Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Genefinity: the value of academic research

Today we are proud to introduce our new friend, Stefano Maggiolino, that has recently joined us at Pier 38. Stefano is the co-funder of Genefinity, a spin-off from the University of Trieste. The idea of Genefinity was born in 2005 with the intention of valuing the research developed within the University Labs and using that for business purposes. At that time, the team was composed by Nicola Scuor, Francesca Antoniolli, Stefano Visintin, Vanni Lughi, Luigi Marras, Paolo Gallina and of course Stefano Maggiolino. It was only in 2006, after having won numerous prizes (Start cup, PNI, European Young Entrepreuneurs Adward), that Genefinity was incorporated and became a separate entity. Among the shareholders that joint their vision there were the University of Trieste, DGR consulting and the Local Holding Company, Friulia Spa.
Genefinity has developed an innovative and cost efficient process named GHOST (Genefinity Hi-resolution One Step Transfer) that consists in the deposit of thin films within specific patterns on flexible superficies.
The GHOST process can be applied to the manufacture of numerous products like diagnostic test strips, printed electronics devices (smart card, RFID antennas) and other industrial tools (temperature and pressure sensors).

The target market is mainly composed by companies that are headquartered in Silicon Valley and California, that’s why Stefano Maggiolino came to San Francisco: “we want to meet them, learn from their experience and eventually find out if we can make synergies with them. Here in the Bay Area we have a plethora of potential customers: Abbott Diabetes Care is based in Alameda; LifeScan, owned by J&J Group, is based in Milpitas; Intuity Medical is based in Sunnyvale; other diabetes care leaders are headquartered in US or have North America headquarters: Roche, Bayer, Niprodiagnostic, Nova Biomedical. I can continue the list with numerous potential commercial partners (Parlex, Flextronics, …).”
Stefano looks really committed on his project and want to fully invest his time in the Gym. “My agenda is crowded. Our intention is also to raise capital for investment purposes. We intend to expand our business to the US, but, to do this, we need to build a plant that serves the local market and use the GHOST technology.

Genefinity is an example of how to profit from the research and use it as a competitive advantage. Being a P.h.D graduated student doesn’t necessarily means to spend the entire life in a dark and isolated lab. “We have many ideas: the MAXUN project (an innovative photovoltaic panel), for example, is one of them and we hope that in the next future these ideas will turn in a company like Genefinity", a brave start up that employs 12 brilliant recently graduated engineers.

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