Open Accelerator announces winning Life Science Start-ups
Second edition of accelerator unveils seed funding winners

14 dicembre 2017

Milan, 14th December 2017 – ZCube today announces the winners of the second edition of its Open Accelerator programme aimed at Life Science start-ups and entirely supported by the Italian company: Zambon.

The winners and their awards are as follows:

  • ANANAS LIVER: A drug delivery system for chronic hepatitis limiting undesired side-effects in patients – University of Padua – Award: 100,000 euro seed investment and access to Zambon’s campus: OpenZone;
  • BIOREK: New diagnostic biomarkers and predictors of kidney cancer - San Raffaele Hospital, Milan – Award: 50,000 euro seed investment and access to Zambon’s campus: OpenZone;
  • PD-INNOVATIONS: Integrated solution for Parkinson’s patients covering diagnosis and monitoring of symptoms as well as management of therapy – Bio-medical Campus of the University of Roma and the University of Oxford – Award: 25,000 euro seed investment and access to Zambons’ campus: OpenZone;
  • PDMEE: Digital platform for real-time management of symptoms and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, management of pharmaceutical therapy and tailoring of treatment to the individual – University of Padua - access to Zambons’ campus: OpenZone;
  • GIMOpd: Tailored, efficient management of Parkinson’s disease based on patented neuroimaging integrated with biomarkers and movement analysis - Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS) - access to Zambons’ campus: OpenZone.

ANANAS LIVER, BIOREK and PD-INNOVATIONS will also each benefit from consultancy services worth 5,000 euros provided by Deloitte Italy and 3 legal advisory consultations by the international firm Bird&Bird.

“With its second edition Open Accelerator has gone international and confirms its key role in providing concrete support to young researchers and entrepreneurs. It plays a key part in helping innovation in Life Science reach maturity by providing a high quality training programme that a network of highly qualified experts contributes to,” comments Elena Zambon, President at Zambon Spa. "We feel strongly that innovation should be rewarded and it’s with this objective in mind that Open Accelerator offers the winning start-ups an initial seed investment intended to help them take their first steps in the world of business.”

The call for ideas focused on four key areas: Drug delivery systems; Open source prototyping: medical devices, biomarkers, diagnostics; Wearables & digital health; and Big data. The call for ideas was launched in April 2017 and on closing, in early July 2017, 124 proposals had been submitted from across the globe. Further to careful selection, the most deserving projects were chosen and were able to take part in a 12 week acceleration programme that started in September. The programme was devised by Zcube in partnership with Deloitte’s Officine Innovazione, to provide researchers and scientists with the opportunity to work on their idea and/or prototype and develop a sustainable and profitable development strategy for their start-up’s business model.

“We innovate with passion and are committed to knowledge-sharing - explains Giovanni Rizzo, Chief of the Innovation Division, Zcube - via our accelerator programme we provide start-ups with a launch-pad into the Life Science sector. The programme takes place at OpenZone, a scientific campus that houses Life Science businesses and represents the ideal environment to provide start-ups with the right level of support ranging from technology to business development.”

The programme features the support of over 150 mentors, advisors and international and national partners that include entrepreneurs, business angels, venture capitalists and experts from major businesses in addition to those representing the four partners of the accelerator: Unicredit Start Lab, Innogest, Italian Angel for Biotech (IAB) and the Gaetano Marzotto Award.

The panel examining the 13 finalist projects was composed as follows:

  • Emil Abirashid, Chairman of the Selection Commettee Premio per l'Impresa, Premio Marzotto;
  • Luca Benatti, CEO Erydel and President Italian Angels for Biotech (IAB);
  • Simonetta Bocca, Global HR, Open Organization and Digital Strategy, Zambon Spa;
  • Michele Gaiotto, Investment Strategy Analyst, Secofind;
  • Claudio Giuliano, Managing Partner and Founder, Innogest;
  • Lorenzo Leoni, Managing Partner, Ti Venture.
  • Francesca Perrone, Head of Territorial and Sectorial Development Plans, Unicredit;
  • Roberto Tascione, CEO, Zambon Spa and President Zcube;
  • Alberto Trombetta, Head of Illiquid Investments Advisory, Gruppo Esperia;
  • Elena Zambon President, Zambon Spa;
  • Chiara Zambon Vice President, Zambon Company.


Zcube, Zambon’s Reasearch Venture, scouts and supports innovative technology within the Life Science sector. Thanks to an expert team and a network of entrepreneurs, business angels and venture capitalists, Zcube invests and supports innovative ideas from their early development phases right through to market launch in the drug delivery, medical devices and digital health areas. Zcube uses an ‘open source’ research model with the objective of developing specialist innovative products in its key therapeutic areas leveraged via its partnerships with international research centres, universities and biotech businesses.

About Open Zone
OpenZone is a scientific campus near Milan with over 7500mq of laboratories and offices 15.550mq, hosting 22 companies operating in the field of biotechnology and Life Sciences. OpenZone is a place where knowledge is shared amongst multiple partners in the life science to foster innovation, synergy and shared development as well as a place aimed at fostering the development of relationships with the community at large. OpenZone is set to undergo a significant re-development plan that will double available space. With its over 37.000mq, OpenZone is a prime candidate to take on a leading role in innovation and positions itself as a point of reference for the Italian and international Life Science sector.

About Zambon
Zambon is an entrepreneurial family business operating in the pharmaceutical and chemical sector for over 110 years. With over 2800 employees in 19 countries across 3 continents: Europe, America and Asia. In 2016 Zambon recorded 713 million euro turnover, 600 of which deriving from the pharmaceutical sector. Founded in 1906 in Vicenza, thanks to its products and high quality health services, Zambon has earned over the years a solid international reputation. Zambon is especially well-established in respiratory health, pain management, women’s health and central nervous system rare disease treatment such as cystic fibrosis and Parkinson’s disease. The group is also active in the pharmaceutical supply chain via Zach - Zambon Chemical- in the production of APIs, generic and custom products. Zambon has manufacturing units in Italy, Switzerland, France, Brazil and China and its products are commercialised in 84 countries. The group is also active in the realisation of patient support programmes (PSP) via Italassistenza which was founded in 1993 and is the first qualified international home health and social care service network for the elderly, sick and disabled.

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