Silicon Biosystems demonstrates how venture capital helps improve patients’ lives around the world and fosters Italy’s high-tech industry. When Innogest first invested in 2007, Silicon had started to develop an innovative process to detect, isolate and retrieve single cells in biological fluids such as blood.
With Innogest’s support, the company further developed a new way of detecting cancer gene mutations to identify the best therapeutic strategy, as well as a non-invasive means of making pre-natal diagnoses of gene defects in the foetus. With Atlante Ventures becoming an investor in 2010, the firms also helped Silicon achieve commercial launch and the company has since grown revenues consistently and entered the world stage. Silicon was sold to Italian pharmaceuticals group Menarini Group in 2013.
What did the business need?
- Resources to complete the product design
- Creation of a distribution network
- Capital to develop its DEParray technology in oncology research and clinical settings
- Help with commercialisation of the technology
How did private equity backing create lasting value?
- Provided capital to develop the technology into a leading edge system for single cell genomics
- Assisted the CEO in developing commercialisation strategy
- Supported the opening of US operations to target the world’s largest healthcare market
- Introduced the company to international business development partners
- Helped identify potential buyers that would continue to invest in R&D and internationalisation
What outcomes did private equity investment achieve?
- Developed a new technology for earlier detection of cancer and non-invasive prenatal diagnostics
- Grew Silicon from zero sales to multi-million-euro business, with annual sales growth averaging 260%
- Created a truly global business, with over 70% of sales overseas and more than 30% in the US
- Acquired new customers, including two of the most advanced cancer research centres in the world