When startups bring on top executives to reach their next milestones


Il Litorale

22 September 2020

The recent news of the hiring of Gabriel Haering as CEO of the Ticino-based firm MVBio marks an important step in the life of a startup: the professionalisation of the entrepreneurial initiative - a step that entails, on the one hand, that the startup founders realise that in order to consolidate what has been created and to have more opportunities to grow in the market it is often necessary to have a managerial structure that includes professional executives and, on the other hand, that the professional CEO recognises the value of the entrepreneurial project. The news of MVBio (formerly MV Biotherapeutics) follows that of another Ticino startup, Skypull, which in February of this year announced the strategic change of management, to enable the company to reach even higher levels - which occurred a few weeks later with the announcement of it closing a seven digit financing round.

MVBio is a spin-off of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB, affiliated to USI) which was established in 2018, originally as MicroVaccines and later renamed MV BioTherapeutics. Its founder, Dr. Fabio Grassi (researcher and group leader at the IRB), has developed an innovative technology platform for the development of oral vaccines against intestinal infections, with the aim of addressing currently unresolved medical needs with high patient accessibility. In 2017, Grassi took the initial project, called EXEAD, to the then StartCup Ticino (now Boldbrain), coming in second in the finals. Since then, Fabio Grassi has incubated his startup at CP Start-up USI. A very similar path to another startup incubated at CP Start-up USI, Skypull, which also came in second place at the StartCup Ticino (in 2016).

"The incubation of MVBio at CP Start-up USI, thanks to the interactions with our experts, allowed the firm to quickly develop the awareness that an excellent idea and cutting-edge technology alone are not enough to start up and develop entrepreneurial activity", explains Alcide Barberis, director of the incubator at the USI Start-up Promotion Centre. "We need to create a team of people with solid and complementary professional skills in the various sectors required for the activity of a developing company. In this sense, the hiring of Gabriel Haering, a manager with extensive and recognised experience in the Biotech sector, represents for MVBio an important first step in the professional development of the company".

According to Fabio Grassi, now Chairman of MVBio's Board of Directors, "Gabriel Haering, with his many years of experience as CEO of Cerbios-Pharma SA, based in Barbengo, is the right leader for MVBio. His extensive background in business development, strategy and organization skills will help MVBio to move into the next clinical stages and develop strategic alliances with investors and partners. We believe his strong leadership experience will help MVBio to move from the actual R&D stage to a real pharma company".