeting with about 20 pre and postdocs. “This session provided an excellent opportunity for the community of researchers to clarify doubts and get deeper understanding of the technology transfer process and for the BAB to get an idea about the entrepreneurial spirit present in our scientific community,” explains Cristina Horcajada, Head of the Innovation Department.

The BAB comprises the following distinguished members: Maria C Freire (President, NH Foundation); Begoña Carreño-Gómez (Head Search & Evaluation Primary Care. Global BD&L, Novartis Pharma AG); Remi Droller (Managing Partner, KLS Partners); Joël Jean-Mairet (Managing Partner and co-Founder, Ysios Capital); Eva Méndez (Drug Discovery Advisor); Carlos Plata (Chief Scientific Officer, Esteve); Thomas von Rüden (Investment Consultant); and recently appointed Javier Garcia (General Partner, Columbus VP).

In Vivo talks to the most recent member to join the BAB, Javier García, an experienced consultant, entrepreneur, investor in life sciences and General Partner at Columbus VP. After almost 30 years working in healthcare and the biopharmaceutical industry, in 2012 he turned his attention to venture capital investments in life sciences. He serves on the boards of several biotech companies, as well as on the board of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the Healthy Americas Foundation.


Why is tech transfer important?

Tech transfer is critical for any research centre. In my opinion, without effective technology transfer, two key aspects that guarantee long-term sustainability are lost: the possibility of complementing funding and of recruiting new talent attracted by the opportunity of translational career development.

What is your impression of IRB Barcelona and its entrepreneurial spirit?

IRB Barcelona has always been a reference for scientific quality, and  researchers, due to the nature of their work, have an entrepreneurial spirit. The key point is that this innovation has to be projected beyond the bench and IRB Barcelona is working hard in this regard in order to advance basic science and have an impact on society.

How do you see IRB Barcelona in the coming years?

As I said, IRB Barcelona has great scientific potential, and it’s necessary to capitalise on this asset. The medium-term objective for IRB Barcelona would be to maintain its position as a centre of reference  in science and to have comparable development agreements to other leading centres in Europe.

What did you find most interesting during your on-site visit?

The schedule was very thoughtfully organised so that the BAB could get extensive  information on the different projects and initiatives underway. I especially liked talking to  the pre- and post-docs. It was very interesting to exchange experiences and answer their questions.