With each of our innovator stories, we get a chance to meet the people behind EU-funded ideas, which have the potential to change our future for the better. 


In this issue, we share an insightful conversation with Maria Fátima Lucas, the CEO of Zymvol. The Spanish startup pioneers green chemistry through computer simulations, harnessing the power of enzymes to accelerate industrial processes. 

Zymvol made an impressive presentation at the first Innovation Radar Summit, receiving the main award of the Innovation Radar Prize 2023. They achieved over €3M in EU funding. 


Tell us more about yourself and your work? 

I studied Chemistry at the University of Porto, continued with a master’s and a PhD in Computational Chemistry, and researched enzyme mechanisms using molecular modeling at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) for 9 years. 

My work today as the CEO of Zymvol, the company I co-founded six years ago with two colleagues, is focused on using precision enzyme engineering to discover and design enzymes for industrial applications. 

We aim to make industry more sustainable with the use of biocatalysis as a much better alternative to accelerate chemical reactions, improving both processes and products of diverse industrial sectors such as Pharma, House Care or Cosmetics. 




What problem is your product solving and what makes its solution unique? 

The problem that still prevents more industries from switching to biochemical processes is the traditional need to invest up front in a project with uncertain success rate and that, usually, requires a considerable adaptation of an existing infrastructure. 

Our unique solution is what we call “precision enzyme engineering”. We deliver tailored enzyme solutions for every customer’s needs. Thanks to our technology, we help companies make the switch to biochemical processes easier and safer than ever.  

We not only simplify the enzyme design and discovery process, but also do it faster and more affordable than current solutions. Most importantly, we remain highly accurate and predict the outcome of projects before any major investment, facilitating customers’ resources allocation. 


How did you start your journey, and where are you now on the road to achieving your ambition?  

I have always liked being a researcher, but in 2016 I realised there were no stable opportunities for me as a scientist in Barcelona and decided to start my own company with Emanuele Monza and Victor Gil, who also worked at the BSC. 

Since then, I have had to learn a lot, because I was new in everything related to Business, and I am still learning, but I am surrounded by an exceptional team that is working hard for our purpose: making better performing enzymes accessible to everyone. 

In our road to achieving such a goal, Zymvol has received the support of different public funding sources and now we are privately backed by the seed funding of the deep tech VC firm Elaia Partners, which allows us to keep growing successfully. 

What’s the biggest impact EU-funding has had on your journey so far, and can you specify an outcome?

So far, we have received over €3M in EU funding. The funding has been successfully employed to integrate Machine Learning algorithms in our enzyme engineering pipeline thus accelerating and improving our computational predictions.  

But the support from Europe has allowed for much more than that. In particular, Marie Skłodowska-Curie programs have allowed us to hire highly qualified individuals and further train our own scientists through secondments in renowned universities and research centers like ITQB in Lisbon and Groningen University. 


Have you already tested your product with clients? What was it like?

We have already accomplished more than 100 customer projects and 71% chose to work with us again, representing a high success rate. Thanks to us, customers around the world can find efficient and sustainable solutions to their processes and products. 


What is Zymvol’s greatest achievement to date? 

In my opinion, the biggest achievement of our company has been to bring together bright minds from all over the world, capable of tackling one of the most difficult challenges of our time.  

We are living in a moment in history where we know we need to change how we produce goods, but often companies do not know how to bring about this change. Our team is pushing the limits of science and technology to deliver solutions that can truly change the world. 


How do you see Zymvol making a difference in the future?

By bringing together knowledge, molecular modeling and high-performance computing, we are enabling the widespread use of green chemistry in industry. 

Our customised enzymes can really help industries face some of the most challenging transitions they have to make to reduce raw materials depletion, pollution or waste treatment and reduction, but also to produce more efficiently and innovatively. 


Why was participating in Dealflow.eu’s Innovation Radar Summit 2023 important to you?

Attending the Innovation Radar Summit was a great opportunity to share what we are doing and connect with other people and organisations committed to finding and supporting new ways of giving answers to some of the greatest challenges of our time through science and technology.  


What did it mean to you to be a winner of the Innovation Radar Prize?

It is an honour to become part of the exclusive group of organisations that have won this prize over the nine editions of the Innovation Radar Prize. 

We are pleased to have been chosen this year as overall winner. It is a recognition of our work and another reason to keep expanding the power of enzymes and sharing our capabilities to improve the industry. 


How would you define success and what keeps you going in the pursuit of it?

To me, success means engaging in activities that I am passionate about and collaborating with exceptionally talented individuals. 

For Zymvol, I believe success is defined by making sure that bench solutions make it to the market and, thus, facilitating a genuine shift towards clean and sustainable chemistry. 

Article published by EurA AG.

About Innovator Spotlight Stories

The aim of innovator stories is to highlight and share with investors and relevant stakeholders in the industry, insights, and unique stories from some of the most innovative EU-funded project that Dealflow.eu is proud to support.

If you are an investor who wants to connect with Zymvol, please feel free to reach out at [email protected]

More about Dealflow.eu 

Supported by the European Commission, Dealflow.eu discovers and supports the most promising EU-funded innovators and connects them with relevant investors and corporates. The initiative was launched to help groundbreaking innovations secure the funding needed for their future commercialisation by offering them tailored support and matchmaking services. 

To learn more about Dealflow.eu, visit https://dealflow.eu/ 


Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them