HIGHLIGHTS: The Government announces Biocat’s coordination of the future Advanced Therapies hub, new advances and breakthroughs in cancer, more business takeovers, and trade agreements for Catalan drugs
<p>November ends with the consolidation of a key project for the BioRegion of Catalonia: the <strong>Advanced Therapies hub</strong>. The president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, along with the Health minister, <a href="https://www.biocat.cat/en/news/catalan-government-officially-names-bioc… Biocat as the entity responsible for coordinating the future hub</a>, a key element of which will be the <a href="https://govern.cat/salapremsa/notes-premsa/454962/govern-encarrega-al-d…; target="_blank">National Advanced Therapies Centre (CNTA)</a>. As well as the different news from the sector, this month has also seen the announcement of the <a href="https://www.biocat.cat/en/current-news/blog/presentation-digital-health…; target="_blank">analysis and trends of the digital health subsector in Catalonia</a> in the latest report presented by ACCIÓ in collaboration with Biocat.</p>
New investment funds and other highlights in startups
The venture risk management company Inveready, which has headquarters in Barcelona, has announced that it is preparing a new investment fund with which it expects to raise up to 50 million euros to support biotech and health-sector companies. This month, this same fund headed the 2.3 million-euro financing round of Innerva Pharmaceuticals, a company that is developing a novel drug to treat eye pain associated with dry eye and other disorders of the ocular surface. In terms of investment funds, also worth highlighting is the acknowledgement received by Montserrat Vendrell, a partner at Alta Life Science and former managing director of Biocat, for the best investor of the year at the D+I Innovation Awards 2022.
In terms of news regarding startups, acknowledgement of SpliceBio as “Series A of the year” at the European Lifestars awards must be noted, and the award received by Vytrus Biotech for one of its active ingredients at the cosmetics sector trade fair In-cosmetics Asia 2022. We would also like to congratulate Able Human Motion on its 5th birthday. The startup took part in the Biocat acceleration programme CRAASH Barcelona during its incipient stage.
The biotech company Aelix Therapeutics has published a paper in “Nature Medicine” with positive results from the clinical study on the HIV therapeutic vaccine, and Doctomatic has been selected from among six finalists to form part of the Sanitas Eco-Disruptive programme that seeks innovative sustainability solutions to be included in its centres. This is one of the projects we highlighted in the latest Biocat article, which included some of the activities and programmes underway in the BioRegion to ensure ‘zero footprint’.
This month, BREAZ Medical was also established as a spin-off of the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (IGTP) for the early diagnosis of COPD. The company was created following participation by its CEO, James Hugall, in the Biocat talent programme d·HEALTH Barcelona. Find out more about the entrepreneur in this interview. Some startups are also seeking finance to continue growing. This is the case of DevsHealth, which opened its first round and raised 250,000 euros to continue developing its tech platform to develop drugs, or the Galician startup Oncostellae with offices in Mataró (Barcelona), which plans to raise 1.3 million euros on the crowdequity platform Capital Cell.
New examples of scientific potential in cancer and hospital innovation
One of the science teams at the IRB (Barcelona Research Institute), headed by Dr Eduard Batlle, ICREA researcher and group leader of Cancer CIBER (CIBERONC), has for the first time identified the source of metastasis in patients with colon cancer. The discovery, which stemmed from experiments with mice, seeks to produce treatments capable of slowing down the progression of the disease. Also related with scientific excellence in cancer at the research centres and institutes in Catalonia, Time magazine has acknowledged HER2DX®️, the first genome test in the world to specialise in HER2+ breast cancer and marketed by REVEAL GENOMICS® since January 2022, as one of the best inventions of 2022.
In biomedical research, “la Caixa” Foundation gave three grants to three biomedical innovation projects by three Catalan entities, an article by the IDBGI and the UPF has been recognised as the best biomedical publication of the year at the “Constantes y Vitales” awards, and IBEC (Bioengineering Institute of Catalonia) has announced that it is developing a device that combines microscopy and artificial intelligence to offer metabolic information on the egg before its cryopreservation.
We are pleased to announce the acknowledgement of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a label that recognises the main research centres in Spain with international prestige in their respective areas, and the 25th birthday of Idibaps, one of the scientific entities in Catalonia that, over the years, has become one of the main biomedical research centres in Spain.
Insofar as news regarding hospitals, the Parc Taulí Hospital has obtained the licence to produce 3D healthcare products, becoming the third hospital in Spain to obtain this authorisation. Also worth noting is the distinction of Bellvitge University Hospital for having become a “benchmark hospital” in Spain for Erdheim-Chester disease, just as it is celebrating its 50th birthday.
New trade agreements and business take-overs
The Catalan biotech company Minoryx has licensed its lead drug in Europe to Neuraxpharm for 258 million euros, a trade agreement that will allow for the drug to be marketed to treat X-ALD, a Central Nervous System (CNS) disease. Minoryx will be one of the BioRegion’s scale-ups to take part in the round table entitled “Hidden tips for success in healthcare” on 30 November, organised by Biocat as part of Tech Spirit Barcelona. Register, there are still some tickets left! Another business agreement this month was that of Syna Therapeutics, the joint venture of Reig Jofre, which signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Intas to market LB-0702 globally.
The biopharma company Alexion Pharmaceuticals, owned by AstraZeneca, has officially opened its new European research and development centre in Barcelona. Also in the news was Werfen, which reached an initial agreement to take over the US company Immucor for 2 billion dollars, an opportunity that will enable it to speed up its growth, and Almirall, which this month has opened a new subsidiary in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and which received approval from the Health Ministry to market its dermatological product Klisyri. The Catalan pharma company is currently continuing to seek a new CEO after Gianfranzo Nazzi resigned in early November.