A piece of news
Four initiatives of VHIO, UPF, IDIBELL and IGTP will receive personalized guidance and up to €300,000 in funding
Biocat will provide personalized guidance for the four projects selected in the first call of CaixaImpulse Consolidate, a new program of ”la Caixa” with the collaboration of Caixa Capital Risc to help research projects in the development phase to overcome the valley of death, attract funding from private investors and make it to market.
This call is the step after the CaixaImpulse Validate program, which is for projects in the early stages. The Consolidate call is always open and a maximum of three cuts are expected to be made each year to select projects that will receive up to €300,000 in funding. Plus, each participant will receive personalized guidance, on which Biocat will collaborate, including mentoring, expert guidance and large events to generate valuable contacts in the industry, with investors and in the market.
In this first call, 35 projects from Spain and Portugal were submitted and assessed by six international experts. The 4 projects selected are:
RAD51predict (VHIO): Project led by Alba Llop Guevara (Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology) to develop an immunoassay to detect tumor biomarkers that can identify which patients could benefit from a new treatment specifically for some types of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as the best patients to be included in clinical trials assessing the efficacy of these treatments in other types of cancer. The goal: to make this asset into a new diagnostic test to contribute to personalized cancer medicine. The technology has already been validated, a patent application submitted, and a market study carried out, along with other valorization activities.
Precision gene-editing technology for advanced therapies (UPF): Project led by Marc Güell Cargol, of Pompeu Fabra University, to develop new-generation gene-editing technology that combines the precision of CRISPR and the effectiveness of new vectors, and makes it possible to insert larger fragments of DNA into patients’ genome, as it is safer than other gene therapies. Initially, they are developing a first therapy for treating a minority disease, congenital muscular dystrophy type 1A (MDC1A), which could later be extended to other diseases. They have done validation in animal models and have applied for a patent.
Innovative alternative to antibiotics for bacterial infections in the ICU (IDIBELL): Project led by Rafael Mañez Mendiluce, of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, that proposes a technology to cure infectious diseases caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. It is based on temporarily inhibiting and eliminating circulating inhibitor antibodies found in many patients that help bacterial infections spread. The project has already been set up as a company, RemAb Therapeutics, and is about to include patients in its first clinical trial after being granted approval from the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices.
First-in-class gene therapy with adeno-associated virus to treat Friedreich’s ataxia (IGTP): Project led by Antoni Matilla Dueñas, of the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute, for a gene therapy to halt, prevent and revert the progression of Friedreich’s ataxia, a hereditary disease that affects children and adults and is caused by a gene mutation that leads to severe progressive neurodegeneration, heart problems and motor difficulties.