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Inveready Seed Capital –the venture capital firm led and participated in by the Inveready Group– has just invested in Transbiomed through their first round of funding. Inveready holds a minority but significant share in the company, which is the first spin-off of Barcelona’s Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHRI). Transbiomed’s first round of funding has raised 1.2 million euros, combining capital and public soft loans for applied research, innovation and entrepreneurship that will be handed over throughout 2011. The public institutions that have participated include the Ministry of Science and Innovation and ACC1Ó. After the operation, the founders will maintain control of the company. 

Transbiomed and the VHRI have developed a urine test for early diagnosis of prostate cancer, whose effectiveness is based on a combination of genomic biomarkers discovered and patented by the company.  The test adds a valuable tool to the current diagnostic process for prostate cancer, which mainly uses the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) marker as a tool to screen patients with a high risk of developing this disease. When the PSA is above a certain level the patient must have a prostate biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

This procedure is painful, causes the patient undue worry and uncertainty, costs the healthcare system more than 600 euros per biopsy and is not without risk of bleeding. It therefore must be carried out with urologist prepared to operate if necessary. Despite all this, PSA tests also give a high percentage of false positives; up to 66% of patients that test positive on PSA analyses are not diagnosed with prostate cancer later. Therefore, the majority of biopsies carried out could be avoided if PSA were supplemented with new, non-invasive diagnostic tools that reduce the number of false positives.

The new diagnostic test developed by Transbiomed and the VHRI, used on patients with high PSA levels, will allow doctors to avoid 42% of the more than 500,000 biopsies carried out each year in Spain.

The product has been developed using samples from more than 200 patients. The results obtained will be validated clinically through a prospective trail to be carried out in more than ten hospitals. The clinical trial will be paid for thanks to this latest round of funding. If the clinical trial validates the results found so far, the new test could go on the market before the end of 2013. Transbiomed was founded in 2007 by doctors Jaume Reventós, Andreas Doll and Miguel Abal from the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, and Raimon Forés, executive in the biotechnology sector. Participants in this round of funding, in addition to Inveready, included strategic partners like doctors from the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and other centers around the country, as well as other business angels.

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