CV Lab, the first incubator for cardiovascular projects in Europe
Turin-Milan (Italy) – Italian cardiology school is among the most respected in the world. However only a fraction of the creativity of the Italian research is actually transformed into a product or a company. To overcome this issue, some of the leading entrepreneurs in the cardiovascular sector, together with the most important Italian investors, joined their forces to create an incubator that helps physicians and scientists with innovative projects in the cardiovascular area.
CV Lab partners with doctors and technologists to assess their ideas and patents from a business perspective and support the development of the most promising ones toward the market. The incubator selects the most interesting projects and, in partnership with the inventor, brings them to the appropriate level of maturity to meet the attention of international venture capital firms.
CV Lab is looking for high impact projects that solve true unmet clinical needs, foster the reduction of healthcare budgets and aim to become a cardiovascular standard of care within 4-8 years. CVLab takes into consideration both therapeutic devices (e.g. implantables) and digital diagnostic cardiovascular health solutions.
CV Lab is fully operational and has already been selecting projects for some months, at a rate of more than a hundred ideas evaluated yearly. The goal is to start the incubation path for few projects per year. The development path could include prototyping process, regulatory plan, intellectual property development and business plan. The average incubation time span is set at up to of 18 months.
Promoting CV Lab is a group of entrepreneurs and investors such as:
- Andrea Venturelli, co-founder of Invatec, the company from Brescia (Italy) leader in Drug-Coated Baloons technology (DCB) that was sold in 2010 for about €500M to Medtronic;
- IP Investimenti e Partecipazioni, leading shareholder of DiaSorin, world leader of in vitro diagnostics and serial investor in the cardiovascular field;
- Aldo Pagani, Ceo of one of the most important distributors of cardiovascular products;
- Giovanni Leo, co-founder of Endosense, the company that designed one of the very first Atrial Fibrillation ablation catheters, sold to St. Jude Medical in 2003;
- Innogest, the main Italian venture capital firm active in the medtech field;
- Jean Claude Laborde, French interventional cardiologist who helped to launch innovations such as CoreValve, CardiaQ, 4Tech.
«In the United States the ecosystem naturally helps medical projects to turn into products and companies», says Andrea Venturelli. «In Italy and in Europe similar opportunities for innovation are unlikely to materialize: doctors are devoted to their clinical work and to research, they have no time to nurture the business implications of their activities. So, if they have a good idea, they easily tend to keep it asleep. CV Lab helps the best of these projects to reach the level of maturity that naturally attracts capital».
«Our investment is strategic and industrial», says Aldo Pagani. «CVLab is not a traditional incubator: the inventor receives shares of the capital of the company-to-be and contributes to the development of his/her idea as the main advisor. CV Lab’s incubation team is in charge of the daily operational management, bringing together professionals with experience in the medical field, business and finance. To proof the concept and be successful, most of these projects need a broad spectrum of skills, which are difficult to find in a single professional or in a small team. The strength of an incubator like CV Lab is that we are able to attract all the skills that the specific project needs and to make them available at the right time».
«Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise alongside population aging. This brings more concern into this area, also from an economical point of view», adds Giovanni Leo. «In the cardiovascular segment there is an untapped potential for technological innovation that can bring concrete solutions in a reasonably short time, paying back investments and at the same time helping to reduce healthcare budgets. Moreover, CV Lab is born in a country like Italy, where some of the most respected cardiovascular research centers in the world are located».
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