Italy-based investment firm Aurora-TT has emerged with plans to boost the technology transfer of biotechnology research at universities in the country, Labiotech reported yesterday.

The firm is seeking to raise €50m ($55m) in capital from public investors such as the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EU-owned agency responsible for providing funding to SMEs.

The size of individual investments and the targeted number of spinouts is still being negotiated with the EIF, but Aurora-TT is hoping the model could be similar to that of Lab282, a £13m ($16m) initiative focused on the commercialisation of biomedical research at University of Oxford.

Aurora-TT was launched two weeks ago and marks the first time such an effort is being made in Italy, where technology transfer remains in its infancy. The firm said it has been met with enthusiasm by universities and their tech transfer offices.

Edoardo Negroni, co-founder of Aurora-TT, said: “We are negotiating with the European Investment Fund. But we are not waiting for the money. We are already aligning the goals of universities and research institutions. We are already doing the job.”

 “We need international partners to make the value emerge and maximize the possibility of exits.”

Guido Guidi, co-founder of Aurora-TT, told news publication La Stampa: “We want to bet on Italian scientists. The tech transfer process in Italy is frankly immature.

“In order to switch gears and really promote a primary role for the country’s system of value creation from excellent scientific research, it is necessary to combine economic resources with a dedicated team that has a natural propensity to collaborate and a solid and proven track record in translating a scientific discovery into a concrete opportunity for patient care.

“I am absolutely convinced that Aurora-TT is able to blend the right goals with the necessary expertise to turn all of this into a reality.” [translated from Italian by Global University Venturing]