AIC Entrepreneurship Series Kickoff Event
TECH STARTUPS FINANCING: THE UNICORN ERA
September 15 at Campus Biotech
9 Chemin des Mines
As the kickoff to the American International Club (AIC) entrepreneurship series, the Wyss Center hosts this event with the AIC and Inartis Foundation at Campus Biotech in Geneva in the context of MassChallenge Switzerland and Health Valley Map official launch.
Switzerland has a strong research base and a well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially in health and life sciences. Major pharmaceutical companies, other science, technology and health related firms as well as universities and research centers are playing a key role in the growth of this ecosystem. The Lac Léman region has been particularly vibrant as evidenced by the success of many start-ups over the years, including most recently, MindMaze SA, the first “unicorn” (private company valued at more than $1B).
18:00 Registration & networking
18:35 Health Valley Map official launch and outlook
- With various Health Valley partners such as HUG, Eli Lilly, Anecova, Incyte, etc.
- Benoît Dubuis, Executive Director of Campus Biotech Geneva, Development Director of the Wyss Center and President of Inartis Foundation
18:45 Keynote with Dr. Tej Tadi, Founder and CEO, MindMaze SA
19:00 Panel Discussion
The panel will discuss the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Western Switzerland with a focus on the challenges and opportunities of starting, financing and growing innovative firms in Switzerland.
- Dr. Tej Tadi, Founder and CEO of MindMaze SA
-Jean-Marc Leroux, Chief Innovation Officer, Covance Drug Development business of LabCorp; General Manager CCLS Europe, Covance
- Jean-Pierre Rosat, Managing Partner, 4FO Ventures
- Alex Schmitz, Senior Investment Director, Endeavour Vision
- Ernest Loumaye, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, ObsEva
- Karen Wilson, Founder GV Partners and AIC Executive Committee Member
19:45 Start-up pitches
Short pitches from some impressive young start-ups from MassChallenge Switzerland, a four-month acceleration programme powered by Inartis and held at UniverCité (Lausanne), and from the Health Valley.
- Pragma Therapeutics (MassChallenge)
- Intento (MassChallenge)
- Versantis (MassChallenge)
- Addex Pharma
20:00 Networking reception
Dr. Tej Tadi brings a knowledge of 10 years’ experience at the intersection of technology and medicine where he has successfully translated cutting edge solutions to the clinic. He has a background in electronics engineering, virtual reality & computer graphics through his work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Switzerland. During his PhD, he set up an immersive virtual reality system in combination with state-of-the-art brain imaging technologies enabling trans-disciplinary work in cognitive psychology, neuroimaging, and virtual reality, and leading to visible scientific publications and awards (Pfizer Award for Neuroscience in 2009). He founded MindMaze in 2011 to develop novel applications in Neuro-Rehabilitation, Game Training & next generation Neural Interfaces. MindMaze has already commercialized medical grade hospital and home products based on its platform to accelerate recovery for a wide spectrum of neurological deficits. MindMaze has also launched products for consumer gaming, including the world’s first neurogoggles combining neural sensing with embedded motion capture cameras, to harness the power of players’ minds to enhance gameplay experiences in both VR & AR. MindMaze will continue to leverage its scientific breakthroughs and advanced HMI platform into a number of other disruptive product lines that can address critical challenges in large, growing industries such as Transportation, Media and Defense.
Jean-Marc Leroux is CINO for the Covance Drug Development business of LabCorp, and General Manager CCLS Europe. Throughout Jean-Marc’s 15 year career with Covance, he has been instrumental in shaping our Central Laboratory strategy, and securing new talent and technology to deliver strategic advances in that business. He progressed through various leadership positions in Central Laboratories, including Vice President of Global Laboratory Operations and Scientific/ Technical Affairs, Vice President for all Central Laboratory Global Operations (Laboratory, Sample Management/Lab Pre-analytical Services, Investigator Site Support, Logistics, and Kit Production), and most recently Vice President of Global Innovation & GM Europe for CLS. He has always been dedicated to identifying new technology and business innovations throughout his career at Covance, advocating for state of the art Laboratory automation, advances in informatics, and new services like biomarkers and point of care devices.
Jean-Pierre Rosat, Managing Partner, 4FO Ventures (confirmed)
With extensive experience in creating and developing high tech companies, Dr. Rosat has co-founded eight start-ups, made three trade-sales to public companies, and is well versed in fund-raising and setting-up new projects. He gained experienced with FDA and EMEA regulations while developing oncology drugs, and has combined this experience with engineering ventures that focused on automated drug screening equipment, micro-machining technology, diagnostic or medtech. Jean-Pierre holds a PhD in immunology from the University of Lausanne, a master in Management of Technology from the EPFL and has worked as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Alexander Schmitz is a Senior Investment Director at Endeavour Vision, a Geneva-based venture firm investing in growth-stage medical device and digital health companies in the US and Europe. Alex has two decades of business and strategy experience in both medical device and high-technology companies. His current portfolio companies include Gynesonics, a US-based company developing minimally invasive treatments for uterine fibroids, and EndoStim, a US-based company with a novel neuromodulation system to treat chronic reflux disease. From 2005 to 2014, Alex helped Biosensors International Group develop its interventional cardiology business, from less than $5 million in annual revenues to more than $300 million, most recently serving as vice president of business development. Prior to Biosensors, he worked at LogiSpring, the corporate venture fund of the TNT Post Group, and at MicroStrategy, a leading provider of business intelligence software. Alex began his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where, in addition to serving clients, he spent a year with the McKinsey Global Institute. He earned his MBA from INSEAD and a BSFS in economics, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Ernest Loumaye is Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of ObsEva, bringing an extensive experience in pharma product development and management of biopharmaceutical companies. After a brief academic career at Louvain University Hospital, he joined Serono as Head of Clinical Development for Reproductive Health (Geneva and Boston). He contributed actively to the worldwide registration of three important biotechnology products. In 2003, Ernest Loumaye joined Ipsen in Paris as Vice President, Medical Sciences. In 2006, Ernest Loumaye co-founded PregLem, a Swiss based specialty biopharmaceutical company. As CEO, he led the company up to the successful European registration of Esmya®, its lead product. The company was acquired by Gedeon Richter Plc. in 2010. In 2012, Ernest co-founded ObsEva and since then is the CEO of ObsEva. Currently, he is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of GenKyoTex. Ernest Loumaye was a visiting Professor of Reproductive Endocrinology at Louvain University, Brussels from 2002 to 2010, where he held a fulltime clinical and academic position until 1991. He holds MD, Ph.D degrees and a specialization in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Louvain University, Belgium. He was a research fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the US and is the author of over 90 publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Event Host and Sponsor:
The Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering
Established by a generous donation from the Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss, the Wyss Center presents a new model in translational neurotechnology research, offering competitively awarded support for projects that have the potential to make substantial clinical impact. Through its resident experts, technology platforms and funding the Wyss Center identifies and fosters creative new technology-linked solutions to treat nervous system disorders. The Center creates prototype devices suitable for humans, and then supports their development from preclinical to initial human clinical trials that will lead to commercialization to allow widespread benefit. The Center’s integrated approach provides access to the latest neuroscience and engineering facilities, as well as the clinical, regulatory and business expertise required to guide high risk, high return projects on their journey from research to product.
Campus Biotech is a new initiative that aims to drive forward the biotechnology sector in the Lake Geneva region, creating new opportunities for scientists and entrepreneurs. Campus Biotech was formed following the announcement by Merck Serono in 2012 that it would be closing its Geneva site. Formerly the global headquarters of Serono, the biotechnology company built over three generations by the Bertarelli family, this site had been the hub for life sciences in the region. Campus Biotech’s mission was to acquire the site from Merck Serono and to ensure that it could be utilised as a focal point for scientists and entrepreneurs in the life sciences sector, rather than be purchased for property development. http://www.campusbiotech.ch
Inartis is a non-profit foundation aiming to promote Innovation in particular in the areas of Life Sciences and technology by fostering the interaction between innovators, teaching and research centers as well and industry professionals. Inartis manages multiple projects such as incubator Espace Creation in Sion, community lab and incubator Univercite in Renens/Lausanne, publishing activities Clefs-du-Savoir, as well as professional networks Inartis Network supported by the Swiss Confederation (RTN programmes by CTI), NR1, SwissHeritage and Republic-of-Innovation. http://inartis.ch
Mass Challenge Switzerland
MassChallenge is a startup-friendly accelerator obsessed with helping entrepreneurs across all industries. MassChallenge rewards the highest-impact startups through a competition to win a portion of several million dollars in equity-free cash awards. Through a global network of accelerators in Boston, London, Jerusalem, Lausanne and Mexico City and unrivaled access to corporate partners, MassChallenge can have a massive impact - driving growth and creating value the world over. Based on the same proven model as the MassChallenge Boston and MassChallenge UK accelerator programmes, MassChallenge Switzerland launched in February 2016, creating an accelerator in Switzerland that is connected with other global hubs to expand the open innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Switzerland, as well as greatly enhance the MassChallenge network in Europe.
The Health Valley is a name given to the bio-medical research centres, industry, start-up companies and services (including the university hospitals of Lausanne and Geneva) in the Lac Léman region. Health Valley in Western Switzerland has a higher employment level per capita in life sciences, biotechnology, medical technology, and medicine than the Boston area, which has earned worldwide respect as the North American center of excellence for medical and pharmaceutical research.