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Ilse Sienaert

Ilse Sienaert

Investment Manager Spin-off & Innovation - KU Leuven Research & Development, Belgium

Isle Sienaert is an Investment Manager Spin-off & Innovation at KU Leuven Research and Development - LRD

Ilse Sienaert has a MSc in Industrial Sciences Biochemistry and a MSc in Engineering in Cell and Gene Biotechnology. After receiving her Ph.D.in applied biological sciences (University of Leuven – 1998), Ilse took a position of postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Institute of Biotechnology (San Antonio, Texas) where she focused on unraveling cellular calcium functions by imaging calcium signals in vivo using two-photon microscopy. 

In 2002, Ilse Sienaert joined 4AZA Biosciences N.V. (Leuven, Belgium) a spin-off company of KU Leuven focused on the development of small molecule new immunosuppressive drugs. Over the following 16 years, she further built up business experience in a start-up and SME environment.  

In 2008, she started to work as an innovation advisor for SMEs for the Innovation Center, advising CEOs on their innovation projects and securing subsidies. In 2011, she joined the Spin-offs & Innovation unit of KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) as an Innovation Manager, allowing her to fully focus on incubating, launching and developing life science and medical technology-oriented spin-offs and coaching the start-up teams.  

During the last 7 years, she executed due diligences for the Gemma-Frisius Fund, a seed capital fund exclusively for KU Leuven spin-off companies and LRD. She was involved in the start-up of more than 10 spin-offs and closed several investment deals. Currently she occupies three board seats in KU Leuven spin-offs and follows-up several other boards as key contact for LRD and the Gemma-Frisius Fund. She has experience in business development, venture capital financing and deal making for technology start-ups.