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Story 13 May 2024

EIC ePitching on Pharmaceutical and Biotech: Unleashing Innovation in Life Science


Six pharmaceutical and biotech companies, supported by the European Innovation Council, pitched their solutions at the recent EIC ePitching event, which took place on 24 April, attracted more than 40 investors from leading venture capital firms. The initiative was part of the EIC Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support programme, which is one of the EIC’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS).

Discover the selected companies that pitched during this session 

This event was organized under the EIC Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support programme.  

Among the innovative solutions showcased were technologies and products leveraging explainable AI for rapid RNA drug discovery, setting new standards in precision medicine and clinical development, presented by Abzu. Furthermore, Genewity introduced their lentiviral patient gene platform, enhancing life expectancy and quality for immuno-impaired/autoimmune patients. Hoba Therapeutics is developing therapeutic treatments for chronic neuropathic pain and sensorineural hearing loss.  

Smart Immune presented a ProTcell, a thymus-empowered T cell progenitor platform that effectively and rapidly re-arms the immune system against cancer and infection, unlocking the potential of allogeneic T cell therapies.  

ErVimmune develops next-generation cancer vaccines and T-cell therapies for patients who do not respond to current immunotherapies. They focus on addressing high unmet medical needs in ovarian cancer and Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). 

Finally, PROSION Therapeutics introduced a radically new class of therapeutics to redefine druggability. Through their proprietary ProM-technology, they are able to unlock disease-relevant target proteins inside the cell that were previously considered unreachable or undruggable. 

Prosion Therapeutics, headquartered in Cologne, and ErVimmune, based in Lyon, emerged as the best pitches of the day. Both companies highlighted the large number of life science investors attending the event and expressed their excitement about potential funding opportunities. 

ePitching Attendees


Addressing Unmet Medical Needs in Cancer treatment 

Meet Nathalie, a pro-active, passionate, and highly motivated professional with over 10 years of experience in Business Development and Alliance Management in the healthcare industry. Her unwavering drive for innovation has positioned her as a key player in the development of groundbreaking immunotherapies at ErVimmune, a leading biotech company founded in October 2019 by Prof. Stéphane Depil. With strong financial support from Bpifrance and life science investor Seventure, ErVimmune has quickly established itself as a leading player in the field of immunotherapy.

ErVimmune is at the forefront of developing revolutionary immunotherapies that combine cancer vaccines and T-cell therapies. With a focus on addressing a high medical need in cold tumors, ErVimmune aims to provide effective treatment options for patients who have limited therapeutic options, by developing the next generation of cancer vaccine and TCR-T therapies. Nathalie, Stéphane and their dedicated team are committed to pushing the boundaries of medical science to bring hope to those in need. 

A key aspect of ErVimmune's approach is the discovery of more accurate tumor epitopes that are shared between patients. By focusing on non-conventional cancer epitopes derived from endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), ErVimmune aims to unlock the potential of these unique markers in targeting cancer cells. ErVimmune's research methodology encompasses a comprehensive approach, utilizing bioinformatics and proteomics to gain a deeper understanding of tumor epitopes. The uniqueness of their solution is highlighted by Nathalie Donne “By using the power of data science and generative AI, we can identify those tumors epitopes and based on those data, we run proteomics to show the evidence of the non-expression of those epitopes in healthy cells and the expression only on tumor cells, which it allows us to have a very really high level of specificity of the product. Then, we pursue immunoassays with immunogenicity test and for functional validation."


ErVimmune recently achieved a highly successful interaction with the FDA, where they discussed the progress and plans for their multi-epitope cancer vaccine, ErVac01. This innovative vaccine exhibits promising potential in addressing relapsed/refractory Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC), positioning ErVimmune favorably for its upcoming first-in-human (FIH) clinical trial.  

Currently seeking an investment of €20 million, with €11.5 million to be mirrored by the European Investment Bank, ErVimmune showcases its commitment to advancing groundbreaking immunotherapies. 

"The collaboration between EIC and EuroQuity (Bpifrance) is an excellent opportunity for EIC selected companies to showcase their innovations and present their technology to life science investors. This event specifically caters to early-stage companies in the biotech field, providing a unique platform for investment at our stage of development." 

Revolutionizing the fight against “Undruggable” Proteins 

In the rapidly-evolving field of medicine, the battle against complex diseases often hinges on the ability to target specific proteins that play crucial roles in the progression of these conditions. However, some proteins have long been considered "undruggable" due to their complex structure and elusive nature.  

PROSION Therapeutics, founded by Dr. Slim Chiha, a highly driven entrepreneur and Ph.D. in Chemistry with a special interest in drug development, is challenging this notion by bridging the gap between small molecules and biologics, opening up new possibilities in the fight against aggressive cancers and other challenging diseases. 

At the core of PROSION's success is its revolutionary ProM technology. “We found a way to control the most widely used language between disease-driving proteins and the disease state. Through this new approach, you can make a lot of so-called undruggable disease drivers finally druggable. The term of undruggable refers to proteins that have posed a challenge to traditional therapeutic interventions, as they could not be blocked to have an effect on the disease.” ProMs go beyond the limitations of traditional small molecules and biologics, offering a high level of specificity to engage complex intracellular targets.  



  Crystal structure of PROSION Tx’ ProM-modality binding to the target protein (in pink). 

The advent of PROSION's technology has far-reaching implications for medicine and patient care. By targeting previously elusive proteins, they open up possibilities for developing innovative treatments for aggressive cancers and other challenging diseases.  

The biotech company takes pride in collaborating with a diverse range of investors and institutes, including Freigeist, ZukunftBIO.NRW, Leiden University Medical Center, Oncode Institute, The Leibniz Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie, and Cologne University. These partnerships enable the company to leverage expertise and resources, accelerating their development. 

PROSION Therapeutics is actively pursuing funding, aiming to secure €4-5 million, and they have optimistic expectations that the EIC ePitching event will serve as a catalyst for their future endeavors.

“It was a very exciting session with interesting insights and a very engaged set of entrepreneurs and investors. The pitching event provided a vibrant platform for us to connect with influential investors and triggered many follow up discussions afterward. So, indeed - our expectations were completely met, and the participation offered us numerous opportunities for meaningful engagement with VCs.” 

“The investors were highly interactive, engaging actively with us by asking very technical questions following our presentation. I think this contributed significantly to a very dynamic and stimulating session! At the end, the first place was very encouraging but the most value definitely was in the important feedback that we’ve received.”, remarked Slim Chiha, Co-Founder & CEO at PROSION Therapeutics. 

 The selected EIC Fund companies had the opportunity to pitch to a jury of investors from  3Bio Future Health Fund, AdBio Partners, Amoon,Asabys, Bpifrance Innobio, Cathay Capital, Gilde Healthcare,  Hadean Ventures, HTGF, Illumina Ventures, imec.xpand, Invivo, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Lundbeckfonden BioCapital, Merieux Equity Partners, Novo Holdings, Novartis, Occident Group, Panakes Partners, Sanofi Ventures, Seroba Life Sciences,Thuja Capital, V-BioVentures, VU Venture Partners.  


Driving Growth in Life Sciences: Thuja Capital and Cathay Heath support early-stage life sciences companies with Global Potential

To Lisanne Blauw, Associate at Thuja Capital “For me, this event was very useful to get a sneak peek into what EIC Fund companies are working on and determine if there are potential follow-up opportunities. It was a time-efficient experience. I was particularly impressed by the number of VC joining, which speaks to the event’s success. I hope you can maintain this level of engagement in the future.” 

Thuja Capital, a Dutch Venture Capital firm, actively seeks highly dedicated and strong teams. They are particularly supportive of first-time CEOs with relevant experience in the field and companies with a clear business model that demonstrates the potential impact on patients. The firm also places great value on a strong data package. Furthermore, it is important to see that the raised funding propels the company towards clear inflection points, which align with industry standards. 

Thuja Capital focuses on investing in private healthcare companies in the fields of biotech and medtech. Credible business models with a global reach are highly regarded. 

Lisanne Blauw recommends that startups in the life sciences sector make it a priority to clearly articulate the potential impact on patients in their business proposals.  

Jia-Yi Har, Partner at Cathay Health, remarked on the high quality of the companies presenting, their robust scientific dataset, and the overall success of the event. The pitching session successfully attracted a diverse range of investors, from notable venture capital funds to pharmaceutical corporate ventures.  

Cathay Health invests in venture stage life science tools, medtech and digital health companies operating at the convergence of tech and health, focusing on companies that address significant unmet needs and enhance the quality, access, cost-effectiveness and outcomes of care. It prioritizes businesses with unique science, strong clinical evidence, and a robust IP portfolio, especially those led by teams with a proven track record in executing their business plans. For later-stage companies, due diligence efforts also include the viability of regulatory and go-to-market approaches, reimbursement strategies, and commercial traction. Cathay Health's goal is to help these early-stage companies grow into regional leaders with the potential to expand across the Atlantic and beyond.

About the EIC Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support Programme 

The Ecosystem Partnerships and Co-Investment Support Programme is expanding the EIC’s Business Acceleration Services (BAS) by creating a network of specialized, sector-focused partners that can help innovators access the services they need. It is also dedicated to promoting co-investment along with the EIC Fund, by preparing beneficiaries to interact with investors and connecting them through matchmaking and dedicated events.  The next Investor Day under the programme will focus on Climate Tech. Read additional details here

Should you have any questions regarding the event, please contact us by email:

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interest of knowledge sharing and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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