ERIBA launches a biotech start-up company › Campus Groningen

ERIBA launches a biotech start-up company

ERIBA launches a biotech start-up company

ERIBA launches a biotech start-up company

Fri, 6 July 2018

The European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA), part of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), launches a biotech start-up company Cleara Biotech B.V. (Cleara), together with its collaborators University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU) and Medical University of Graz. Cleara is a Netherlands-based biopharmaceutical company coordinating a public-private partnership to discover and develop new therapeutics targeting the unique biology of senescent cells to treat age-related pathologies and therapy-resistant cancer.

Cleara is working to translate discoveries surrounding the unique properties of senescent cells. This work is being led within Cleara by Marco Demaria of ERIBA, who created the first genetic tools for identifying senescent cells and also discovered shared mechanisms and genes at the core of the senescence program. “Cellular senescence is a very exciting but also very new field,” said Demaria. “That means that there are still many things to be discovered, so efforts to reveal the basic biology of these cells can quickly become translational.”

Understand the biology of senescent cells

Cleara was founded and financed by Apollo Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm and company builder working across Europe and North America. "Cleara scientists are the world leaders in advancing our understanding of the basic biology of senescent cells, and we have used that understanding to create the first potent and selective anti-senescence molecules," said James Peyer, Managing Partner of Apollo Ventures. Peter de Keizer at the UMCU is leading work on this novel method to remove senescent cells. He states that the "Translation of our discovery requires a large, multidisciplinary effort, and we’ve brought the right people together in Cleara to create something very special for patients".

Value recognition

Dr. Craig Grove, business developer for ERIBA and the Center for Development and Innovation (CDI/UMCG) assisted Demaria on the path to value creation.

Dr. Grove: ‘There are many ways in which we can translate research to society, but the first step is value recognition. It is important to work alongside researchers in a proactive manner to both help in recognizing the potential impact of their research and subsequently identify the most suitable translation pathway. The creation of Cleara is an excellent example of how innovative research and business development can co-create value and increase the likelihood of answerring societal issues, such as in this case, an ageing population.’

ERIBA’s ultimate goal is to discover the basic mechanisms underlying the ageing process and apply this knowledge to improve health. By initiating Cleara, we hope that such knowledge can be applied to society in the most effective manner.


The UMCG is one of the largest hospitals in the world and employs almost 13.000 people. The UMCG is the beating heart of the Healthy Ageing Campus which is part of Campus Groningen.

More information about our new Healthy Ageing startup you can find on: