Biotech Spain: Interview with Andreu Climent, Associate Founder and CEO of Corify Care
Andreu Climent is a Telecommunications Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). Since 2015, he has been an Associate Professor at the UPV and was a researcher at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital and Deputy Director of the CIBERCV in the period 2017-2019. In 2019 he founded together with María Guillem (UPV), Francisco Fernández-Avilés and Felipe Atienza (Hospital Gregorio Marañón) the Start-up Corify Care S.L, of which he is also the CEO. GENESIS Biomed has accompanied the Start-up since its inception.
Finally, in 2017 Climent decided to apply to the Caixa Impulse Validate call, which he finally succeeded. Thanks to this program, one of the best health entrepreneurship bootcamps in southern Europe, he receives training to acquire and improve his business skills, something absolutely necessary in the role of a startup CEO. In this program, he met Josep Lluís Falcó, whose experience in the journey from the laboratory to the market allowed Climent and his team to glimpse and complete the actions necessary for his invention to reach all patients.
Falcó, on the other hand, decides to undertake in May 2017, together with his partner Natalia de la Figuera, the GENESIS Biomed business project, a consulting firm specialized in providing support in the genesis of biomedical projects arising in hospitals (as is the case Corify), academic, research center or technology center, at the same time that GENESIS Biomed also offers continuous support not only in the genesis but also in the growth and maturation phases. Today GENESIS Biomed is a company that has grown only organically and with offices in Barcelona and Madrid, a turnover that already exceeds one million euros and a staff of twelve employees.
The Corify Care – GENESIS Biomed collaboration began in December 2017, by that time Climent was developing the possibility of creating the company, together with its co-founding partners María Guillem (UPV) and Francisco Fernández-Avilés and Felipe Atienza (the last two from Hospital Gregorio Marañón). From that moment on, Climent and Falcó had more than 3 years ahead with events such as the creation of the first Corify Business Plan, the constitution of the company, the closing of the first round of seed financing (€ 300,000 with a family office in Barcelona), obtain funding from EIT Health (AFFINE project, € 750,000), obtain CDTI Cervera funding (€ 1,000,000), close the series A funding round (€ 2,350,000) in addition to having achieved greater European public funding (details to be disclosed as from January 2022). All of this would not have been possible without the contribution of the GENESIS Biomed consulting team, and especially Alberto Rodríguez.
What prompted you to create Corify Care?
The main motivation for making the leap from the laboratory to a Start-up is to turn years of research into tools to improve people’s lives. As scientists we are usually satisfied with understanding the mechanisms of pathologies, or proposing treatment pilot tests, but many times these innovations remain in the drawer after being published as a scientific article. Getting our invention to improve the lives of millions of patients is a challenge and motivation that pushes us to work very hard.
How did the Caixa Impulse Validate program influence your professional career?
The Caixa Impulse program, supported by EIT Health, was a turning point in my career. As a scientist I had had the opportunity to be in some of the best laboratories in the world, but the process of going from an invention to a marketable medical device was still a blurry, dark cloud. During the 6 months of the CaixaImpulse program, we were able to meet agents from the entire transfer ecosystem, their experiences, difficulties and advice. Having references from who have walked the path before you is essential to be able to try to mark your own path. Specifically, it was essential for us to be able to meet Josep Lluís Falcó and GENESIS Biomed, since then we have been working together in each step and success.
How did the two institutions from which Corify was born, that is, the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, treat you?
Public institutions are increasingly aware of the importance of transferring their work to society, therefore, when we proposed our first patent to be exploited through a Start-up, we received full support from them. Both from the Hospital and from the University they supported us throughout the process. Spanish and regional legislation in this regard unfortunately continues to have significant room for improvement. There is too much ambiguity that makes it difficult for public institutions to have a clear, effective and safe roadmap to be able to return their investment to society. Despite this, thanks to the support of the specialized law firm DWF-RCD, the transfer process was reasonably fast.
With all this, I confirmed the gymkhana that is to establish a company, where as an administrator it is necessary to go on several occasions to the registry, tax agency, notaries, etc. I am convinced that as a country we can facilitate entrepreneurship by increasing digitization and interconnection between such important agents as the registry office or the tax agency.
What was the toughest moment you remember living on Corify?
I tend to forget hard times quickly, sometimes it is necessary to continue with energy and enthusiasm. If I had to specify one, I would say the months prior to the achievement of the last investment round. We were already 5 employees in the company and if the negotiations failed it would have been necessary to close the company. I will not say that it did not give me a sleepless night.
And the sweetest?
There have been many sweet moments. Every time our device is used on a patient and the patient is cured from the operating room, it is an incredible adrenaline rush. Another very sweet moment was February 26, 2021. That day we opened the financing round through Crowfunding with Capital Cell and in less than 8 hours we had to close it because we had reached 125% of the requested support. In total, more than 400 people have invested in our project, feeling such support and trust in Corify is very sweet, although without a doubt a great responsibility that pushes us and allows us to continue working with more energy.
What has been your experience working with GENESIS Biomed?
For Corify Care, GENESIS Biomed is our preferred partner, nothing would be possible if it weren’t for the constant support of Josep Lluís and his great team. From the first moment, by the end of 2017, until today, being able to ask them at any time all the doubts that arise in each of the phases and receive the advice and help of their enormous experience is what makes this whole adventure possible. In addition, its predictive capacity and critical analysis of the processes is what has made it possible for us to gain the confidence of investors.
What challenges does Corify face right now?
Corify Care continues to face many exciting challenges. Thanks to the last round of investment, during 2022 we will complete the clinical validation and it is planned to obtain regulatory approval for the commercialization of our technology. In parallel, our work is focusing on successfully meeting the challenges of large-scale industrialization and entry into various international markets.
With the perspective of time, which of the existing initiatives should be promoted or which new ones should appear to favour the creation of start-ups like yours?
It is a difficult question, since as an entrepreneur I know my experience and I am not sure to what extent each case can be extrapolated to the whole.
From my humble opinion, to promote the creation of successful start-ups it is necessary to act throughout the value chain. The best way to make a company succeed is if its innovation is unique and that is only possible if it is supported by quality fundamental science. That is why I consider it essential in the first place to promote basic science and accompany it with transfer training. It is necessary to ensure that doctoral and post-doctoral programs promote entrepreneurship among researchers.
Once the germ of the product and the start-up are defined, there are important initiatives necessary for the fruit to mature. Private financing is essential, it is necessary to ensure that as a society we have in our imagination that investing in companies based on innovation is more economically and socially profitable than investing in brick.
In summary, it is important to continue promoting training initiatives such as Caixa Impulse to promote entrepreneurship among highly trained research staff, and programs such as CDTI-Innvierte or Capital Cell that help private funds invest in these companies.
What would you recommend to entrepreneurs who are reading this interview?
I would personally make two recommendations: (1) don’t be afraid of failing. Corify Care is my second business project, the first was a failure, but in this world you learn by walking and it is necessary to be aware that failure is just a learning opportunity from which you have to get up quickly and continue working, and (2) , and possibly more importantly, surround yourself with experienced people who can help you in each phase, without a doubt, go to GENESIS Biomed and share your proposal. The more people give you feedback on your idea and help you improve it, the more robust it will be and the more likely it will be successful.
Since 2021, Falcó through GENESIS Biomed has become a partner of Corify Care. The collaboration between both companies continues and Falcó is currently a member of the Corify Care Board of Directors.
Corify Care has been one of the most important success stories that GENESIS Biomed has had in its 4 years of life, and it is undoubtedly one of the projects that will have the most impact on the health system in the coming years. In the words of Josep Lluís Falcó: “I want to sincerely thank Andreu and the entire Corify team for his trust in GENESIS Biomed, we are proud to see how cases like Corify make sense to our company”.