Acellera Therapeutics, an early-stage R&D company formed by David Cristina, at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), and by researchers Luís Graça and Marta Monteiro from Instituto de Medicina Molecular (IMM), have won two prestigious entrepreneurship awards in the last month: the BES National Innovation Award in the Health Technologies category, and the ANJE Young Entrepreneur Award.
These awards add to the second place in the Idea 2 Product global entrepreneurship competition of the University of Texas, Austin, secured in 2009. Acellera Therapeutics’ initial focus is on a new cellular therapy that may contribute to reduce the problems associated with liver transplants, namely organ rejection and adverse effects of current therapies. Says David Cristina, company founder, “ANJE’s Young Entrepeneur Award is a great achievement for Acellera Therapeutics.
On one hand, since this is a highly respected award, it significantly validates the business idea and adds credibility to Acellera Therapeutics. On the other hand, the cash prize [of €19 500] will be instrumental in the initial stages of protecting Acellera’s Intellectual Property internationally. This award also shows that academic research performed at top institutions such as the IGC and IMM can lead to commercial products that directly contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of society, and that national [Portuguese] investors are more willing to support high risk, technology-based companies