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Our purpose was to create a different workplace distant from the competitive academic atmosphere. A place where every member of the team is engaged within the project and feels free to share ideas, as well as where is able to combine personal and professional life. Building a sustainable environment, while receiving professional recognition and offering opportunities to grow further, respecting genders and believes of any kind. Zebrafish has made our inspiration and dreams come true: bringing ZeClinics’s culture to life.
The world suffered a financial crisis that affected all sectors, including science. Back then, Davide d’Amico and Ignasi Sahún met at the Center for Genomic Regulation of Barcelona (CRG). While they were working together, Davide was studying for his Ph.D. and Ignasi was doing his second postdoc. In the end, Davide decided to join Ignasi’s doctoral project when they had the real chance of sharing many hours of life discussion which made them become good friends. Ignasi had previous experience as an entrepreneur whereas Davide, still working on his Ph.D., had managed to put together a small business of his own. It was a little food service called Arancino which became very popular among tourists around the Barceloneta neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Javier Terriente had moved to Barcelona after finishing a postDoc stay in London in 2011. He joined Cristina Pujades’s laboratory, at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), where he met Simone Calzolari who was a Pre-Doc at that moment. Both had experience studying zebrafish development. Simone and Davide became friends in Italy years ago, and they found each other in Barcelona, again. Finally, the four of them, crossed paths with each other for different reasons and circumstances, started to meet up socially linked by a strong point in common; science. As a result of hours of conversations, experiments, sharing initiatives, future motivations, they became friends mostly aimed at sharing common feelings; unconformity, and their eagerness to get to do things better.
The band used to meet at Davide´s Arancino basement in order to work on the creation of a potential business launch. The foundation of ZeClinics in 2013 was the result of all the hours worked in that basement. Thanks to Universitat Pompeu Fabra Business Shuttle, who supported ZeClinics from the beginning of the foundation, ZeClinics founders received training in business management. The Barcelona Biomedical Research Park became their working environment where they welcomed their first international clients who trusted their model, as well as the first contracted members of the team.
ZeClinics, as a pioneer, completed its first biomedical crowdfunding through Capital Cell Platform in 2015 to develop a cancer research project called ZeOncoTest. That campaign was a full success, and it represented, later in 2017, the first partial exit of a biotech company after a crowdfunding campaign. The year after closing its round, another five Spanish biotech companies obtained financing for their projects.
ZeClinics got an SME instrument grant which worthed 1.8 million euros from Horizon 2020. The award was invested in developing a cardiovascular video-analysis software called ZeCardio that collected and analyses different cardiovascular parameters on zebrafish for drug discovery purposes. ZeClinics experienced substantial growth. They opened an office in the Almogàvers Business Factory in Poblenou while looking for a larger laboratory. Back then, a public tender was opened in Germans Tries i Pujol Research Institute located in Can Ruti’s campus to develop a zebrafish plant within the Comparative Medicine and Bioimage Center of Catalonia. This project was in line with the ZeClinics program of alternative models that fit the 3Rs principles (Reduction, Refinement, and Replacement). ZeClinics applied for it and finally won it, moving to their larger facilities in Badalona.
They founded ZeCardio Therapeutics, a small pharmaceutical company, although ambitious, seeking to discover drugs related to cardiovascular diseases. In 2020, ZeCardio Therapeutics managed to raise 800.000 euros during the COVID-19 pandemic. At this moment and time, ZeClinics’s team is composed of more than 30 members, whom mostly are Ph.D., national and international scientists. ZeClinics has its own zebrafish facilities in one of the most modern bioimage centers of Europe and regular clients located worldwide.
The success of a company comes with teamwork. Therefore, we made a special effort in creating a friendly working culture, focused on flexible working hours, sharing profit with the staff, and creating a continuously growing environment.
Thanks to having built a healthy company culture, everything we have achieved encourages intellectual freedom and an open mind spirit.
We are all working together to generate better, safer, and more efficient research.
We feel grateful to count with motivated scientists covering all different areas of drug discovery which goes from library screening, up to model generation and validation, safety and efficacy assessment, and Zebrafish biology
Most of all our scientists hold a Ph.D. title. They are flexible and have the ability to acquire in both basic and applied research projects, with a full perspective on the business translation of science.
Scott C. Baraban
Javier is a scientific expert in zebrafish development and research for pre-clinical assays. He is the author of multiple articles about the model.
Davide has strong knowledge about the effects of several neuroactive drugs on a number of animal behaviors and central nervous system functions.
Miguel has more than 15 years of working experience in asset management areas as well as finance corporate for a number of international institutions.
Ignasi's experience resides on drug-treatment and analysis of different animal models for phenotypical characterization. He is the author of several articles and he is branding and marketing strategy focus.
Simone is an expert in developmental biology, focused especially on the zebrafish model. He has a background in commercial strategy and business development in the CRO environment.
Scott C. Baraban is a Neurological Surgery Professor and William K. Bowes Jr. Endowed Chair in Neuroscience Research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where he leads the epilepsy research laboratory within the Department of Neurological Surgery. He received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Virginia (1990-94) and has been UCSF faculty since 1999. His NIH-funded research includes interneuron-based cell therapies, the first zebrafish models for epilepsy ever developed, and the first high-throughput drug screen using a zebrafish model for Dravet syndrome. Prof Baraban’s research has achieved a number of honors, including the Basil O’ Connor Scholar Research award, Klingenstein Fellowship, NIH EUREKA, and Javits awards. He received the Basic Science Research Recognition award which is the highest honor awarded to scientists by the American Epilepsy Society, in 2016.
Florian Engert is currently occupying a Molecular and Cellular Biology Professor position at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in 1997 from Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany. In 2002, he became Neuroscience Assistant Professor at Harvard University, where thereafter in 2006, he became Associate Professor. Florian Engert's laboratory works for establishing the larval zebrafish as a model system for visually induced behaviors and the underlying neuronal activity. Florian Engert was awarded the Janssen-Cilag Award by Young Investigators. He was also awarded McKnight, Klingenstein, and Dana Research Fellowships and he is a member of the Society for Neuroscience.