VV3TT invests in Sibylla Biotech, a cross-disciplinary plattform for the next generation rational Drug Discovery

Joint EIF-CDP investment initiative ItaTech is steadily progressing as a capability building platform and Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer announces their sixth investment as an amazing example of cross fertilization among different universities and research institutes in a joint spin-off company from University of Trento-CIBIO, University of Perugia and INFN – Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, and leveraging Fondazione Telethon’s investment in excellent research conducted at the Telethon Dulbecco Institute.

Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer (VV3TT) fund by VERTIS SGR and advised by VENTURE FACTORY, invests Euro 2,4M on Sybilla Biotech, a spin-off company from University of Trento, University of Perugia and Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Italy, dedicated to developing a revolutionary platform of Drug Discovery.

The scientists who founded Sibylla Biotech have developed the most advanced platform for in-silico drug discovery. Sibylla has in-licensed such a platform and its multidisciplinary team is further developing the technology. The innovation is based on applying innovative algorithms derived from advanced mathematical methods of theoretical physics to transformative drug discovery protocols. These proprietary techniques have enabled to reveal with atomic resolution the folding and misfolding mechanisms of bio-medically relevant proteins, thereby unveiling an entirely new class of pharmacological targets and at the same time enabling ultra-fast assessment of druggability of complex proteins, slashing development costs and computing time by order of magnitudes.

Lidia Pieri, CEO of Sibylla Biotech, says, ” We are thrilled to have VV3TT fund on board, as this will provide Sibylla Biotech with the ability to step-up all our activities and provide the boost needed in making our in-silico Drug Discovery platform a key enabler in the breathless quest of new therapies for many rare, undruggable or lethal diseases. Sibylla’s vision, now shared by VV3TT, considers a multidisciplinary approach to complex problems as the way to innovation, and comes from a story of scientific passion and excellence. Today we live a pioneering challenge towards a trailblazing breakthrough.

“Italy is among the best countries in the world for quality of research and standing of researchers” says Roberto Della Marina, Partner of the Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer fund and Managing Partner of Venture Factory. “Sibylla Biotech is a striking example of the power of open mindness and cross-disciplinarity across different universities and research institutions, whose cutting-edge innovation potential has been enabled by VV3TT, our Tech Transfer fund. We are excited to support Sibylla in their process of radically improving rational drug design in order to generate a profound impact in the health of citizens and the Pharma industry”.

“Sibylla’s story is an example of success and of how we imagine the future of research, evolving into entrepreneurship. It begins as a remarkable interdisciplinary research study across different disciplines with collaboration among several scientific institutes and research centres: the University of Trento and Perugia, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics – INFN, Telethon. These organizations, together with HIT – Hub Innovazione Trentino, help researchers create a start-up and encourage funding through Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer. A virtuous cycle involving research, technology transfer and finance.” Flavio Deflorian, Deputy Rector of University of Trento and Prorector with mandate to support the business sector.

“The Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) is continuously involved in promoting and supporting knowledge transfer from basic science to society. Sibylla Biotech is a remarkable example in which theories from elementary particles physics became innovative tools to describe basic biological processes. This interdisciplinary approach that involves other important partners, the Universities of Trento and Perugia and Telethon Foundation, demonstrates that a much stronger interconnection between different science fields could generate very important and useful impacts on economy and society. The further involvement of the important partner Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer will guaranty the necessary investments to support this very innovative entrepreneurship” states Ezio Previtali, chair of the INFN Technological Transfer National Committee.

“An average of 3 spin-off companies are started every year by research activity carried out at the University of Perugia and we look forward to an important growth in the next few years. Our commitment to support innovative companies is clearly proved by their survival rate: 70% of the 50 spin off companies that have been established since 2004 at our University are still in business.” says Prof. Franco Moriconi, Rector of the University of Perugia. “Breakthrough innovation and multidisciplinary expertise in rational drug discovery are the strengths of spin-off Sibylla Biotech, and the VV3TT fund will, without a doubt, bring about further important improvements, positively boosting the company’s growth by exploiting its unique ability to drive the identification of new therapeutics for critical and unmet medical needs. This is without a doubt an exciting milestone, achieved thanks to the successful collaboration among three centers of scientific research excellence. The University of Perugia is proud to play a part in this leap forward”.

“We are proud and delighted that research funded by Telethon Foundation once again demonstrates potential industrial applicability – as reported by Fondazione Telethon – This investment is a much-needed boost to continue in the path of research excellence stemming from collaboration among Italian scientists, universities and research institutes”.


About ItaTech

ItaTech is a dedicated Technology Transfer (TT) investment Platform in Italy. ItaTech’s objective is to nurture Italy’s ecosystem for innovation and international competitiveness by facilitating access to equity and innovation investments over the whole business life-cycle, from the start-up and seed stages to the growth/expansion stage as well as the valorization and commercialization of Intellectual Property (IP). Through ItaTech, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will jointly provide up to EUR 200M to finance selected investment vehicles dedicated to the TT in Italy.

About Sibylla Biotech

Sibylla Biotech S.r.l. is a spin-off company of Università di Trento, Università di Perugia and INFN – Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare. Company activity is based on applying innovative algorithms derived from advanced mathematical methods of theoretical physics to original drug design protocols. These new powerful techniques have enabled to reveal with atomic resolution the folding and misfolding mechanisms of bio-medically relevant proteins, thereby unveiling an entirely new class of pharmacological targets. Powered by passion for finding things out, together with academic and industrial partners, Sibylla is opening new paths in rational drug discovery research. More info: www.sibyllabiotech.it

About Vertis Venture 3 Tech Transfer

VV3TT is an early-stage closed-end fund managed by VERTIS SGR with the exclusive support of Venture Factory. VV3TT is the first venture capital fund in Italy entirely dedicated to tech transfer from Universities and Public Research bodies launched under the ITATECH platform. EIF investment in VV3TT is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing.

About Vertis SGR

Vertis is an asset management company specialized in “Innovative Made in Italy” industries. Vertis is the only private equity and venture capital player located in Southern Italy, with headquarters in Naples, and an operative office in Milan. Its senior team has more than 120 years of cross-sectorial experience in finance, industry, research and consulting. More info: www.vertis.it

About Venture Factory 

Venture Factory is the exclusive advisory company of Vertis Venture 3 Technology Transfer fund. It is led by a team of senior professionals with significant background in venture capital, multinational industries, technology transfer and research. Venture Factory works together with universities, research institutions, corporations and venture capital funds in order to turn great discoveries into successful products, services and companies. More info:  www.venturefactory.tech