22nd August 2018
A long-time friend and supporter of EIT Health and the Spanish CLC
The entire EIT Health community was shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Àlex Casta Ruiz in Łódź, Poland last Monday.
The CEO of UPF Ventures, a Barcelona based firm that helps public and private entities turn research and technology into high impact businesses, Àlex was in Łódź to participate in the EIT Health Summit as a representative of EIT Health Spain and as a mentor and jury member for the final of the European Health Catapult, a training and competition platform jointly organised by EIT Health and Health Axis Europe.
Passionate about the potential for technology and innovation to deliver both social and economic return, Àlex was a long-time friend and supporter of EIT Health and the Spanish CLC. During his previous role as Investment Manager at Caixa Capital Risc, the VC arm of La Caixa – the largest bank in Spain, Àlex was actively involved as an evaluator and jury member for EIT Health’s Head Start, a programme to support micro and small enterprises to get to market with innovative products and services.
“Àlex was a great friend and was a well-known and very well-respected member of both the EIT Health community and the health business eco-system in Catalonia. He was a kind, considerate and engaging individual and we are going to miss him a lot”, said Marco Pugliese, Managing Director of EIT Health Spain.
In addition to his active support of start-ups in the EIT Health community, Àlex was also instrumental to developing and shaping EIT Health’s new Bridgehead programme to support clusters, incubators and accelerators within the consortium to track eco-system needs and attended meetings in Munich and Delft this year to drive the programme forward.
“Àlex was not only a keen supporter of start-ups offering his expertise and experience to all who asked of it, but he was also passionate about creating new programmes like Bridgehead to build the infrastructure to enable them to be successful”, said Kurt Höller, Director of Business Innovation at EIT Health.
He previously held positions with Biocat, an organisation that co-ordinates and promotes the life sciences sector in Catalonia and at Fundació Bosch i Gimpera – the organisation that manages the commercialisation of knowledge generated at the University of Barcelona.
He worked in industry with Advancell and Lipotech and also had experience of being an entrepreneur, having founded and led RadisMed, a biomed start-up focused on the discovery and development of orphan drugs and diagnostic products for rare diseases. He held a PhD in Molecular Biology from Columbia University and an MBA from IESE.
“Àlex’s sudden passing was a shock for all at EIT Health. He was an important member of our community and his family and friends remain in our thoughts at this difficult time”, said Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of EIT Health.
A minute’s silence was held in Àlex’s honour at the EIT Health Summit in Łódź, Poland last Tuesday. His funeral will take place in Barcelona this Wednesday. A further commemoration to mark his work and impact with EIT Health will be announced in the New Year.
May he rest in peace.