Spin off companies

Although this is by no means expected from ICREA researchers, it so happens that sometimes they hit on something that shows promise of becoming a powerful new technology, but it seems impossible to develop that further without significant investment of time and money. In these cases, many choose to explore the option of creating a spin-off company dedicated to the concept.

List of spin off companies


    Jointly supported by the Vall d’Hebron Institut d’Oncologia (VHIO), the Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Joan Seoane.
    Born in April 2013.

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    Mosaic Biomedicals is a drug discovery and development company located in Barcelona. Mosaic is focused on the development of personalized cancer treatments with a dual mechanism of action to eliminate cancer stem cells (CSC) and reactivate the tumor’s immune system.

    On the one hand, CSCs are believed to be responsible for tumour relapse, metastasis and resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. CSCs are, thus, critical therapeutic targets. On the other hand, the immune system plays a critical role in cancer. The genomic and epigenomic alterations of tumours generate immunogenic antigens that engage an immune response. However, many tumours develop mechanisms to escape the immune system normally by co-opting immune-checkpoint pathways to generate immunosuppression. As a consequence, treatments designed to block the cancer-induced immunotolerance lead to tumour eradication.

    Taking these evidences together, treatments with this dual mechanism of action targeting CSCs and the immune check-point should lead to safer and more effective therapies for cancer patients. In addition, a companion diagnostic test will complement each new therapeutic agent in order to identify those patients that would benefit from the therapy, giving rise to the personalized medicine. This approach increases the success rate for oncology drugs and decreases development time and associated costs.

    Mosaic Biomedicals was generated as a result of the European Research Council Proof of Concept, ERC PoC “Glioma” and a PROVA’T (CERCA and FEDER) grants. Mosaic has established collaborative projects with leading international academic laboratories and is the coordinator of a National project with VHIO awarded with the Retos de Colaboración initiative (Ministry of Science and Innovation). Mosaic has been granted with an Empresa Nacional de Innovación S.A. (ENISA) public funding instrument and has received the support of the private investors Versant Ventures, a prestigious Life Sciences Venture Capital firm with headquartes in Silicon Valley (CA, US) along with the largest venture capital firm in Spain, La Caixa Capital Risc, and local Business Angels.

    In 2017, Mosaic has signed a transformative deal with Celgene and Northern Biologics that accelerates clinical trials of our lead candidate MSC-1. In recognition of this outstanding achievement, Mosaic was awarded with the Bioèxit award 2017 granted by CataloniaBio, the association of companies in the health and life sciences arena in Catalonia.

    In addition, Mosaic was recognized in 2012 as the “Biosciences Start-up with the Greatest Growth Potential” voted by 25 experts from the biotech industry and venture capital as the “Best Biotech Project in Spain 2012” by the Spanish Association of Biocompanies (ASEBIO), The Science and Technology Spanish Foundation (FECyT), the Spanish Association of Biotechnology (SEBiot) and the Spanish Association of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SEBBM). 


    Supported by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), the Institut de Recerca Bioèdica de Barcelona (IRB Barcelona) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Victor Guallar.
    Born in December 2015.

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    Nostrum Biodiscovery is a biotechnological company focused on the computational biology sector and specifically; in the structure-based drug design area dedicated to early drug discovery and development based on rational design techniques.

    For 12 years, Dr. Modesto Orozco and Dr. Victor Guallar supported by top-tier public research institutions as Barcelona SuperComputing Center (BSC), Institute for Research in Biomedine (IRB Barcelona), ICREA and Universitat de Barcelona (UB) have been developing innovative in silico tools to reduce pharmaceutical and biotechnological R&D costs while improving the productivity and future profitability of the drug discovery process.

    Nostrum Biodiscovery technologies represents a unique breakthrough in this field since they will be bringing key features to pharmaceutical discovery users as the new approach to molecular simulation, target characterization, drug recognition and an integrated molecular dynamics into the drug value chain. 


    Jointly supported by the Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB), the Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Lluís Ribas de Pouplana.
    Born in June 2005.

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    Omnia Molecular SL (Omnia) is a drug discovery
    company focused on the development of new
    antibiotics, antifungals, or anti-parasitic drugs.
    The company was founded in 2005, and started
    laboratory operations in 2008. Since that time
    Omnia has raised over 4 M€ to finance its
    operations, and has employed over 15 scientists
    at its laboratories in the Barcelona Science Park.
    Today the company continues its search for a
    new drug to fight antibiotic-resistant infections,
    particularly those caused by gram (-) bacteria in
    hospitalized patients.
    Omnia’s proprietary platform for new drug
    selection represents a powerful tool for the
    discovery of new anti-infective compounds.
    Omnia’s approach depends on an innovative use
    of the human protein synthesis machinery that
    allows fast screening for active, non-toxic
    molecules that inhibit the growth of pathogens.
    The company actively pursues joint projects
    with other drug discovery companies and
    academic groups, and has good experience in
    the coordination of European projects. From
    2010-2014 Omnia is the coordinator of three
    successful applications for European projects,
    involving seven partners from five different
    countries. Similarly, the company pursues and
    develops collaborative projects with large
    pharmaceutical companies that share our same

    “ICREA’s commitment to the support of
    intellectual property transfer by its scientists
    was instrumental in the birth of Omnia. From its
    inception the company was determined to allow
    the societal forces that supported its preliminary
    research to participate in its potential
    commercial gains. This attitude, however, needs
    to be matched by the willingness from public
    institutions to remove hurdles and facilitate the
    complicated circumstances that a new start-up
    will always encounter. The legal support and the
    motivation provided by ICREA contributed, for
    example, to our success in raising a first round of
    investment and the recruitment of our major
    investing partner”. Lluís Ribas de Pouplana.


    Supported by the Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (IRB Barcelona) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Salvador Aznar Benitah
    Born in May 2019. 

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    Ona Therapeutics is a biotech company, spin-off of ICREA and IRB, specialized in the discovery and development of therapeutic biologics targeting tumor metastatic-initiating cells and lipid metabolism. It was co-funded in February 2019 by ICREA researcher Salvador Aznar Benitah and Valerie Vanhooren (CEO). It is currently based at the Parc Cientific de Barcelona (PCB) and IRB Barcelona. ONA Therapeutics has been launched through an investment by Asabys Partners, who is a venture capital firm from Barcelona investing across the board in human healthcare, specialising in health-tech and biopharma industries.

  • Orchestra Scientific S.L.

    Supported by the Institut Català d'Investigació Química (ICIQ) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor José Ramón Galán-Mascarós.
    Born in December 2017.

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    Orchestra Scientific S.L.

    Orchestra Scientific SL is born as a start-up company with the aim to exploit the commercial potential of recent patents and know-how developed by ICREA Prof. JR Galán-Mascarós at ICIQ. Our team is designing new economic solutions for the characterisation and purification of materials with special interest in renewable energies and CO2 mitigation and valorisation.