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11th BioVaria Sees Record Attendance

Startup Awards go to OPSYON and LIfT Biosciences

26 April 2018, Munich, Germany – Over 250 innovative minds gathered in Munich on April 23-24 for the 11th BioVaria to discuss emerging life-science trends and initiate partnerships between academia and industry. 63 peer-selected, patent-protected technologies originating from as many research institutes, universities and university hospitals from all over Europe were presented to decision makers from the biopharmaceutical industry and investment.

A panel on rare diseases moderated by Prof. Dr Horst Domdey, BioM, featured an international range of panellists representing academia, the biotech and pharma industry as well as patient and non-profit organisations. They discussed the particular challenges and opportunities of drug development for rare diseases and proposed innovative financing models to reduce risk and highlighted the need for public private partnerships. The panel also agreed that there remains an urgent medical need for more effective ways to diagnose and treat rare diseases. Particular efforts should be made to communicate which diseases are seen to be commercially tractable by industry and this information shared with academic researchers.

Another highlight was this year’s extended Startup Pitch & Partner Program featuring 15 European startups in two categories, ‘Emerging’ and ‘Rising’ startups. 10 of the startups were pre-selected to participate in the BioVaria Startup Award competition moderated by Dr Dirk Vocke, Associate Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Incubator, Merck KGaA, Germany, and Dr Nadine Sobotzki, Associate, M Ventures. Competing startups pitched their stories to the audience and a jury of first-tier venture capitalists, followed by a challenging Q&A session. Based on a set of pre-defined criteria covering technology, business concept, market and presentation skills the jury selected Munich-based OPSYON (Emerging) and London-based LIfT Biosciences (Rising) as winners. Both ventures focus on cancer immunotherapy. OPSYON generates new and effective immuno-oncology therapeutics with reduced systemic toxicities by combining the specificity of antibodies with the effectiveness of immune checkpoint inhibition. LIfT Biosciences pursues a novel approach to cell-based cancer treatment using cancer killing neutrophils. Their vision is to establish a scalable method to produce enough safe and effective neutrophils to provide a global and cost-effective cure to solid tumour cancers.

“BioVaria is the best startup event I have had the pleasure to attend,” said Alex Blyth, CEO of LIfT Biosciences. “The balance of startups to investors, biotech and big pharma companies was just perfect.”

The startups also received invaluable guidance from speed-dating sessions with investors and one-on-one mentoring sessions with dedicated experts. Moreover, they could benefit from an inspiring keynote delivered by Dr Hella Kohlhof, CSO of Immunic Therapeutics, who recently closed one of Europe’s largest ever Series A investment rounds.

The event was jointly organized by Ascenion and a further 16 technology transfer organizations from seven European nations.

BioVaria 2019 will take place on 8-9 May 2019 in Munich. Register at to receive news about the upcoming event.

Some of the technologies and startups presented during BioVaria 2018 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, Energy and Technology

BioM, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Life Science Inkubator / Photonik Inkubator, Abbvie, Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung, Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, Vossius & Partner, WuXi AppTec, HERTIN & Partner, Kador & Partner, LSP, 24IP Law Group, 3D-PharmXchange, ttopstart

Technology transfer partners:
Ascenion, Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft, Bayerische Patentallianz, BTO Bergen Teknologioverføring, Centre for Transfer of Biomedical Technologies, DKFZ - German Cancer Research Center, DZIF - German Center for Infection Research, EMBLEM Technology Transfer, IOCB Tech, KU Leuven - Centre for Drug Design and Discovery, Lead Discovery Center, LifeArc, Max Planck Innovation, Netval, PROvendis, TechnologieAllianz, University of Pardubice

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.


Further information:


Key features of BioVaria 2018:


  • Unique gathering of Europe's top scientists, entrepreneurs, technology transfer professionals, investors and industry representatives
  • Presentation of more than 60 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 an interactive exhibition and plenty networking opportunities
  • Start-up Pitch & Partner program with competition for the BioVaria Start-up Award, inspiring keynote and one-on-one mentoring
  • Ample space to discuss scientific details face-to-face with the inventors and entrepreneurs
  • 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 30 research organizations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe, including life-science institutes of the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, the Charité, Hannover Medical School, the Medical University of Innsbruck and the University Medical Center Göttingen. 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.


Further information at: