Rudi Pauwels raises 71 million euros for Biocartis
Belgian top scientist Rudi Pauwels has managed to raise 71 million euros in extra capital from entrepreneurs and multinationals for his Swiss biotechnology company Biocartis. The list of investors include major players like electronics powerhouse Philips and the American pharmaceutical group Johnson & Johnson in addition to investment companies owned by the families Colruyt supermarket chains and Paul Janssen founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica and biotech investor Rudi Mariën. “It was a conscious decision to approach entrepreneurs,” Pauwels explains, saying: “They are the only ones who are still willing to invest in new, innovative enterprises in the current financially unstable market.” The classic financing by venture capital providers in innovative projects has dried up completely. “The reluctance to take investment risks has simply become overwhelming,” he adds. Pauwels himself and a number of Biocartis managers will also make investments in Biocartis. He admits that market turbulence has left private investment as the only alternative. The notion of an IPO to collect additional funds was ditched after due examination. Biocartis plans to use the 71 million to introduce the first diagnostics system to facilitate fast and accurate diagnoses, with the launch date for Apollo, as it will be called, set for 2013. Pauwels believes the biggest advantage of this system is that it can be used to successfully detect illnesses, ranging from infectious diseases to cancer and Alzheimer. It can also be used with equal success to control food safety. The diagnostic system can best be compared with a DVD player. For the development of the system, Biocartis joined forces with Dutch electronics giant Philips. Biocartis itself develops and produces the trial cartridges carrying for example a blood sample, that are inserted in the diagnostic device.