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10th BioVaria Boosts Academia-Industry Partnering

BioVaria Spin-off Awards go to Captain T Cell and Provirex

24 May 2017, Munich, Germany – On 22–23 May 2017, over 180 innovative minds gathered in Munich for the 10th BioVaria. Leading life scientists and their technology transfer partners presented the top projects originating from publicly funded research in Europe. Industry representatives and investors came from all over the world to learn about these inventions and evaluate opportunities for partnerships and collaboration. Their joint goal: transferring academic innovation into medically useful applications.

Altogether, 53 commercial opportunities from 50 European research institutes and universities were featured: innovative approaches in the fields of neurology, gene therapy, oncology, infections and metabolism.

To mark BioVaria’s 10th anniversary, the event was specially extended to two days, providing extra space not only for the birthday celebration, but also for an enlarged Spin-off Panel and keynotes on digital health.

This year’s interactive Panel featured 10 promising start-ups. A jury of seasoned life-science investors and executives selected Captain T Cell as the winner, based on its technology, business concept and performance during the panel. The start-up from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) develops an innovative approach to cancer immunotherapy. Their goal is to create a platform for the production of personalized, cancer-specific T cell receptors. With the help of these receptors, the body’s own T cells, so called ‘killer cells’, are able to find and specifically destroy cancer cells in the patient’s body. The BioVaria Jury Prize is worth EUR 1,000 plus one conference pass to the 17th Annual Biotech in Europe Forum for Global Partnering & Investment.

The BioVaria Audience Prize, another ticket to the Annual Biotech in Europe Forum, went to Provirex, a spin-off project from the Heinrich Pette Institute – Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology (HPI). The team pioneers a ground-breaking approach to the therapy of HIV infection. Using a unique designer recombinase, the virus is specifically excised from the genome of infected cells without damaging the host cell. In contrast to existing treatment strategies, this would actually eliminate the virus, rather than merely keeping it in check. Both prizes were sponsored by Sachs Associates.

‘BioVaria is a great event because it brings all the right people together,’ says Dr Dirk Vocke, Associate Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare business sector of Merck KGaA, Germany. ‘It was a pleasure for me to moderate this interactive Spin-off Panel, together with my colleague from Merck. We’ve seen some brilliant entrepreneurial approaches here, making it really difficult for the jury to reach a decision. Congratulations to the winning team!’ adds Dr Jeroen Bakker, Associate, Merck Ventures BV.

Further highlights were this year’s keynotes: Bart de Witte, Director Digital Health DACH at IBM, and Prof. Dr med. Dr phil. Torsten Haferlach, MLL Münchner Leukämielabor GmbH, shared valuable insights on their collaboration, highlighting the potential of cognitive computing for a new era of anti-cancer drug development and personalized care.

‘Digital health is a game-changing trend that opens new markets and offers a whole new world of collaboration opportunities across various industries, academic institutions and hospitals,’ says Dr Christian Stein, CEO of Ascenion. ‘This is an exciting prospect for BioVaria as it enters its second decade.’

The next BioVaria will take place on 24 April 2018 in Munich. Register at to receive news about the upcoming event.

Some of the technologies and spin-offs presented during BioVaria 2017 and a selection of photos will be available next week at





Esther Lange
T: +49 89 318814-22
E: info(at)biovaria(dot)org
Ascenion GmbH, Herzogstraße 64, 80803 Munich, GERMANY



Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology

BioM, AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Life Science Inkubator / Photonic Inkubator, Berlin Institute of Health, HERTIN & Partner, Vossius & Partner, Sachs Associates

Technology transfer partners: 
Ascenion, Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft, Bayerische Patentallianz, BTO Bergen Teknologioverføring, Centro de Investigaciones Biomédicas de Canarias, EMBLEM Technology Transfer, FIST, IOCB TTO, KU Leuven - Centre for Drug Design, Lead Discovery Center, Max Planck Innovation, MRC Technology, PROvendis, TechnologieAllianz

Network partners:
ASTP-Proton, BIO Deutschland

Communication sponsors:
Going Public,, transkript

About BioVaria

BioVaria brings together Europe’s top scientists and technology transfer professionals with potential licensees and investors from the international biopharmaceutical industry.


Key features of BioVaria 2017:


  • Unique gathering of Europe's top scientists, technology transfer professionals, investors and industry representatives
  • Presentation of more than 50 licensable technologies and spin-offs originating from public research institutions and universities across Europe
  • Focus on patent-protected, commercially attractive opportunities covering therapeutics, diagnostics and research tools in the fields of cancer, infectious diseases, metabolism, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders, and in other disease areas
  • Interactive format combining 10-min oral presentations with a poster exhibition and plenty networking opportunities
  • Spin-off Panel presenting promising European life-science start-ups
  • Ample space to discuss scientific details face-to-face with the inventors
  • Jointly organized by Ascenion and a selected group of leading European technology transfer organizations


About Ascenion

Ascenion is an independent technology transfer company focussing on the life sciences. It is partner to over 20 research organizations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe, including life-science institutes of the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, the Hannover Medical School and the Charité. Ascenion’s multidisciplinary, industry-experienced team works closely with its partners to tap the potential of their research by identifying promising results, obtaining patent protection, and turning pure science into applied technology. Particular strengths are spin-off support and project development, where early-stage projects are transformed into assets that attract potential investors and licensees. This has led to the founding of numerous new companies and the transfer of innovative medical approaches into approved drugs, changing the lives of thousands of patients. Profits from Ascenion’s operative business and exit proceeds flow via its parent company, the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, to fund further translational research at its partner institutes.

Ascenion has also initiated the pan European showcasing event BioVaria to stimulate deal making and early collaboration between Europe’s academia and the global life-sciences industry.

Further information at: