Publication date: 21/11/2018
Two Flemish entrepreneurs and academics have founded Novalis, a cutting edge biotech fund. The fund is an incubator fund: Novalis will found companies where it sees a gap in the biotech market. The focus will be on addressing the rapidly rising demand for bio-informaticians and scientific techniques to deal with the vast amounts of genetic and other biological data being gathered in the biotech and healthcare industries worldwide. Some service business models are also being contemplated. Investments will preferentially be made into its own business plans, but there is also an interest in hearing about new inventions by professors and PhD students. The fund also wants to collaborate with such people to turn their ideas into real businesses.
The founders of Novalis are professor Wim van Criekinge, a world authority in the bioinformatics field and previously founder of companies like Devgen, Genohm and MDxHealth, together with Jan Van den Berghe, entrepreneur, co-owner of the LIPA ‘family of companies’ (food and recycling) and until recently chairman of the board of Genohm SA, a Swiss-Flemish company recently sold to lab giant Agilent.
Novalis’ initial funding round was placed swiftly and a secondary closing is still ongoing, up to an initial maximum of 7.5mio euros. Among the investors are a number of Flemish families, as well as Michael Hengartner, the president of the University of Zürich.
Novalis starts with a healthy list of business ideas that now need to be vetted. For this, Novalis is being advised by Bart Rossel, inventor and founder of Oystershell Laboratories, which was also recently sold. A first batch of three companies will be incorporated imminently in any case.
Novalis has a presence in Ghent, Belgium, and in Silicon Valley. It also has a network in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and in Switzerland. Via its website www.noval.is, Novalis is always on the lookout for talented employees with a background in genetics and/or software development, as well as a few commercial and managerial profiles.