Invivo Ventures is a venture capital fund based in Barcelona. Its goal is to improve the technology transfer process from well-known research centres, hospitals, and universities in Spain, through company creation.
Invivo Ventures invests in the Healthcare sector, which has an enormous social and economic impact:
- Social: The companies Invivo invests in develop innovative treatments for diseases with a high unmet clinical need.
- Economic: These companies need to attract talent and additional funding to keep growing and advancing their pipeline.
One of the most important issues in the selection process is the impact on patients. That’s why Invivo has invested in companies that develop treatments for orphan diseases. These are usually niche markets without any treatment options – such as Myotonic Dystrophy type I – and also in one of the most important current threats to public health – MDR infections.
“We’ve already invested in 6 companies, 5 of them spin-offs from different research centres around Spain. These companies develop products in leading-edge fields such as RNA therapy, synthetic biology, and cell and gene therapy,” shares Laura Rodríguez, Principal at Invivo.
Invivo Ventures is managed by Invivo Capital Partners. It’s promoted by Luis Pareras and Albert Ferrer. They gained substantial VC experience through their first fund Healthequity.
Luis Pareras and Albert Ferrer met for the first time in 2010. They both had identified the creation of a VC fund in the life sciences space as an interesting opportunity for the future. Healthequity was created in 2012. It has 5 companies in its portfolio – all of them spin-offs. They have raised additional funding from international VCs and are currently at clinical-stages.
The two entrepreneurs bring to the table skills that are very synergistic:
- Luis Pareras is more focused on the science and the healthcare ecosystem.
- Albert Ferrer is more focused on finance and deal execution.
Laura Rodríguez is a Principal at Invivo. She has a PhD in Biotechnology. Specifically, Mrs. Rodríguez did research in gene therapy applications in the cancer field, which led to publications in scientific journals.
Later on, she was a Project Manager in the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Unit at the Research Institute of the Vall d'Hebron Hospital (VHIR) in Barcelona. There, she managed all types of projects, including drug development, med-tech, and digital – all generated by researchers at VHIR. Her job was to find the best way to transfer the technology from the public sector to the private one, through licensing or company creation.
“That’s where I established contacts with VCs for the first time. After a while, I realised there was a financing need in this technology transfer space, as most investors preferred to invest in later stages. Fortunately, Healthequity, and now Invivo, are trying to fill this space,” says Laura Rodríguez.
She joined the team in 2018 – first as an investment analyst. Now, she’s a Principal at Invivo Capital Partners.
Biggest Achievements and Client Successes
Since 2014, Healthequity has invested in five companies. Four of them are spin-offs from research centres around Spain, and one of them is from a Swiss institution. These companies have raised a total accumulated capital of €185 million from local and international investors and have advanced their programs into the clinics. It’s important to mention that 3 out of these 5 companies have female founders.
Since 2019, Invivo has invested in six companies, and 5 out of 6 are spin-offs from different centres around Spain. This means that Invivo identified five projects with outstanding results from different institutions and helped their researchers to create companies and negotiate the respective collaboration and licensing agreements with their institutions. It’s important to mention that 3 out of these 6 companies have female founders.
A noteworthy example is Invivo’s first investment, Arthex, led by Dr. Beatriz Llamusí. She was a postdoc willing to move forward her research project to a product for Myotonic Dystrophy type I. With Invivo’s initial investment, and the subsequent investments of CDTI-Innvierte and Advent France Biotechnology, Arthex will reach first-in-man trials in 2022.
Connection with InvestHorizon
“As we are early-stage investors, we normally invest in seed rounds – either alone or in co-investment with local investors,” explains Laura Rodríguez.
With this initial investment, companies establish a robust preclinical proof-of-concept with the lead candidate and are ready to start IND-enabling studies. At this point, the next step for these companies is to raise Series A investments, including local and European investors, in order to reach first-in-man studies and to expand their pipeline.
“Thanks to our previous experience in Healthequity, we have a broad network of co-investors, but it’s very important to increase that network and make it more solid, through new co-investments. InvestHorizon opened the possibility to meet new co-investors around Europe,” concludes Mrs. Rodríguez.