The story of our foundation
Sibylla is born out of a blackboard.
PPI-FIT is the result of divergent thinking outside of the comfort zone. It is the outcome of academic excellence at its best, where a cross-fertilizing environment allows brilliant minds to pursue disruptive ideas.
Sometimes these ideas end up in a company and in intellectual property that can revolutionize people’s lives.
Emiliano Biasini and Pietro Faccioli, co-founders and inventors of PPI-FIT, tried to tackle the complexity of drug discovery with an unconventional approach. As a theoretical physicist, Pietro had understood how the powerful mathematical tools of quantum physics applied to biology would have allowed for the first time the characterization with an atomic resolution of the protein folding pathways of large, biologically relevant proteins.
Emiliano, as a biologist, had been working on the prion protein all of his professional life, having as his ultimate goal to find a cure for prion diseases.
Being just a few buildings away from each other at the Trento University, the two worlds would have never met without the vision of Giovanni Spagnolli, co-founder and PPI-FIT developer and now Head of Science in Sibylla. Being a biotechnologist, he chose Pietro as his master thesis external advisor and Emiliano as an internal advisor.
Once Emiliano and Pietro met, the spark of innovation aroused immediately. The idea of targeting a folding intermediate was disruptive yet highly risky. But, supported by Maria Letizia Barreca and Graziano Lolli, co-founders and PPI-FIT developers, they could complete a validation project on the prion protein, now published in Comm. Biology, Nature Publishing.
The INFN, the University of Trento, and the Telethon Foundation, which funded this academic research, patented the PPI-FIT technology. The patent has been later on licensed exclusively to Sibylla.
The enthusiasm of this group of scientists rubbed off on Lidia Pieri, co-founder and now CEO of the company, formerly an astroparticle physics researcher, and at that moment working as the manager of an Argentine tango academy. Lidia favored the meeting of the PPI-FIT inventors and developers with entrepreneurs and scientists from outside the university. So she repurposed her time and strengths to shape up an entrepreneurial mindset among the PPI-FIT scientists.
Together, they founded Sibylla Biotech in October 2017.