BioBusiness School

Based on the great success of the former editions, the 5th CRG Bio-Business School shall:

  • Raise awareness about entrepreneurship and technology transfer among the participants through lectures and hands-on practical sessions;
  • Teach the challenges, opportunities and tools to successfully transfer basic knowledge "from the lab to the marketplace";
  • Identify projects with business potential that could otherwise remain undisclosed;
  • Match basic science in biomedicine, bioinformatics, etc. with business;
  • Have participants function as "signal amplifiers", able to spread the knowledge acquired amongst other colleagues, and apply it to new projects;
  • Stimulate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Co-founder, CSO and CEO, qGenomics, Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Lluis Armengol received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Barcelona in 2005. He carried out his thesis work between the IRO and the CRG institutes, actively working in the identification of genetics basis of complex diseases and genomic disorders. He mainly approached those challenges dealing with early genomic technologies and bioinformatics, that he continued to work with in his postdoc at the CRG. Back in 2008, he moved to the dark side of science and co-founded qGenomics, together with Profs. Xavier Estivill and Luis Alberto Pérez-Jurado. At qGenomics, they combine basic and applied research in the rare diseases field, with the translation of genomic knowledge into real and usable tools for diagnostic of human diseases. Lluis continues linked to the academia by collaborating in different master degrees from different local universities, as well as an associate editor for a couple international journals in the field of medical genomics. He is currently the CSO and CEO of qGenomics.  

Partner, ID Law Partners & Free Software Foundation Europe (FSF), Barcelona, Spain.

Malcolm Bain is founding partner of id law partners, boutique law firm in Barcelona specializing in IT law. Malcolm specializes in information technology and intellectual property law. He has a wide experience representing clients on both sides of IT transactions, including several public administrations both as users of technology and for technology transfer. Malcolm's special focus is on the legal issues of open source software and content, including both developing and freeing software, establishing licensing strategies and IPR enforcement. Malcolm is member of the Free Software Foundation Europe, and Free Software Chair of the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, and lectures on the legal aspects of ICTs at Masters level, as well as participating in many conferences on these subjects.

CEO, Aelin Therapeutics, Head of New Ventures, VIB Gent, Belgium.

Els Beirnaert is responsible for the establishment of start-up companies in life sciences. In this role, she is engaged in business analysis and market research, identifying product opportunities, attracting venture capital funding, corporate structuring and negotiations. Previously she was one of the start-up pioneers of Ablynx, a company established in 2001 focused on the development of biological therapeutics, where she was leading multidisciplinary project teams and translating several drug development projects from discovery over pre-clinical development to clinical development. Els obtained a Master in Biotechnology at the University of Ghent and a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Antwerp.

Head, Technology and Business Development Office (TBDO), CRG, Barcelona, Spain.

Pablo Cironi graduated in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, and holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Barcelona. From 2005 to 2009, he was a postdoctoral Fulbright Fellow at the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard University. In 2009, he joined the Botín Foundation in Madrid as Senior Innovation & Technology Transfer Manager, responsible for identifying new business opportunities, managing the IP portfolio and defining business strategies to bring academic and public-based research ideas to market. In 2013 he joined the Center for Genome Regulation (Barcelona) to Head the Technology and Business Development Office activities where his main role consists of channeling CRG´s discoveries to market. With over 14 years research and development experience in Drug Discovery, Molecular Biology, Synthetic Biology and Biologics, and 7 years managing technology transfer and commercialization processes. Pablo has acquired a unique and strong acumen in strategy and innovation, serves on several boards of renowned health research institution, and is often an invited speaker of reference in the field.

European Patent Attorney, VIB, Gent, Belgium.

Jan Demolder obtained his PhD in molecular biotechnology at the University of Gent. After his PhD he enjoyed an EMBO long time fellowship at the University of Seville and later also an EMBO short time fellowship at VTT, Espo (Finland). Then he started in the technology transfer department of the Flanders Institute for biotechnology (VIB) in Belgium as an IP manager. After qualifying as a European Patent Attorney in 2007 he decided to work in the IP team of Bayer CropScience for almost three years. After this experience he decided to return to VIB where is now involved in invention harvesting, business development and in all aspects of the protection of intellectual property assets in the institute. Jan is also a part time professor at the University of Gent.

Director, Ferrer Advanced Biotherapeutics, Barcelona, Spain.

As Director of Ferrer Advanced Biotherapeutics, the Biotech Research Division of Ferrer International, Andrés G. Fernández and his team work to actively identify and select high added-value biopharmaceutical projects that they help to transform into real products in a variety of therapeutic and diagnostic areas. Previous to his current position, Andrés held a number of  executive and scientific responsibilities at Ferrer, Almirall and Salvat laboratories, where he helped to successfully develop and launch an important number of new molecular entities, drugs and molecular diagnostics products. For some years, Andrés was also Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He studied Pharmacy and obtained his PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Barcelona. At present, Andrés is also the Chair of the Catalan Society of Medical Biotechnology and member of a number of boards (ASEBIO, BIONAND), scientific entities, juries and committees.


Co-founder and CSO, Leukos Biotech

Group Leader Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute.

Ruth M. Risueño obtained her PhD in Immunology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, studying early events in T-cell activation. After her PhD, she joined Dr. Bhatia’s group (McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, Canada), where she worked on human hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis in vivo. The research projects she was involved in resulted in the identification of several new drugs for hematopoietic neoplasias that are currently been assayed in clinical trials. In 2012, Ruth joined the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC) as a Group Leader. Her research program focuses on new therapeutic targets for leukemia stem cells and the development of an innovative drug discovery platform. In 2015, Ruth, together with IJC, founded the spin-off Leukos Biotech to pursue the clinical development of the anti-leukemia lead compounds. Leukos Biotech raised a €3.5M first round led by local VCs in 2016. The first drug developed by Leukos Biotech will enter in clinical trials late 2017.

CEO, Spherium Biomed SL, Barcelona

Molecular Biologist PhD, after 10 years of academic research in Spain and US Luis Ruiz-Ávila shifted to the pharmaceutical industry in 1997 to play various managerial roles in project management and business development in the leading spanish company Almirall. In 2001, he left Almirall to participate in the creation of the first biotech company spun-off from the University of Barcelona, Advancell, and became its first CEO. Left Advancell in December 2008 to create his current company Janus Developments (now Spherium Biomed, a joint venture with Grupo Ferrer), a hands-on incubator for biomedical projects of academic origin. He has served as interim first executive in ERAbiotech, TCDPharma and Archivel Farma, and serves as Director of the Board in several biotech companies in Spain. Luis is one of the founders of the Catalan Association of Biotech companies (CataloniaBio). Besides his role as CEO in Spherium, he is currently Executive President in the veterinary company Aquilón Cyl SL, spin-off from Universidad de León, recently recognized by the "Cinco Dias" award to the best innovative project linked to the university in Spain.

Senior Business Development Manager, TBDO, CRG, Barcelona, Spain

Silvia Tórtola has a long track record in technology transfer, having been fundamental for the development of CRG’s Technology and Business Development Office (TBDO), that she joined in 2005. She is an expert negotiator with great experience in technology assessment, business development and the identification and management of IP rights, having been also deeply involved in the creation of qGenomics and other innovation projects at CRG. Before, she worked as a scientist at the Medical Research Foundation (University of Geneva, Switzerland) and at the biotech start-up company Europroteome AG (Hennigsdorf, Germany), of which she was also founder member. Silvia graduated in Biology from the University of Barcelona and holds a Master in Immunology and a Ph.D. in Biology from the same institution.

Associate Director of Business Development, Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, Harvard Office of Technology Development, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Leandro Vetcher joined OTD in 2013. Prior to joining Harvard, Leandro was CEO and co-founder of Green Pacific Biologicals, as well as a co-founder of the Argentina-based company, Keclon. Previously, he held research and business development positions at Kosan Biosciences and was an MBA intern with the Johnson & Johnson’s Mergers & Acquisitions team. Through his experiences, Leandro has secured venture financing; completed university licensing deals; evaluated emerging technologies, life science companies and new pharmaceutical projects; and developed strategies for the acquisition of early-stage biotechnology companies. Leandro earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MA in Biotechnology from Columbia University, and a Licentiate in Biotechnology from Rosario National University in Argentina.

The school will be composed of several modules combining lectures and workshops, motivating the participants through hands-on and real-life examples. Each lecture will provide an introduction to a key aspect of entrepreneurship and technology transfer in the Life Sciences sector and the most relevant tools in relation to it, while the workshops will focus on stimulating the entrepreneurship competences and skills of participants by applying the newly acquired knowledge to their own projects or ideas, in order to make them into products. The business concept will be identified on the first module/day, and consequently developed in teams during the 5-days course, towards an initial marketable project.

Download program (tentative)


  • Introduction to Technology Transfer and the Life Sciences sector
  • Identification and evaluation of new results, projects and ideas with a commercial potential
  • Workshop on identifying potentials in own research activities

Chair: Pablo Cironi

Keynote Lecture: Andrés G. Fernández

Lecturers: Jan Demolder & Pablo Cironi

A flavor of what can be expected in the course will be given by a successful biotech entrepreneur or a business representative through a talk on his/her business story and experience, dos and don'ts and the outcome of it all… After this, the course will commence, and experts will provide an overview on academic technology transfer, with a focus on how to identify an invention, the invention disclosure, and how to assess its technological and commercial potential.

Researchers focus on their ongoing research and potential new research ideas in a quest to understand through science, build their curriculum, and publish their results in scientific journals. However, they rarely screen their work for valuable opportunities and transfer their research results towards the market. As a result, potential inventions remain unnoticed, and are left unexploited. In this module, experts will provide an overview on how to identify an invention and assess its potential, introducing the concepts of invention disclosure and technology assessment. In addition, the biotech and pharma sectors will be presented.

The module aims at sensitizing researchers to evaluate the potential of their research results, and provides the participants with tools to decide whether a research result could be an invention.

  • Patents and other forms of Intellectual Property (IP) protection
  • Software protection and licensing issues with a focus towards commercialization
  • Workshop on patent database search based on projects developed in Module 1

Lecturers: Jan Demolder, Malcolm Bain & Silvia Tórtola

Inventions need to be protected, and there are different ways to do so. Especially in Life Sciences, the most important option is patenting. This second module therefore provides an overview on the different types of intellectual property (IP) protection, with a focus on patents in the Life Sciences sector and the tools available to search for patents and perform initial white space and freedom-to-operate analyses. To date, researchers rarely use this valuable source of knowledge, which often results in inefficient double inventions.

In addition, this second module will include a separate section on software. Software use and development is part of the everyday life of a research institute like CRG. Although software is barely protected through patents, there are ways to protect it, and licensing issues that affect it, which can have a strong impact on its eventual commercialization.

This module aims at introducing researcher to the different forms of intellectual property protection and their relevance for the commercialization of technologies.

  • The decision making step: licensing or spinning-off, and current trends in entrepreneurship
  • Marketing for business development and fundraising
  • Workshop on how to apply the decision making step to course cases

Lecturers: Els Beirnaert & Leandro Vetcher

From a public research institutions perspective, the common way to exploit a patent or invention is to transfer it to an external partner that further develops and commercializes it, such as an established company or an own-created spin-off, in exchange of economic return. Using their own experience and examples in the Life Science sector, experts will impart knowledge on how to select the right option and strategy: does (e.g. a patent) have the potential to become the basis for a spin-off company or shall it rather be licensed or sold to an external partners? How? In addition, an overview of the new trends and resources that support early-stage bio-businesses will be given, to show that this is an amazing time for bio-entrepreneurship!

This third module aims at making researchers aware of the different routes an invention can take towards the market, showing them their potential roles in this process, andproviding them with useful knowledge and tools (e.g. with regards to marketing their inventions in the different scenarios).

  • How to start up – Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences
  • Workshop on business model generation based on course cases

Lecturers: Els Beirnaert & Leandro Vetcher

Stemming from the decision-making step, this fourth module introduces the spin-off pathway on how to exploit e.g. a patent. Experts will give a brief introduction to the business model concept and teach how to write and present a business plan. The workshop will allow the participants to plan their own start-up company based on the course cases.

In addition, this module will also give an overview of potential funding sources (public and private) that allow for the development and commercialization of an invention through the start-up pathway. Furthermore, the concept of life science incubators and accelerators will be introduced, as well as different types of entrepreneurial support and consulting mechanisms.

  • Summary of important learnings
  • Round-table discussion
  • Facing reality: Presentation of workshop results

Chair: Pablo Cironi

Topic: TBC

Expert panel: Lluís Armengol, Ruth Muñoz, Luis Ruiz-Ávila & Leandro Vechter

The last day will start with a quick overview of the course and a review of key learnings, followed by a round table discussion between national and international experts from academia, industry and venture capital, that will share their views, models, experiences, and emerging trends in a topic of interest. In the following session, course participants are given a unique opportunity to present and pitch their proposals to the experts for their feedback and assessment. The best business project proposal will be selected and course attendance certificates will be delivered to participants. The CRG Technology and Business Development Office will follow projects from CRG researchers, in order to consider them for valorization or other actions.

Organized on the first day, the networking event will give the participants the opportunity to socialize and tighten links amongst the recently established team members, as well as with the course lecturers and organizers. By creating a relaxed and productive working atmosphere, the event aims at promoting the intercultural as well as scientific and business exchange amongst attendants.

The school has been organized by CRG Technology and Business Development Office and CRG Training Unit:

  • Silvia Tórtola, PhD
    Senior Manager, Technology and Business Development Office
  • Pablo Cironi, PhD
    Head of Technology and Business Development Office
  • Damjana Kastelic, PhD
    Training Coordinator


Researchers in life sciences at different career stages (from PhD students, postdocs, junior researchers to PIs) at CRG and other BIST and EU-LIFE Institutes are invited to apply.


Attendance to the course is free of charge, and includes lunches, coffee breaks and the technical material relevant for the course. Participation will be ensured upon payment of a refundable fee of 50 EUR confirming attendance of the selected candidates. Such fee will be reimbursed once the course finished by the candidate.

If you have been selected and you are not able to participate to the course, you are invited to notify the organizers as soon as possible in order to recover your fee, and allow other candidates in the waiting list to attend. Notices in the 2 weeks before the start of the course will not allow the candidate to recover his/her fee unless duly justified. In addition, participants not attending fully to the course will lose their right to refund, and their attendance to other courses organized by the CRG will be compromised.  

Please, click here to register.


Deadline for application has been extended to July, 10th. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of the selection process and will be asked to confirm their participation by the end of July.


16-20 candidates from CRG, BIST and EU-Life Institutes will be selected by the organizing committee amongst all applicants, based on their motivation and availability of a potential lab-to-market project (as a general rule, candidates with existing projects will be prioritized).

The school is taking place in the premises of the Centre for Genomic Regulation, CRG, in Barcelona.
C/ Dr. Aiguader, 88 · 08003 Barcelona, España
Tel. +34 93 316 01 00


“Great speakers, comprehensive material covered during few days and hands-on experience on a case study”

“Good to learn many basic concepts if you are totally unexperienced with the biobusiness world”

“Since the course forces you to spend the entire working week interacting with people from industry it's hard not to get involved into "industry-like" way of thinking and not to shift the view on the stuff you're doing in the lab. I think that this is what is the most important about the course, but of course, understanding the pipeline of business development and motivations of people involved is also highly important.”

Participants 4th Edition CRG BioBusiness School (2017)


“When I was selected for the 1st BioBusiness School, I was already working in a business plan regarding a personal genetics platform. For me, the BBS, was the first real opportunity to pitch in front of different experts, investors and stakeholders of the life sciences ecosystem, receiving very valuable feedback and expanding my contacts network. During the workshop, I also had the opportunity to meet Marc Sitges, a former member of the EGA-EBI team at CRG, who, attracted by the idea of Made of Genes, eventually joined the company few months later.”

Oscar Flores, CEO and founder of Made of Genes

Participant 1st Edition CRG BioBusiness School (2014)


“I attended the 1st CRG Bio-Business School in 2014. As a recently appointed junior PI, it was very important for me to understand how the technology transfer process worked in order to better detect which results generated in my group were potentially interesting for the biotech and pharma markets. The knowledge acquired during the course allowed me to identify a project that culminated in the foundation of a spin-off company to further develop such project towards the market. The company is currently raising capital. The support and advise of one of the course lecturers, even after the course was finished, was critical in pushing this initiative further.”

Ruth Risueño, CSO and founder of Leukos Biotech

Participant 1st Edition CRG BioBusiness School (2014)


The school is organized by CRG, and supported by the Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence: