EIC Investor Day on Health: The three health musketeers
The EIC Investor Day on Health, which took place on 18-19 May 2021, focused on innovations in the field of biotech, pharmaceuticals, medtech and ehealth. In total 25 EIC beneficiaries had the opportunity to pitch in front of 17 top-tier investors in the health-sector.
The EU promotes a vision of a healthier European Union 2021-2027. The European Commission (EC) is investing in research, technology, and innovation to develop solutions that will help overcome challenges in the field of health such as, ageing, chronic diseases, or even external environmental factors i.e., anti-microbial resistance. With the EIC Investor Day on Health the EIC offered 25 of Europe’s most innovative SMEs the opportunity to pitch their health-related innovation to close to 20 investors.
Three pitching sessions, focused on biotech & pharmaceuticals, medtech and ehealth, resulted in 3 winners: Maria Bech, CEO and Finnur Einarsson, COO and CFO of EpiEndo, Cliff Ansel, founder of Respinova Ltd and Esmeralda Megally, CEO of Swiss Xsensio SA, won their respective session during the EIC Investor Day on Health.
- Epi-Endo Pharmaceuticals
EpiEndo is tackling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the world's most prevalent diseases. “Our therapeutic strategy is to improve the conditions of patients by reducing inflammation through enhancing the integrity of the airway epithelial barrier,” commented CEO, Maria Bech. Finnur Einarsson further explained: “After decades of research and validation, there is now widespread and growing acceptance of the critical importance of integrity of the epithelium, the layer of cells that make up the inner surface of the lung, as well as the skin and gut. If this is disrupted and leaky, it drives inflammation. EpiEndo’s highly differentiated approach is to addresses this underlying causal pathophysiology”. Commenting on the EIC, Finnur mentioned “This is our second BAS event, and we are delighted to emerge as a category winner. Pitching to the assembled VCs is a challenge and we have also found it to be a great networking opportunity”. Lastly, Maria shared more about the significant investment by the EIC fund, “Receiving the EUR 2,7m commitment has provided strong support for EpiEndo at a critical juncture and has enabled us to move into Phase 1 clinical trials, a very important step forward”.
- Respinova Ltd
Respinova has developed a novel non-invasive technology, Pulsehaler™, that aims to address the core of COPD pathophysiology, namely, small airway collapse. Cliff Ansel explained “This is the first therapeutic respiratory device clinically demonstrated to improve the functioning of COPD patients, by directly reopening the small airways deep in the lung”. Moreover, he talked about the motivation for applying for this Investor Day “We are in the middle of our Series B round and looking for investors to co-invest alongside the EIC, as a result of our EIC Pilot win. This is extremely important to our company”, Cliff commented. “The EIC’s commitment has been helpful in getting potential co-investors to pay greater attention to our deal, in an environment when so many companies are looking for funding. The EIC provides a stamp of approval that is unlike any other”.
- Xsensio SA
Xsensio develops the unique Lab-on-Skin sensing platform to sense in real-time biochemical information at the surface of the skin, providing unprecedented real-time information about our health and wellness, in a simple and non-invasive way. Esmeralda Megally explained “The company is trying to change the way healthcare is delivered, by providing new health data that are captured dynamically and are able to measure our health and our wellness in a continuous, real time way”. Esmeralda, being a second time winner in an EIC event, shared “Anytime we present our company in big events like these, there is always visibility that comes in. It's always good to get this exposure to just put yourself on the spot and there are many investors that come back to us after seeing a pitch.” Also, Xsensio was listed for the EIC Fund “It’s fantastic to have this kind of validation, for both the grant and the equity component. This novel blended finance program from the EIC is very well perceived by private investors and is helping us in our current fundraising”.
The panel in a nutshell
In addition to pitching competitions and business meetings, the EIC Investor Day also features panels and other speeches. From the panel discussion on “Towards the European health leaders” there were very interesting inputs from the participants. Starting the panel there were, Louis de Lillers CEO of Corwave, EIC funded company with grant and investment of almost EUR 17,5m in total EUR, and Anne Osdoit Partner of Sofinnova Partners, MD Start Fund. Following up Patrik Sobocki, an Investment Director at Industrifonden and Dr. Florian Muellershausen, Managing Director at Novartis Venture Fund, shared that Europe has many strengths in the health sector.
The quality of entrepreneurs especially first-time entrepreneurs, schools, industry, is affected, due to the regional support, which offers the possibility of doing proof of concept at small level. There are many extremely attractive data hubs, helping companies with their main challenges of scaling up. This is precisely the reason of the EIC creating, to fill the gap, regarding the deep tech technologies and to support the companies throughout their scaling up journey. For biotech companies there are different kinds of challenges for example the culture of entrepreneurship in the universities and at research stage. To address these issues, there is the EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition programmes, which their key objective is a proactive management.
During the fireside chat with Erik Gatenholm, CEO of CELLINK, world leader in bioconvergence and first EIC/SMEI unicorn, he shared the main ingredients for their fulminant success. In short, the secret in becoming a unicorn in less than 5 years, is to complete customer orientation, not be afraid to take unconventional roads in scaling up and the most important is to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Looking for ways to connect to top-class investors and peers and to present your innovation?
We host regular EIC Investor Days, as well as ePitching with Investor-sessions, all based on your company profiles in ScaleUP EU. Our next event is “EIC ePitching with Investors on Semiconductors and Quantum Computing” taking place on 8 June 2021. You can keep an eye on our events page for more information on future events.
If you are interested in joining, don’t miss out and update your profile information straight away. If you need help, please contact us through our contact page (choose ScaleUp EU: claim access).