The Sofinnova Telethon Fund is Italy’s largest fund dedicated to biotechnologies, making early-stage investments in Italian companies targeting cures for rare and/or genetic diseases. The fund was launched in 2018 in partnership with Fondazione Telethon (“FT”), whose mission is to promote the development of excellent science in therapies available for patients.

The Sofinnova Telethon Fund is managed by Sofinnova Partners, a leading European venture capital firm specializing in healthcare and sustainability, and based in Paris, London, and Milan. Sofinnova Partners has been investing in Italy for 20 years and has a strong track record in the life sciences. The firm has over €2 billion under management. For more information, visit:

The "Sofinnova Telethon Fund Venture Contest" offers the life science community an unprecedented opportunity to receive funding of up to 1,5M€ per project, with the goal of investing in Italian biotech companies, either existing or to be created.


  • Call for Applications OPENING: March 1st, 2021.
  • Deadline to submit the project’s title, a brief description of the proposed therapeutic product and a list of target disease(s): March 26th, 2021.
  • SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 23rd, 2021.



  • The investment proposal shall describe i) the therapeutic product or the technological approach, ii) which problem or unmet medical need is addressing and iii) how the product or technological approach will be developed and validated in 1 to 3 years’ time
  • Proposals should prioritize rare and/or genetic disease indications but can expand to more common diseases
  • The therapeutic product or technological approach should be validated in a disease model (in vitro and/or in vivo)
  • The proposal should envisage the clinical feasibility and development path for at least one target disease(s)
  • Proposals aimed at developing medical devices or diagnostics and digital health solution are not eligible for this contest
  • It will be mandatory to fulfill one of the following intellectual property requirements:
  • The relevant data are included in a patent already filed
  • Patent filing is in progress
  • The relevant data are still undisclosed (neither published nor included in any publicly available documents, as undergraduate dissertation, PhD thesis, meeting abstract, oral or poster presentation).

Eligible applicants

  • Researchers working in an Italian public or private, not for profit or profit research institution and interested in establishing a start up in Italy.
  • Startup companies headquartered in Italy and registered as “start-up innovativa” according to art. 25, comma 2, DL 179/2012.
  • Small medium enterprises (PMI) headquartered in Italy and registered as “PMI innovativa” according to art. 4, DL 3/2015.
  • Only One Application per applicant is allowed.
  • Researchers affiliated to Telethon’s Research Institutes are not eligible to this contest.


The length of the proposed development plan may vary from 1 to 3 years during which at least two main development milestones in the therapeutic product development must be planned.


The STF Venture Contest - Call for Applications entails two evaluation phases:

-Phase I: Scientific evaluation

Proposals will be first evaluated based on scientific merit, unmet medical need and clinical feasibility. This evaluation step is entirely managed by FT, performed through an ISO9001:2015-certified peer review process supported by an ad hoc panel of expert reviewers selected by FT.

-Phase II: Due diligence

Successful Applicants from Phase I will enter an independent three steps due diligence process, entirely managed by Sofinnova Partners.

The process is aimed at identifying investment opportunities.  

  • Step 1: Selected Applicants will be invited to present a pitch of the Project to the Sofinnova Team.
  • Step 2: Selected Projects will undergo a due diligence process.
  • Step 3: Selected Applicants will be invited to present the proposal to the Investment Committee who will decide on the investment.

The Call, the Guidelines for the Applicants and the Application sample in pdf format are available below and on the TeTra portal at where it will be possible to access the online Application.

Download the Call for Applications

Download the Application sample in pdf format

For further information, please send an email to:

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