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This month saw the year’s biggest operation in the sector: Sabadell Asabys led a €20-million round of investment in Anaconda Biomed to bring its stroke catheter to market. Also, Atrys Health closed its capital increase, at €5 million, with strong overdemand. Berdac raised €445,000 in a round led by Equity4Good. And Oxolife has opened a €1.5-million round after getting back the drug it had licensed to Kern Pharma.

Zeclinics has been chosen to participate in a European project with €8 million for cardiac regeneration that will kick off in January and last 5 years.

Now let’s turn to corporate operations: Ergon Capital has tied up its acquisition of Palex Medical for €150 million. Inkemia has sold 30% of Leanbio for €320,000 to cut its debt and has put off paying bonuses until the end of May 2020.

Hartmann will invest €5 million in its plants in Catalonia, in Mataró and Montornès, in order to produce for new markets. Barcelona Science Park has also expanded, with 19 new laboratories and investment of €1.5 million. For their part, Eugin and NMC have opened an assisted reproduction clinic in Barcelona with over 6,500 square meters, aspiring to be the biggest in Europe; and HM Hospitales expects to open its fourth center in Barcelona.

More business news: Pangaea has reached an agreement with Oncogenomics to offer a new test for genetic characterization of various tumors. And this month, Catalan Minister of Health Alba Vergés and Director General for Healthcare Research and Innovation Robert Fabregat visited Rob Surgical to see the new Bitrack system for minimally invasive robotic surgery.


Grifols makes headway in Alzheimer

Among the big names in the sector, Grifols has completed its study on Alzheimer and is nearing commercialization of the therapy. Plus, the company has also launched a biological sealant to control surgical hemorrhaging and its first subcutaneous immunoglobulin to treat primary immunodeficiency in the US. Also this month, Grifols won the European Industrial Excellence Award 2019, granted by business schools all over the world.

Ferrer has sold its chemical division, HealthTech BioActives, to The Riverside Company. For its part, Almirall has joined forces with Iktos, which specializes in artificial intelligence, to speed up discovery of new drugs. In the section on names in the news, Almirall has hired a new CMO: Volker Koscielny, from US company Celgene.


La Marató and IRISCAT, center stage

Like every December, the spotlight in research was on La Marató de TV3, which raised more than €9 million for research in minority diseases.

This month, the Government also announced the creation of IRISCAT, an alliance of 7 research and innovation institutions with ties to the Catalan Institute of Health: IDIBELL, VHIR, IRB Lleida, IISPV, IDIBGI and IDIAP Jordi Gol i Gurina. And their goal? To carry out a joint strategy to make the most of the synergies and high standards of care and research to improve translational and clinical research in the Catalan healthcare system.

One of the participating centers, IRB Lleida, has appointed a new director, Diego Arango, who previously worked in the Digestive tumors research group and as coordinator of the VHIR oncology research department. Additionally, the Government inaugurated an exhibition on the Catalan healthcare model at Palau Robert in Barcelona.

More synergies: Barcelona’s 5 big hospitals have joined the new postIMA program for care after incidents with multiple victims. The program takes a preventive and care-based approach to the psychological trauma that can be caused by these events.

Vall d’Hebron and Janssen are leading the EU-PEARL project (EU Patient-cEntric clinicAl tRial pLatforms), which aspires to bring about a paradigm shift in clinical trials in Europe through an adaptive, patient-centric platform that will help speed up drug development.

One incident that has filled the papers this month is the woman who survived 6 hours in cardiac arrest due to hypothermia without any neurological effects: the rescue and reanimation operation was conducted by the Government of Catalonia Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services and Hospital Vall d’Hebron.

Another heart that is beating again thanks to innovation in the BioRegion: Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital was able to regenerate a heart after a heart attack with a bioimplant of umbilical-cord cells. The bioimplant was designed and created by a team at Can Ruti and one at BST.

For its part, Hospital Clinic Barcelona has begun to do 3D prostate surgery for the first time in the world. They have already done 25 cases successfully and will present the technique at the European Association of Urology Congress next March in the Netherlands.


Publications in oncology and neurology

Like every month, let’s look at the science publications signed by researchers at research institutions in the BioRegion.

In oncology, scientists at Bellvitge and the UB have discovered the role glucose plays in tumor cell growth and Hospital Clinic has led a study that discovered a combination of just two drugs that is as effective as chemotherapy in treating breast cancer. Also, researchers at IRB analyzed how the protein-degradation process is involved in tumor growth.

In neurology, scientists at the University of Barcelona have discovered some glucose bodies that encapsulate and get rid of brain waste and another study by the same center has identified a genetic network involved in the evolution of human faces and the trend towards being more sociable: the findings reinforce the hypothesis of human auto-domestication.

A study by VHIR, Hospital Clinic and CIBEREHD has discovered that the intestinal microbiota plays a key role in alcoholic hepatitis. These findings open up new treatment options for the disease. Additionally,  CIBEROBN has determined that natural chromosome shortening can be prevented by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, like the Mediterranean diet, and a study by ISGlobal has shown that abusive television watching is the lifestyle habit with the highest correlation with childhood obesity.

More advances in research: VHIR has identified a key protein in cardiac healing and remodeling after a pressure spike and IDIBELL has discovered niches in bone marrow protect hematopoietic stem cells from aging. Also, a study at Hospital del Mar has shown that pollution reduces the success rate of in vitro fertilization.  

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