A Biotech CRO Company

Meet the members of ZeClinics

Our vision

ZeClinics is a Biotech Contract Research Organization (CRO) and early-phase biopharmaceutical (PHARMA) company using zebrafish (Danio rerio) for safety and efficacy screenings of novel chemical molecules.

We are supported by the University Pompeu Fabra (UPFand allowed to grow within the exciting environment of the Barcelona Biomedicine Research Park (PRBB). Our business strengths rely on high technical expertise and top-notch research facilities, combined with attractive strategic partnerships and academic collaborations.

We aim to challenge the traditional drug discovery pipeline by offering a cheap, fast and reliable array of customized assays, to assess the safety and biomedical relevance of novel molecules using zebrafish.

In a challenging economic environment ZeClinics represents a fine example of a business model that uses research and innovation as a way to success.


Why zebrafish?

More than 25.000 papers published have allowed zebrafish to become an important tool for high-throughput screenings of small molecules with therapeutic effects. In that sense, both academy and pharmaceutical industry use zebrafish to save time and money in pre-clinical studies for assessing toxicity and efficacy of new drugs, in the fields of infection, cardiovascular diseases, neural disorders or cancer. In summary, the advantages of using an animal model such as zebrafish for biomedicine and drug discovery are multiple:

i) Drugs are administered directly in their swimming water. This feature has two main advantages, it saves time in the procedure, if compared for example with the time invested in injecting drugs in mice; and it helps to understand how a molecule behaves in terms of ADME - Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion - when confronted to a whole living animal versus its behavior in a biochemical or cell culture drug screening, which by nature will give a much limited information in that regard.

ii) The small size and high number of the zebrafish progeny allows the parallel and reproducible testing of several drugs and dosages in simple multiwell plates. In fact,  zebrafish reproduce quickly, producing 9,000 offspring in a lifetime, compared to only 300 offspring over a mouse's lifetime.

iii) Zebrafish share a high degree of conservation with humans in both their genome and their physiological processes (close to 80%), which permit to asses with certainty the possible toxicity or effects that a drug could have when administered to us.

iv) Zebrafish transparency, combined with a growing battery of fluorescent tissue-specific zebrafish transgenic lines, plus novel advances in imaging capture and processing allows to analyze in vivo the effects of drugs in groups of cells or single tissues.

v) Zebrafish maintenance costs are less than 1/1000th of mice maintenance costs (zebrafish are small and social, with 70 individuals per tank, versus only 5 mice per cage).

All these features have allowed the use of zebrafish to yield advances in the fields of developmental biology, oncology, toxicology, reproductive studies, teratology, genetics, neurobiology, environmental sciences, stem cell research and regenerative medicine, and evolutionary theory… and this is only the beginning!

Developing new drugs costs €500-1000 bn and takes 10-15 years. The pre-clinical phase is critical and expensive (30% total investment). Our solution for cutting time and budget is the use of zebrafish, an animal model that allows to obtain high quality data in a fast and inexpensive manner.

Why high quality data?

Zebrafish is a vertebrate whose genome is completely sequenced; who shares a similar physiology to humans, including many equivalent organs; who offers with a growing battery of genetic tools, which combined with organism’s transparency, permits the tracing of cells and easy genetic manipulation. These characteristics help ensure that information acquired through Danio rerio specimens is more accurate and informative than that obtained by in vitro assays, and thus easier to extrapolate to human biology.

Why fast and inexpensive?

Zebrafish maintenance is much less costly than other animal models traditionally used in chemical screenings. Its life cycle is faster and they can provide hundreds of eggs in a single day. Because the animal is small and permeable to many chemicals dissolved in water, high-throughput screenings can be achieved using very little test compound, resulting in enormous saving of time and resources.

Number of new approved drugs vs pharmaceutical R&D investment
Advantages of using zebrafish vs rodents

Founder team

Davide D’Amico, PhD (CEO)

Davide has extensive knowledge on the effects of several neuroactive drugs on a wide series of animal behaviors and central nervous system functions. He also has a long professional record in business management.

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Javier Terriente, PhD (CSO)

Javier is an international expert in zebrafish development and the exploitation of this animal model in pre-clinical assays. He has authored multiple articles on those subjects. Since the founding of the company, it is its scientific director.

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Ignasi Sahún, PhD (CMO)

Ignasi has a long experience in drug-treatment and analysis of different animal models for phenotypical characterization. He has published several articles on that topic. He also has extensive experiencie in branding and marketing strategy.

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Researchgate profile
Simone Calzolari, PhD (CCO)

Simone is a senior expert in development biology, focused especially on the zebrafish model. On the other hand, he has a long record in commercial strategy and business development in CRO environment.

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Associated Partner

Miguel Ezcurra, PhD ( CFO)

Miguel has +15 years working experience in the areas of asset management and corporate finance, having held multiple senior management positions for a number of international institutions.

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ZeClinics counts with a multidisciplinary team of talented scientists covering all different areas of drug discovery, from library screening up to lead generation (CRISPR) and validation, safety and efficacy assessment and zebrafish biology. Our skilled team can support your R&D project and make your research easy and fast. All our scientist staff hold a PhD title and show the flexibility and ability acquired in both basic and applied research projects, with a full perspective on the business translation of science. Get to know them more closely through our posts and social profiles and our LinkedIn company page!



Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB)

ZeClinics is located in Barcelona at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, one of the largest basic and translational biomedical research infrastructures in Southern Europe. We perform our services through different PRBB facilities

ZeClinics premises at Almogàvers Business Factory - Barcelona

Almogàvers Business factory

The Almogàvers Business Factory (ABF) is aimed at assist to the development of new businesses in various sectors and activities, offering incubation and pre-incubation spaces as well as different strategy, management, internationalization and corporate finance programmes that allow promoters of new companies, improve the knowledge and skills that contribute to the consolidation of its initiatives and their business excellence.

It is innovative environments in which business start to consolidate, with more guarantees, the basis of competitive growth. In this sense, born in the incubator promoted by Barcelona Activa it is synonymous with higher expectations of survival, considering that over 80% of companies continue to operate installed in the fourth year of life.

The collaborator entities of ABF (Pompeu Fabra University, E-Commerce Global Incubator, Nauta, AppStylus, McCann, INLEA Foundation, Banesto Foundation, Dinamon and Bihoop) are responsible for defining the profile of companies that they want to incubate and the entry requirements.

ZeClinics is supported by Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Pompeu Fabra University (UPF)

ZeClinics works under the umbrella of the Pompeu Fabra University, a young, public and modern university founded in 1990 and called to become one of the leading European universities.

Awarded with a CEI label (International Excellence Campus) by the Spanish Ministry of Education, UPF’s indicators have made it a benchmark for the Spanish and European university systems. In recent years, the University has begun to figure prominently in some prestigious international rankings.

These results are possible due to the high competitiveness of UPF lecturers and researchers. In that sense, the University model is primarily based on a policy of being an institution that is open to the world, incorporating prominent national and international researchers. This commitment is reflected in excellent indicators in research, such as the volume of funds coming from the EU – 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and H2020 - or indicators of scientific production. Additionally, the strategy begins to result in the form of patents and spin-offs of international impact.

Our Bio-environment

ZeClinics operates from the Bio-region of Catalonia, one of the most dynamics in Europe, with 90 public research centers and more than 400 life sciences academic groups. Private sector is conformed by more than 500 companies, including major international pharmaceutical companies like Almirall, Ferrer, Amgem, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Esteve, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche Group, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi-Aventis and Takeda, which represents the 29.4% of this economic sector volume and an estimated turnover of €15,600 m/year.