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Ysios has made the first divestment from its second fund, selling Dutch company Prexton Therapeutics to Lundbeck for an initial sum of €100 million plus €805 million in development, regulatory and commercial milestones for the product (therapeutic solutions for patients with Parkinson).

Adan Medical Innovation and Cebiotex have each closed a crowdequity round of funding through Capital Cell this month, raising €547,652 and €680,400 respectively. Both surpassed the initial target.

Bitrack, the surgical robot developed by Rob Surgical, is now being used to operate on laboratory animals and artificial bodies. The firm led by Jaume Amat hopes to close a €3-million round of funding to get certification from the European Union and the FDA to use it on humans.

Archivel Farma has signed a contract with Laboratorios Silanes, one of the main pharmaceutical companies in Mexico, to develop the RUTI® tuberculosis vaccine in that country.  

Top Doctors has opened offices in Buenos Aires with 15 employees to move into the Argentinian market. The company also expects to enter a new European market in the second half of the year. This Catalan company posted turnover of €5.6 millions in 2017, twice that of the previous year, and expects to hit €16 million this year. Doctoralia has also opened a new office in Curitiba (Brazil).

Atrys Health has acquired Telrads, one of the main teleradiology operators with image diagnostic capabilities in Spain, for €4.8 million.

Catalan outsourcing firm Winche Redes Comerciales has reached an agreement to manage the Sanofi consumer health division. This contract will generate 30 new jobs.

Additionally, Spanish company Afarvi, which specializes in water treatment projects and processing facilities for the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, veterinary use and cosmetics, has announced it will open a delegation in Catalonia.


Results and appointments at big pharma corporations

Mario Rovirosa will be the new CEO of the Ferrer group. This position was previously held by Jordi Ramentol, who will maintain his ties to the company as a member of the board of directors. Rovirosa was previously COO of the company and held positions at Chiesi and Almirall. 

Grifols has paid €220 million to acquire German company Haema, the largest private network of donation centers in Germany and the biggest private transfusion service in the country. Grifols closed out 2017 with net profit of €661.3 million, up 21.4% from the previous year. The company’s global staff grew 23% to a total of 18,300 employees. In Spain, it grew 6.3%, for a total of 3,649 professionals. Additionally, Grifols has completed the experimental phase of its clinical trial AMBAR to treat Alzheimer and expects to present the results in the fourth quarter of this year.

Reig Jofre also posted results, with earnings of €8.8 million in 2017, up 15%. Reig Jofre and Leanbio have created the joint venture Syna Therapeutics for the development of biosimilar products.

Esteve Teijin Healthcare, the joint venture between Esteve and Teijin has moved its storage facility from Gavà to a new 5,400-m² warehouse in Castelldefels.


Groundbreaking procedures at hospitals

This month, Catalan hospitals have carried out groundbreaking procedures. Hospital Sant Pau Barcelona presented a new breast-reconstruction technique that, for the first time ever in Spain, allows women to recover breast sensitivity homogeneously.

Hospital Sant Joan de Déu has implanted the first wireless pacemaker in a teenager in Spain. Hospital del Mar has launched the first protocol in the country to ensure kidney transplants can be done without blood transfusion for Jehovah’s Witnesses. This center was also the first in Spain to use 3D printing to treat skin cancer with small tumors. 

For the first time in Spain, Hospital Universitari Dexeus has applied a new, less aggressive technology for endometriosis surgery, which uses a type of inert gas. Also a first in Spain, a team of surgeons at the Teknon Barcelona medical center have operated on the brain of a patient with Parkinson using robotic technology.

In terms of new units and facilities, Hospital Clinic has created a mental health unit for pregnant women, the first initiative of its kind in Spain.

Hospital del Mar and Hospital Sant Pau have agreed to combine their Neurosurgery services, which will treat more than 800,000 people in Barcelona and be one of the most important in Catalonia in this field.

The assisted reproduction clinic Institut Marquès has inaugurated its new headquarters in Barcelona, in the Planeta building on Avinguda Diagonal.

This month, Vall d’Hebron and Roche Farma held the 1stJo Innovo event, recognizing the innovative talent of professionals at the Vall d’Hebron Campus. The winning project will print anatomical fetus models in three dimensions (3D) as an educational tool.

Furthermore, Vall d'Hebron also presented its second solidary scarf initiative. The funds raised through this program will help scientists working to fight cancer. The 3,000 scarfs available can be purchased online and at Barcelona Natura shops for €15.


Research: more patents

The number of European patent applications from Spanish companies and institutions rose 7.4% last year for a total of 1,676. Of these, 37.6% came from Catalonia. The entities in the BioRegion with the most patents are Esteve, UAB, VHIR, ICFO, Institute for Health Science Research Germans Trias i Pujol and Almirall. 

The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) has developed a non-invasive optic device for cerebrovascular conditions that measures blood flow and oxygen level. It is being tested on stroke patients at Hospital Sant Pau.

A non-invasive method allows doctors to detect high prevalence of undiagnosed chronic liver disease, according to a study by IDIBAPS.

IdibGi researchers have validated an imaging technique to predict the risk of hemorrhage after a stroke. IdibGi, IDIAP Jordi Gol and IMIM have kicked off a study to determine the degree of correlation between depression and cardiovascular risk.

Hospital Sant Pau in Barcelona and Hospital Gregorio Marañón in Madrid have published a paper in the British Journal of Cancer on a new diagnostic tool to assess the risk of thrombosis in oncology patients.

Researchers at IRBLleida have published a paper in Atherosclerosis showing that the combination of levels of three proteins increases prediction of cardiovascular episodes in patients with chronic kidney disease.

The Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) has designed graphene implants capable of detecting speaking signals on the surface of the brain and sending them to an external device, where they are decoded and reproduced as a voice. This opens the doors for those who have lost the power of speech due to a neural disease to regain their ability to speak.

The “La Caixa” Banking Foundation and Caixa Capital Risc, with support from EIT Health, have kicked off the 4th Caixalmpulse program. The deadline for projects is May 2.

The Tax Agency has demanded some twenty research centers in Catalonia return VAT from previous years, which the Catalan Association of Research Centers (ACER) says will compromise their scientific activity and put the future of some of these institutions at risk.

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