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GoodGut, a biotechnology spin-off of the University of Girona (UdG) and the Dr. Josep Trueta Biomedical Research Institute in Girona (IDIBGI), has just received a second-round investment valued at €615,000 euros to move forward with clinical validation of a marker to detect colon cancer and a system to detect intestinal inflammatory diseases, like Crohn’s.

The capital received comes after an initial investment of €184,000 in 2014 through the three F's (family, friends & fools) that the company put towards proof of concept for a marker to fight colon cancer with 100 patients at the Dr. Josep Trueta University Hospital. They also filed for, and are awaiting, a European patent last August.

The colon cancer detection system developed by GoodGut comes from a study led by Xavier Aldeguer (co-founder of the spin-off and head of the digestion unit at Trueta Hospital) that identified bacterial markers in feces that have a very high correlation with colorectal cancer. The method, called RAID – CRC, acts as a biomarker and is a non-invasive system with a very high pre-symptomatic capacity.

“The methods we have now are inefficient and invasive, they detect but they don’t prevent,” says co-founder and CEO of GoodGut, Mariona Serra-Pagès. “The results of the first clinical validation show that our system can detect colorectal cancer even before the patient shows symptoms and is better than the fecal occult blood test, which isn't specifically for this disease and detects it only in more advanced stages,” explains Serra.

Thanks to this new investment, the Girona-based company will be able to start the second part of clinical validation with more than 500 patients at four centers in Catalonia: the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) –Bellvitge Hospital, the Vic Hospital Consortium, the Dr. Josep Trueta University Hospital in Girona and the Institut d’Assistència Sanitària. The company’s founders believe that the product could be on the market by early 2018. “First, we’ll offer the service at Catalan hospitals and then we’ll look for an industrial partner to manufacture it and market it abroad,” says Mariona Serra.

A good part of the capital will also go to validating a non-invasive detection system for intestinal inflammatory diseases in patients with Crohn’s and infectious colitis. “We’ve already done proof of concept with 50 patients. Now we want to do a clinical trial with more than 100 participants at Trueta Hospital and apply for a European patent,” explains Serra.

Part of the capital GoodGut has raised was private and the rest loans. The round of private investment was led by the Girona BAGI network of business angels, which invested €315,000, along with other private investors. The remaining €300,000 was in the form of two equal loans through the La Caixa Venture Capital program and the AGAUR and IFEM Knowledge Industry program, which is funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the JEREMIE program.


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