Paul Scherrer Institute and Apollo Health Ventures Launch Focal Biosciences

Newly established Focal Biosciences will focus on bringing together leading experts and scientific discoveries to harness cellular reprogramming in the fight against common age-related diseases.
G.V. Shivashankar is head of the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology at Paul Scherrer Institute, Professor of Mechano-Genomics, ETH Zurich and a recognized leader in mechanogenomics with strong expertise in cellular reprogramming. (Photo: Paul Scherrer Institute/Markus Fischer)

The Paul Scherrer Institute and Apollo Health Ventures will join their resources together with scientific founder G.V. Shivashankar, head of the Laboratory of Nanoscale Biology, Paul Scherrer Institute and Professor of Mechano-Genomics, ETH Zurich, a recognized leader in mechanogenomics with strong expertise in cellular reprogramming. The newly founded entity will initially operate out of the Paul Scherrer Institute, the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences in Switzerland that serves scientists around the world by accommodating highly complicated experiments in their industry-leading research facilities. Focal Biosciences thereby has access to PSI’s key infrastructure and expertise as part of Apollo's venture creation program, “Venture Labs” that sources leading science from scientists and labs in Europe and North America, based on its deep understanding of the biology of aging.

“Our investment approach is focused on identifying outstanding science to catalyze and build pioneering companies and taking an active role in their corporate evolution. We have watched the formation and maturation of the cellular reprogramming space for some time,” said Jan Adams, Venture Partner at Apollo Health Ventures. “We are confident that with the expertise and technologies developed by G.V. Shivashankar at PSI, Focal Biosciences is pursuing a unique and innovative approach leveraging an advanced concept of cellular reprogramming, that will enable the development of a novel class of therapies.”

“We value Apollo Health Ventures’ and PSI’s commitment to our scientific vision of how to fundamentally change the treatment landscape for a variety of age-related diseases,” said G.V. Shivashankar. “I look forward to working with the expert team at Apollo to position Focal Biosciences for success and build a company that unlocks new approaches for patients with severe diseases.”

Advances in understanding the biology of aging coupled with emerging technologies have significantly increased pre-symptomatic detection of age-related damage and dysfunction and paved the way for novel interventions. Cellular reprogramming in particular provides a novel approach of resetting damaged or dysfunctional cells to a healthy state, reversing disease mechanisms and stopping detrimental processes to transform the treatment landscape of age-related diseases.

Text based on a press release by Apollo Health Ventures

About Focal Biosciences

Focal Biosciences is redefining the treatment of age-related diseases by applying its deep scientific expertise in the mechanisms of cellular reprograming to reverse detrimental disease processes and restore health.

About Apollo Health Ventures

Apollo Health Ventures is a transatlantic venture capital firm specialized in developing and investing in data-driven biotechnology and health tech ventures. Apollo Health Ventures invests in game-changing companies at the seed or early stage and builds companies within the aging sector. Apollo’s team consists of entrepreneurs, seasoned biotech investors and scientists with remarkable track records in life science investments and venture creation.


Prof. Dr. G.V. Shivashankar
Biology and Chemistry Division
Paul Scherrer Institute, Forschungsstrasse 111, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 56 310 42 50, e-mail: [English]