In March 2014 a new spin-off company of Masaryk University was incorporated into the Companies’ Register – the Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Ltd. (IBA, Ltd.) Why was it established and what goals does it aim to achieve?
The spin-off was conceived by the team of the Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses of Masaryk University (IBA MU) – an academic institution specialising in research and training in the field of biostatistics, evaluation of medical technologies and applied medical informatics. This institute stands behind the field of Mathematical Biology at the Faculty of Science; it also participates in a number of projects and post-gradual education at the Faculty of Medicine. Besides these academic activities, the cost centre of IBA MU manages a lot of research projects which often concern the commercial sector. These include e.g. clinical trials, development and implementation of hospital data collection software, management of clinical research projects and related services.
IBA, Ltd. aims to provide quick, effective and comprehensive services to projects
IBA MU has already established an outstanding European reputation especially in the field of data analysis and scientific evaluation of results. However, as far as project support and services were concerned, the institute got under strong competitive pressure of the private sector. ”Our experience made us realise that we often enter competition with renowned universities which have at their disposal affiliated service companies – various kinds of spin-offs – and can provide more expedite, effective and complex project management. Moreover, the growing scope of service activities began to impair the scientific potential of the institution. Therefore, we’ve decided to elaborate a plan to start a spin-off company which would focus on these very activities,” explains Ing. Petr Brabec, executive manager of IBA, Ltd.
The IBA MU team drafted all the key documents including a business plan in 2013. The role of the emerging company was clear from the very beginning: to become a management-service-organisation which will support the current activities of IBA MU and help with obtaining new contact research projects. As far as the relationship with MU goes, it has been decided that the university’s investment should amount to 7 % of the company’s capital. This arrangement ensures an effective functioning of IBA, Ltd. both in relation to MU and to potential partners and clients. The legal form of the company represents a substantial advantage in tenders and provides for a sufficiently flexible reactions to the requirements of the market. The MU investment, on the other hand, guarantees complete transparency in relation to the academia.
The TTO team also took part in founding the company. “I’d like to give special thanks to Ing. Mgr. Radek Ruban. As a lawyer he helped us draft the standard partnership contract and incorporate the company in the Companies’ Register. TTO also provided us regularly with information on the process of starting a spin-off, which helped a lot. We experienced some problems – e.g. the legislature has changed during the process of establishing the company – but in the end we’ve managed just fine,” says Brabec. He also adds: “We’re certain that it was a good way to go – an internal survey confirmed that renowned universities take the same path. Personally, I consider starting spin-offs to be very important because even universities start facing global competition. Plus some ideas researches have can’t be easily pursued at universities and spin-offs offer an elegant and universally beneficial solution.”
First success: prestigious contracts and key partnerships
Even though it hasn’t been long since the company was established, the IBA, Ltd. team has already taken several important steps. In accordance with its portfolio it makes effective use of on-line tools (Goole Apps, CRM system, statistical software or Skype) and is planning to adopt ISO 20000 (the first worldwide standard of IT services management) this year already. The company is successful also commercially. “We managed to get prestigious jobs from companies like Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim or AOP Orphan. At the same time we started collaborating with institutions such as WHO/IARC (World Health Organization – International Agency for Research on Cancer) for which we design web portals. Among other things, we’ll be responsible for the on-line version of the renowned Code Against Cancer declared by the European Commission. It is becoming apparent that the concept of a spin-off as a support service organisation works well because not a single one of these jobs interfered with the current commissions or financial operations of IBA MU,” sums it up Petr Brabec.
IBA, Ltd.: main products and services
- information systems for a multicentre registration of clinical data
- content management systems (CMS) for a modular administration of websites
- management information systems (MIS) for data mining and analysis
- consultations on software development
- graphic design and DTP including the preparation of presentations and posters
- webdesign and development of database-oriented online applications
- Learning Management System (LMS) and teaching modules (medical informatics)
- tailor-made courses in MS Office and Adobe applications
- commercial calculations and related consultations
1. 6. 2015