DIVERSA is a biotechnology spin-off from the Santiago de Compostela Health Research Institute and the Galician Health Service
Working with pharma and biotech companies, we identified a common need for delivery solutions in drug development. Overcoming biological barriers is a crucial step to produce efficient pharmaceutical products. Our formulations make this happen.
María de la Fuente, co-founder and CEO/CSO of DIVERSA, has a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical technology, nanotechnology, and drug administration from the University of Santiago de Compostela. In addition, she has training in management, direction, and entrepreneurship, highlighting his participation in the Senior Management Program of Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer Institutions of the University of Navarra (IESE), the program in Business Leadership Development and Team Management from ESADE (Ramon Llull University), and the Caixaimpulse program, taught by the Barcelona School of Management, for knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship. She has completed an Executive MBA (Galicia Business School). She has also participated in Bootcamps such as Oncostars and PANACEA in Oxford and received additional training in programs from the Xunta de Galicia (GAIN -Oxentia- and ACIS), as well as other Europeans (EIT Health). Her previous activity in technology transfer is related to the license to Advancell SL of several patents, being co-inventor of them, and to the participation in knowledge transfer during her stay in the SOP-UCL. Concerning her professional experience, María is the head of the Nano-Oncology and Translational Therapeutics group at the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela (IDIS), Clinical University Hospital, and has experience in leadership, teamwork, and resource management. From her professional independence as Principal Investigator, she has raised more than 4.5M€ of public and private funds in competitive calls, of which 0.6M€ have been specific for technology transfer.
Abi Vázquez, co-founder and COO of DIVERSA, has a degree in biology, a master’s degree in Biomedical Research, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from the University of Santiago de Compostela. Her doctoral thesis focused on providing solutions to face one of the biggest current challenges in oncology, the metastases, and moving towards the concept of personalized medicine. She also has training in technology transfer through her participation in various courses and workshops at renowned business schools such as the CaixaImpulse Validate Program (Barcelona School of Management). Abi has been fully involved from the conception of the project to the establishment of the company. She has participated in the development of the technology, the standardization of procedures, elaboration and validation of the business model, and selection and interaction with strategic partners.
Rafael López, medical advisor and the third co-founder of DIVERSA, is head of the Medical Oncology Service of the Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago de Compostela (CHUS) and professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), as well as head of the research group of the IDIS of Translational Medical Oncology (ONCOMET). He participates in international and national projects as principal investigator and belongs to different groups and consortia. He is responsible for the CHUS Clinical Trials Unit, with more than 100 projects currently underway. Furthermore, he has been involved in more than 25 competitive projects in the last five years, and as a result, he is a co-inventor of 6 patents. He is a co-founder of the spin-off NasasBiotech SL.
Víctor Francis, DIVERSA’s business developer, is a solution- oriented sales professional with more than 15 years of experience in life sciences, more than ten years of practical experience in research, and more than five years in marketing and business development in Germany and the United States, managing sales for more than $5M, and achieving continued growth. He will be in charge of studying the market, customers, suppliers, defining the best marketing and commercial strategies, and establishing long-term relationships to expand the business. It will also attend trade shows, such as conferences, fairs, and forums that allow him to keep up to date with the technologies and solutions offered by the competition and must be permanently updated to be able to optimize the quality of the products and the competitiveness of the costs. He will be in charge of establishing explorative and collaborative agreements with third parties and establishing the appropriate framework to define projects for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.
Cristina Cotelo, full-time specialist technician of the DIVERSA laboratory. Cristina is a senior technician in analysis and control, chemical branch, with knowledge of chemical, biological, and physical waste management in a public health laboratory. Cristina has experience as a laboratory technician at the Santiago de Compostela Health Research Institute, working in the Nano- oncology and Translational Therapeutics laboratory, and previously in the USC Nanobiofar research group, also as a laboratory technician. She has also worked in pharmaceutical companies such as Lonza and Advancell S.L., and as a quality technician in the cyclotron. Cristina will be in charge of managing the stock of material, ordering spare parts when required, preparing the equipment and maintaining it, recording and examining the results of the experiments and executing the development of new formulations on a laboratory scale (pilot plant).
Laura Taina, lab researcher of DIVERSA. Laura studied Pharmacy at Universidad Complutense from Madrid, where she graduated in 2017. In the same year, she started a Master of Science in Biopharmaceuticals at King’s College London, where she performed her Master thesis in medicinal chemistry aiming to find new antibiotics for Tuberculosis. After graduation, Laura joined Prof. Thurston’s lab, in a drug discovery project aiming to find new candidate molecules for Tinnitus. A few months later, she joined AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK; where she was part of the Advanced Drug Delivery team. In this company, she worked as a pharmaceutical scientist, being part of the formulation development process for small molecules and PROTACs. In November 2020 she started her PhD at Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela, where she is currently based. Her thesis aims to find new delivery approaches for nucleic acids.
Luis Ruiz, DIVERSA’s business advisor and investor, has a solid scientific background with ten years of academic research. He has been involved, since 2000, in the creation and management of start-up companies in the biomedical field from academic technology transfer. He has raised more than 60M€ and allowed 12 research projects from academia to reach the clinical stage (some are currently in phase II or more advanced).
Anthony Brown, DIVERSA’s scientific advisor, has over 30 years of experience leading small molecule and biological drug discovery programs. He also has direct experience in M&As leadership, licensing, financing through IPOs, private investment, and academic/industrial grants. He has founded several biotech start- ups and is currently the founder and owner of Drug Discovery Limited.
Oscar Pérez, DIVERSA’s business advisor, is an expert in marketing, pricing and market access, business and commercial development, and executive management. He has more than 21 years of experience in obtaining results, leading the transformation of culture and organizational change at the global (corporate headquarters) and local (affiliates) levels in companies listed on NASDAQ (Amgen, Celgene) and privately owned multinationals (Ferrer Internacional).
Eric Mayes, DIVERSA’s scientific advisor, has a BA in Physics from Arkansas State University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Bath. Eric has over 15 years of experience in developing and leading materials technology companies. He has extensive business experience as Director of Business Development, CEO, and Executive Director of different companies. He was named “2003 Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Royal Society of Chemistry due to his founding role in NanoMagnetics Ltd. He is currently CEO of Endomagnetics Ltd., lectures internationally on nanomaterials commercialization and technology entrepreneurship, and is an advisor to the Texas Health Catalyst from the University of Texas at Austin.
David Bott, DIVERSA’s scientific advisor, has more than 25 years of experience in the development and commercialization of material technology. He was Chairman of Oxford Biomaterials Ltd., Non- Executive Director of Oxford Advanced Surfaces Ltd., and later Director of Innovation Platforms for the new UK Technology Strategy Council (now Innovate UK). He also has experience as an advisor to FirstVentures, a venture capital fund that focuses on advanced materials and nanotechnology.
Felicity Sartain, DIVERSA’s scientific advisor, is a chemist with more than ten years of administrative, business, and research experience in life sciences, medical technology, and clean technology. Felicity has been linked to and working in the nanomedicine field since 2009. She also has business experience, being the founder of Profiscio Ltd., co-founder of NanoScientium Ltd., focused on supporting nanomedicine companies, and COO and co-founder from Closed Loop Medicine. Before this, Felicity was a program director at Bio Nano Consulting, where she managed multimillion-dollar nanotechnology projects, developed business and market opportunities, and closed global deals.
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