We invest in early-stage biotechnology and life sciences startups across Europe.
Almaral is no regular venture capital company. We not only offer investments and funding but also business and marketing consulting as well as legal services to innovative and growth-oriented companies in the biotechnology industry.
We create value for our clients by answering the strategic and operational questions that a startup company can face in its early stages. Our team has excellent business knowledge and understanding of the biotechnology industry. We understand the challenges and we are willing to help you. In addition, we have a wide network of partners and advisors to support you with operational functions and expanding internationally.
Are you an ambitious and driven entrepreneur with an innovation that can change life sciences? We’d be delighted to help guide you towards your goal.
Why are we in the market?
There is a lack of angel investor capital in biotech industry
What do we offer to our partners?
We are the one-stop-shop for growth-minded biotech companies
How do we serve our partners?
By offering funding, legal and marketing consulting, and a network of partners to support with operational questions
Meet our team
Dr Maria Severina
Investment Partner, CEO
Maria Severina (Ph.D., immunochemistry) is an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history over several decades of high-quality development and product deployment across multiple industries and technologies, bringing businesses to successful commercialization.
She is skilled in the in vitro diagnostics (IVD) industry, life sciences, new product development (NPD), customer relationships management (CRM), business operations, human relations. She is focused on antibody and antigen developments and commercialization. Dr. Severina is a strong professional entrepreneur who has been fortunate to work at all levels and in all functional areas of the biotech industry. She is best known as the founder of HyTest, the world’s leading antibody manufacturer. After one of the largest acquisitions in the life science industry in Finland she is currently actively involved with investment in start-up companies, leadership, risk management and Board membership.
Mr Alex Michine
Investment Partner, Chairman of the Board
Alex Michine, M. Sc, MBA, has over 25 years’ experience in various positions in the life science industry. He founded and successfully ran 3 biotech/cleantech SMEs, including from 2008, MetGen which has won the Frost and Sullivan European Industrial Enzymes Technology Innovation Award.
Mr. Michine has recently been promoting future technologies for the bio economy and has been an active spokesperson for the potential of cross-disciplinary collaboration. Mr. Michine has endorsed collaboration for bio economy in various forums. As the CEO of a successful SME, he has perfect understanding of SMEs’ challenges, from financing & recruiting to innovation and collaboration in the bio-based industry. With an exceptional overall understanding of the industries and business involved, Mr. Michine can address the needs of SMEs on many levels in a way that resonates well with other industry players.
Dr Kalevi Kurkijärvi
Kalevi Kurkijärvi (Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) has about 40 years’ experience in the international life science business (R&D, manufacturing, marketing, finance and corporate management).
In his early career Kurkijärvi worked as a scientist, research fellow, and lecturer in biochemistry, molecular biology and dental biochemistry at the University of Turku. During his career, Dr. Kurkijärvi has served on dozens of corporate boards of life science-based companies. He was also the co-founder, chairman & CEO of the Bio Fund Management Ltd. venture capital company, and prior that executive director of the venture capital group at SITRA. He is highly valued among corporate management. Dr. Kurkijärvi is now company owner and executive chairman in a family business providing management consulting and product development services.
Scientific Advisor, Partner
Elina Makino (PhD) has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals and biotech industry. Biochemist by training, she got her PhD at Weizmann Institute of Life Science and received a postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Her industry experience started at Millennium pharmaceuticals and continued at Genzyme in where she discovered several compounds including Venglustat, which is in late stages of clinical trials for several indications in rare disease and CNS. Most recently Elina joined a cell therapy startup, Sigilon therapeutics, where she led the team to develop cell therapies for various rare diseases, including Hemophilia and Fabry. Elina brings experience and expertise in rare disease, neurobiology, ophthalmology, oncology, and translational medicine approaches to transitioning projects from research to clinical development.
Mr. Juuso Enala
Juuso Enala is one of the most respected and well-known marketing communication consultants in Finland, with over 30 years of experience in international brand building.
After 10 years as a creative director at Young & Rubicam, and Bates, Saatchi & Saatchi, he founded the marketing communications agency Avidly Plc. in 1999. The firm soon became the leading Scandinavian agency in the field and was later listed on the First North stock market. In 2018 Mr. Enala founded Hansdotter Ltd., a firm specialized in strategic marketing consulting, where he is currently CEO and creative director. Mr. Enala earned his Master of Science in Business and Economics at the Turku School of Economics. He holds several positions of responsibility and serves on advisory boards of growth companies. He has excellent business knowledge as well as understanding of the biotechnology industry.
Mr. Lauri Kuronen
Lauri Kuronen (M.Sc. Econ.) has over 10 years of experience in early-stage Health, Life Science and MedTech companies and helping them to develop their business. Due to his background as an entrepreneur and angel investor, he knows how it feels to sit on both sides of the table.
Besides working as a Venture Partner in Almaral, Kuronen is dividing his time between Helsinki and Copenhagen with VEIL.AI, Helsinki-based healthtech company. Lauri earned his Master of Science in Business and Economics at the Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics. He has served in various board as well as advisory positions in healthtech companies.
Lauri brings experience and excellent networks in Finland and Europe in health and life science sector, concentrating especially to the start-up and investor collaboration. His heart beats for entrepreneurship and he likes to work hands-on with the companies
Mr. Pekka Hildén
Pekka Hildén, who holds an M.Sc. in Biochemistry and an MBA, possesses a solid foundation in the science behind various techniques and technologies used in the in vitro diagnostics and medical device industry. Additionally, he has a profound understanding of the industry landscape and market dynamics, providing him with a comprehensive perspective.
Throughout his career, he has collaborated with companies of all sizes globally, with a specific focus on China, Japan, and South Korea. Notably, he was entrusted with the responsibility of establishing a subsidiary in China.
During his professional journey, he has actively taken on diverse roles, including new product development, strategic planning, and mergers and acquisitions. These experiences have equipped him with a multifaceted skill set and a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in bringing innovative solutions to market.
He is enthusiastic about supporting new startup companies in introducing transformative cutting-edge advancements in healthcare, thereby contributing to the improvement of patient care and outcomes.
Hansdotter is the strategic marketing and branding partner of Almaral. The versatile team at Hansdotter believes that marketing and communication are processes that lead to strategic growth.
Hansdotter works according to a proven methodology that is rolled out over several domains: branding, marketing strategies, content marketing, channel marketing and product communication. The team has been working with leading international organizations for two decades and they speak fluently the language of biotech/life sciences companies.
The legal team at Smartius assists Almaral in creating and managing investment tools, executing investments, developing and managing target companies, and helps carry out exits.
Smartius has extensive experience in advising PE sponsors and venture capitalists, as well as venture-backed growth companies. Our legal team acts as advisors throughout the investment lifecycle, including matters related to fund structures, financing, M&A, intellectual property, corporate and securities law, management incentive plans, and exits.