Medical Innovation Exchange

Sofinnova opens biotech creation ‘toolbox’ as part of Europe-wide strategy

Venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners has launched a new investment strategy specifically aimed at setting up and accelerating biotech startups across Europe.

The strategy, dubbed Biovelocita, will involve a newly formed team assembled with the aim of providing “a hands-on, robust framework for startups, combining direct management, financial backing and access to Sofinnova’s extensive infrastructure and network,” the firm explained in a Dec. 13 release.

The name and strategy both “draw inspiration” from BiovelocITA, Italy’s first biotech accelerator, which was co-founded in 2015 by Sofinnova Partners along with Gabriella Camboni, M.D., and Silvano Spinelli.

Camboni co-founded the biotechs EOS and Novuspharma, which went on to be acquired by Clovis Oncology and Cell Therapeutics, respectively. She will be one of the key partners in the new Europe-wide initiative, alongside AdBio Partners founder Matthieu Coutet, former Alchemab CEO Alex Leech and Zhizhong (Joel) Yao, Ph.D.

This team of “serial entrepreneurs and investors” will partner with “leading academic institutions to identify the most innovative ideas and create the biotech champions of tomorrow,” the VC firm explained in the release.

“To improve and expand our company-creation toolbox, we have brought together a group of experienced investors and entrepreneurs who have been collaborating with Sofinnova for over a decade, some nearly two decades,” Sofinnova Partners managing partner Graziano Seghezzi said in the release.

“With this top-tier team, we look forward to strengthening one of Sofinnova’s strategic pillars: acceleration, which is already making rapid strides in the medical device space with Sofinnova MD Start, our in-house medtech accelerator.”

Sofinnova Partners—not to be confused with its U.S.-based “cousin” Sofinnova Investments—employs around 80 people spread across its Paris headquarters as well as offices in London, Milan and Luxembourg. The VC firm oversees $2.5 billion and has a portfolio of 100 companies spread across six segments including biotech, medtech and digital medicine—of which the latter closed its first $200 million fund in October.

The same month, one of Sofinnova’s European biotechs achieved that rarest of feats in 2023—a successful IPO. France’s Abivax raised over $235 million from its Nasdaq listing, which the Paris-based company will partly use to complete the phase 3 development of ulcerative colitis med obefazimod.

Speaking to Fierce Biotech on the sidelines of the Jefferies London Healthcare Conference last month, Sofinnova’s chairman Antoine Papiernik said there remains “optimism” among investors around the European biotech sector.

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