XBIO - Building a Biomedical Enterprise

You are an aspiring biotech entrepreneur? This 10 session course is designed to help you get started.

We’ll get you together with peers and experts in the field and help you to develop your own ideas while explaining the basics of launching a biotech company.

Supporting institutions

The following institutions, which span academic and clinical research, translational funding and venture investment, have teamed up to design and deliver the program.

Course overview

We believe that the best form of engagement is to bring aspiring entrepreneurs together with founders and CEOs who have been through this. Also, this latter group, particularly during the first years into their venture, will benefit from learning and deepening their understanding of the various functional requirements for a biomedical company.

We offer a new program “Building a Biomedical Enterprise”, jointly with University Vienna, MedUni Vienna, Khan, INiTS and ISTA. It is designed for a period of 10 weeks and will guide participants from project conception to a first cut of their business plan and pitch deck.

Participants interested in founding a biomedical enterprise ideally have at least a rough idea about a technology and an unmet medical need they want to address. We also encourage potential co-founders with a business background to participate and use the program to find a venture to join or to deepen their understanding of the specifics of biomedical startups.

Program Components

  • Idea conceptualization and vetting
  • Introductions to the key functional requirements
  • Mentor matchmaking and teambuilding
  • Discussions of life experiences with founders
  • Support in:
    • Preparation of aws pre-seed application
    • Internship opportunities at Biomedical startups

The program is designed to be rigorous, we expect people to complete advance reading and
dedicate time to writing their business plan. The reward is also great, you will have at least a
rough version of your business plan in hand, with valuable input from leading experts in the
field. PhD students can earn 2 ECTS credits for successfully completing the course.


To get to know the day-to-day life inside a biotech company, the course includes a matching event for internship opportunities in the participating companies.


Academic researchers of all levels, as well as early career professionals who are toying with the idea of founding or joining a biomedical company.


Candidates interested in participating are invited to submit an application (see application form). The application deadline is 28 March 2023.

The course is free of charge for members of supporting institutions (ISTA, University of Vienna, Medical University, INiTS, wingsforinnovation, KHAN, IST cube).

For candidates beyond these institutions, there is a participation fee of EUR 1,500.-. Stipends for exceptional participants are available. Please apply to discuss details on your stipend eligibility.


Course schedule

Session 1 / Course Introduction
Opening statements: VR Maier, VR Fritz, G. Superti-Furga; S. Laimgruber
Founders and CEOs: G. Gualdoni, N. Krall, D. Buchmayer, S. Selak
24.4.2023 4pm-6pm / Medical University of Vienna

Session 2 / How to Look at a Biotech Startup Idea
Speakers: M. Krings, P. Nussbaumer, I. Kelly
2.5.2023 4pm-7pm / University of Vienna

Session 3 / Discussing Your Ideas
Mentors & Guests
8.5.2023 4pm-7pm / Vienna Biocenter

Session 4 / What Do You Need to Get There? Structure of Business Plans
Speakers: J. Rosser, K. Wassermann, T. Wimberger, A. Bensimon, C. Laurer, A. Reikerstorfer
15.5.2023 4pm-7pm / Vienna Biocenter

Session 5 / Market and Competition
Speaker: M. Krings
22.5.2023 4pm-7pm / ISTA

Session 6 / IP& Regulatory
Speakers: C. Klöckner, T. Zechmeister, U. Granzer
30.5.2023 4pm-7pm / Vienna Biocenter

Session 7 / How to Craft a Compelling Story
Speaker: G. Marzio
5.6.2023 1pm-6pm / University of Vienna

Session 8 / How to Build an Effective Team
Speaker: J. Bethell
12.6.2023 4pm-7pm / Medical University of Vienna

Session 9 / Resources and Legal for Biotech
Speaker: N. Forgo, S. Hebenstreit
19.6.2023 4pm-7pm / ISTA

Session 10 / Pitch Preparation
Speaker: G. Marzio
26.6.2023 10am-6pm / University of Vienna

Demo Day
30.6.2023 5pm-9pm / University of Vienna

Faculty and Guests

Different institutions and selected experts and insiders will guide participants through 10 different sessions over 2 months, at the premises of the participating institutions. For the programme timetable, please see the schedule section.

Matthias Krings

Matthias Krings has worked for international pharma, biotech and medtech organizations on topics such as developing corporate and R&D strategies, identifying new areas of opportunity, tailoring asset and company searches for BD&L and M&A, maximizing the value of existing assets through therapeutic expansion, prioritizing R&D portfolios. Matthias holds a diploma and a doctorate degree in biology from the Ludwig–Maximilians University in Munich.

Giuseppe Marzio

Giuseppe Marzio, a scientist turned communication professional, has 20+ years of experience in the health and life sciences. As the founder of Chiaro, a strategic storytelling agency, he has worked with the CEOs of some of the most admired companies in the sector – to raise funding, close deals, and take their organizations to the next level. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller book ‘Winners Have a Story’.

Christian Laurer

Christian holds a PhD in biology from the University of Vienna and a master´s certificate as a car mechanic. He worked in marketing and sales in the pharma and diagnostics industry for seven years. For more than two decades he has been in financing focussing on startups in the life sciences.

Sanja Selak

Sanja is a biotechnology and pharmaceutical executive, entrepreneur, scientist and innovator with 27 years of experience in academia and industry with knowledge in general medicine, immunology, molecular biology and neuroscience. She founded and developed Origimm Biotechnology GmbH, which was acquired by Sanofi in 2021. At Origimm, Sanja designed and led R&D and business strategy from the idea concept to clinical phase, led multiple financing rounds, wrote several patent applications and dedicated significant efforts to developing innovation-focused team work and agile organisation.

Wolfgang Wein

DDr. Wolfgang Wein, former Executive Vice President Global Oncology at MERCK and member of the Executive Board of the Pharma Division. Physician with extensive experience in Phase I - IV clinical trials as Regional Medical Affairs Head. Later international career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing and country management. Many years of experience in mentoring pharmaceutical talent. Currently a pharmaceutical consultant (W & W Pharmaconsult GmbH) and founder in Austria.

Tibor Zechmeister

Tibor Zechmeister is a startup founder, regulatory affairs manager and business leverager. His regulatory knowledge is based on three pillars of being an active part in multiple medical device startups, a consultant and an auditor for a European Notified Body. His entrepreneurial knowledge is based on over 11 years of being in the MedTech Startup ecosystem.

Christoph Klöckner

Dr. Christoph Klöckner is a German and European patent attorney specialized in biotech, pharma and life sciences inventions. Christoph regularly provides advice to founders and biotech/pharma startups on IP rights, patenting strategies, patent portfolios, and the interaction with big pharma companies as well as with investors interested in such early stage companies.

Ingrid Kelly

After completing a PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, Ingrid trained and practised as a European Patent Attorney in private practice and in the Pharma industry. Ingrid’s career switch into technology transfer began at the University of Vienna, and continued at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria. She is a registered technology transfer professional (RTTP). Ingrid is also an investor and Partner at IST cube, and a board member of Vienna biomedical startups Brainhero and Brightmind.AI.

Ariel Bensimon

Ariel Bensimon, CEO of Solgate GmbH, is a cell biologist by training with expertise in proteomics. During his postdoctoral work at CeMM, he successfully demonstrated the targeted degradation of multi-transmembrane transporters by small molecules. Two years ago he co-founded Solgate, the first joint spin-off company of CeMM/ÖAW and IST Austria. Today, Solgate is employing its proprietary technology platform to progress hit compounds into drug discovery programs in specific therapeutic indications of high unmet medical need. 

John Bethell

Originally from Scotland, John is a pioneer of the Australasian medical recruitment sector with nearly 30 years experience in the industry. He moved to Europe in 2019 to focus on DeepTech & Life Sciences innovation. He maintains a recruitment portfolio for C-suite and leadership roles.  John is a speaker & mentor to start-ups & founders, on setting up their own in-house recruitment capabilities, in preparation for scale-up growth.

Julie Rosser

Julie is board certified in large animal surgery and sports medicine with a PhD in osteoarthritis. She spun PreGenerate GmbH out of the Veterinary and Technical Universities of Vienna in 2019, where our team aims to impact millions of patient lives by helping doctors personalize arthritis treatment. Julie is passionate about empowering others, from colleagues to the patients we serve. In her free time she enjoys travel, music and good food with great friends.

Terje Wimberger and Klemens Wassermann

Terje Wimberger and Klemens Wassermann are the founders of CellEctric Biosciences. Terje studied molecular biology and biotechnology. Klemens has a background in molecular biology and electrical engineering. Founded in 2021, CellEctric’s vision is to rethink processes in life sciences by bringing together electrodynamics and cell biology – with Klemens as tech nerd and Terje as the numbers cruncher, both are keen on shaping the way things are done and how companies are being build.

Markus Wanko

Markus Wanko is the architect of ISTA’s innovation ecosystem. His prior career includes VC investments at Safeguard Scientifics and the European Investment Fund, strategy consulting at Boston Consulting Group, and equity investment, most recently as investment director, at QIA, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. He is a director of Ribbon Biolabs, Cutanos and the US tech transfer organization AUTM.

Daniela Buchmayr

Daniela has an engineering degree in biochemistry, biotechnology and genetic engineering and held various management positions in international companies in the biopharmaceutical sector for more than 15 years. As CEO and co-founder of Sarcura, a device platform to scale global manufacturing capacity focusing on CAR-T cell therapy, she is responsible for setting and leading the strategic direction of the company and organization.

Peter Nussbaumer

Peter has about 35 years of industry experience in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery at Sandoz/Novartis and as managing director of the Lead Discovery Center GmbH in Dortmund, Germany; since 2019, he is also managing director of the Khanu Management GmbH in Dortmund, the general partner of KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG, a financing vehicle to translate basic research into professional drug development and commercialization, and its subsidiary wings4innovation GmbH in Vienna, Austria. Peter is member of several scientific advisory boards and serves as advisor to private and public funding bodies and holds a Dr. degree in organic chemistry from the TU Wien, Austria.

Alexander Schwartz

Alexander Schwartz is a partner at IST cube investing in and working with start-ups in life science, chemistry, and physics. Previously he worked more than 15 years in management consulting with McKinsey and other companies. His focus has been on strategy, innovation, and M&A in chemicals, materials, agriculture and life science related industries. By education and heart Alexander is a scientist: he studied chemistry at TU Graz, ETH Zurich and the University of Vienna before moving on to become a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Johannes Bange

Johannes has more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and IP. He has worked at academic drug discovery centers, biotech start-ups and in pharma, leading teams involved in target validation as well as therapeutic antibody development, engineering and production, up to the clinics. Prior to joining LDC as Head of Antibody Development, he held various positions at U3Pharma/Daiichi Sankyo, as CEO, CSO and Head of IP & Licensing. He is also General Partner at Khanu Management GmbH and Senior Investment Manager at KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I. Johannes graduated in chemistry from Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, Germany and did his PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry. He was admitted to practice as European Patent Attorney in 2009.

Guido Gualdoni

Guido Gualdoni holds both an MD and a PhD degree in Immunology from the Medical University of Vienna. While working as a physician scientist at the General Hospital Vienna, he discovered the potential of metabolism-targeted therapy against viral infections and has co-founded G.ST Antivirals based on this science. Guido has been serving as CEO of the company since its foundation and has orchestrated the development of its lead asset, a broad-spectrum antiviral nasal spray, until clinical stage.

Thierry Langer

University professor and former c-level executive with broad experience in drug discovery related business. Background as a scientist with more than 250 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals, focus on computer-assisted molecular design and medicinal chemistry. Co-founder of spin-off company involved in software development and contract services for in-silico drug discovery.

Christian Mandl

Christian is a consultant to industrial, academic and non-profit organizations on translational aspects of vaccines, cancer immunotherapy and global health. He is co-founder and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Tiba Biotech (Boston, USA), Senior Advisor at Adjuvant Capital (New York, USA), and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group of the International Vaccine Institute (Seoul, Korea). Previously, he was SVP for RNA Research at VIR Bio (San Francisco, USA) and Chairman of the SAB of Themis Bioscience (Vienna, Austria). He was Global Head of Research, Early and Exploratory Clinical Development at Novartis Vaccines. Christian was Professor of Virology and Deputy Head of the Clinical Institute of Virology at the Medical University Vienna. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications and is an inventor on patents for vaccines and RNA technologies. He holds an MSc in biochemistry (1985) from Penn State University, a PhD in biochemistry (1988) and a PhD (1993) from the University of Vienna, and certification as a specialist in virology (1999).

Sonja Bechyna

Sonja is a VC analyst in Lifesciences, supporting and evaluating startups and investment proposals with medical knowledge and clinical experience. Sonja holds a BSc in Health Sciences and received her M.D. in June 2022, Austria.

Sonja Hebenstreit

Dr. Sonja Hebenstreit is a partner at Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwälte GmbH, and specialises in the fields of intellectual and industrial property law, unfair competition, life sciences and data protection. She represents Austrian and international clients in the pharmaceutical, med-tech and biotech sector, in a variety of regulatory, IP and commercial issues as well as in data protection matters.

Marco Masia

Expert of Academic Entrepreneurship, Marco is technology transfer manager at the University of Vienna. He is also founder and managing director of MARMAS GmbH, a company working at the intersection between research, innovation, and policy. Earlier he worked as Executive Coordinator of the Initiative for Science in Europe, and as Assistant Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Sassari, Italy. He has also been board member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association. He holds a PhD in Physics (Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Spain) and an executive MBA (Frankfurt School for Finance & Management, Germany).

Astrid Stakne

Astrid Stakne is a funding expert at the FFG. In 2022 she joined the Team Transfer in the Program management Spin-off Fellowship, R&D Infrastructure. She has many years of expertise in Austrian funding programmes: From 2016 to 2022 she worked as a funding expert at the TU Wien (Reseach and Transfer Support; Funding Support and Industry Relations). From 2006 to 2015 she worked as a program manager at the Vienna Business Agency (Funding department).

Arnold Reikerstorfer

Arnold holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Vienna and a MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management. He worked in the Pharma and Medical Device Industry for 10 years in Projectcontrolling, Marketing & Sales and as Technical Director of a manufacturer of sterile medical devices. Since 2017 at aws, he has evaluated investment proposals and advised numerous early stage startups covering all sectors of life science.

Nikolaus Krall

Prior to its acquisition by Exscientia, Nikolaus served as the Managing Director of Allcyte, which he had co-founded as a pioneer in AI driven cancer precision medicine in 2017. Originally trained as an organic chemist at the University of Cambridge, he concluded his doctoral studies at ETH Zurich focusing on the engineering of targeted agents for the treatment of kidney cancer and did a postdoc working on the analysis of drug action in primary human tissues at the CeMM Research Centre for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

Erich Tauber

Erich is serial entrepreneur in the field of biologics development. Trained as a pediatrician, he is working in the biotech field since the year 2000. He founded and led Vienna based Themis until it was acquired in a landmark deal by MSD in 2020. In 2023, he founded LoopLab to establish a new  treatment modality.

Nikolaus Forgó

Univ. Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Forgó studied law in Vienna and Paris, was an assistant at the Faculty of Law of the University of Vienna and its IT officer from 1990 to 2000; in 1998, he founded and still heads the University Course for Information and Media Law at the University of Vienna, Professor for Legal Informatics and IT Law at the Leibniz University of Hanover from 2000 to 2017, where he was, amongst others, Head of the Institute for Legal Informatics, Data Protection Officer and CIO. Since 2017 Professor of Technology and Intellectual Property Law and Director of the Institute for Innovation and Digitalisation in Law at the University of Vienna, since 2018 member of the Austrian Data Protection Council. Extensive teaching, research, consulting and third-party funding activities on all issues of IT law, legal informatics and basic legal principles, as well as numerous activities in legal education, especially as host of the podcast Ars Boni.

Thanks, the application period for XBIO 2023 has passed. Please revisit for our next batch in early 2024.