Project leadersDavide D'Amico, Javier Terriente, Simone Calzolari and Ignasi Sahún
Participating organizationsZeClinics, UPF, PRBB
To provide scientific services of excellence in the drug-discovery arena using zebrafish as an animal model. This model provides highly relevant information in the optimization phase for possible drugs, as it is 72% genetically homologous with humans (80% for some diseases). Plus, its larvae are transparent, grow quickly and easily (5 days) and are easy to handle.
ZeClinics is a 100% private initiative, with 4 founding partners who have contributed value in the form of knowledge, with help from two main stakeholders: Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), which has helped from the beginning providing structural support, training and mentoring; and the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), which has given them access to scientific and technical services of excellence.
Most significant challenges
ZeClinics has had to tackle the challenges facing any company that starts from scratch, like searching for initial funding, difficulties in setting up company structures, lack of business training and the complexity of explaining and transforming an idea into a product or service. To tackle these challenges, all of the founders did training in various disciplines in order to become professional entrepreneurs. The company has chosen to do R&D tailored to each client, which has allowed them to generate innovative and disruptive services, has funneled a lot of effort into being at all of the most important international events in the sector and on social media, working to convey the image of a modern, active company.
ZeClinics successfully closed the largest crowdfunding campaign in biomedicine in 2015, raising €100,000 to move forward with a personalized medicine project called ZeOncoTest. In late 2016, the company was granted a Phase 2 SME Instrument valued at €1.8 million to develop one of its products, ZeCardio, software to assess cardiovascular parameters in an innovative way that it is currently in the process of protecting with a patent. Plus, the company is completing a specialized toxicology platform for cosmetics and phytosanitary products.
ZeClinics expects to set up a holding company in 2018, with a CRO service company and a new company devoted to drug discovery, generating new molecules for use in oncology, cardiology, central nervous system and GMO models.