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HIGHLIGHTS: Catalan health startups exceed 2021 investments during the first half of the year, unprecedented €100M mega-round, progress in advanced therapies, new equipment and acknowledgements

We are publishing this wrap up with our bags pretty well packed! We’re saying goodbye until September at an interesting time: on one hand, Catalan health startups have exceeded investments of 2021 during the first half of the year with 296 million euros and, on the other, the first mega-round in the history of the BioRegion has closed. What can we expect from this autumn? Several specialist investors have answered this question. Happy summer!

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27.07.2022

First “mega-round” in the BioRegion and other operations

Impress has, without a doubt, been the major star this month in terms of investment. The dental health startup established in Barcelona in 2019 closed a Series B operation for 100 million euros- with a forecast 25 million euros to be closed sooner- for its international expansion. Through this injection of capital, the tecmed has become –once again- the highest-yielding investment round in the history of the BioRegion of Catalonia. If you want to know how and why Impress was created, retrieve the interview with its co-founder Diliara Lupenko.

Other startups to have also raised capital in July are Pangea Oncology (12 million euros), New Born Solutions (5.6 million euros) and Cuideo (5 million euros). Below the one million mark, AtG Therapeutics, former stakeholder of CRAASH Barcelona, raised 556,000 euros.

In terms of crowdequity, Exheus has closed a round of over 600,000 euros through Capital Cell, and the former stakeholder of d·HEALTH Barcelona Manina Medtech has received a grant for 75,000 euros from the ACCIÓ Capital Startup line. The biotech Oryzon Genomics has signed a financing agreement with Nice & Green by way of which it will be able to issue convertible debentures in new shares for a total sum of up to 20 million euros.

The investment funds in the BioRegion have also closed significant operations. Asabys and Pfizer have acquired a stake of the Belgian biotech Agomab for 38 million euros and Inveready has invested 4.5 million euros  in the startup Davon Labs.

The startups from the BioRegion that seek funding to continue growing are presented below. As follows:

  • The biotech Aniling, which specialises in diagnosis through genome sequencing methods, has opened a funding round of 7 million euros.
     
  • Loop Dx, former stakeholder of the d·HEALTH Barcelona, has started a round of one million euros to launch the sepsis biomarker.
     
  • Sweanty is to start a funding round this August for 150,000 euros to develop its product so that patients can validate the solution. The round will close in November.

 

And, before ending this section, we would like to present the news announced by some of the startups and organisations in the Catalan health ecosystem:

 

Advances in research and new equipment

In terms of advances in research, a multi-disciplinary team from the Vall d'Hebron Oncology Institute (VHIO) has, for the first time, treated a cancer patient with experimental therapy using their own TIL cells and the Polytechnic University of (UPC) is heading a European research programme on plasma gas medicine to lead European activity in this field. Furthermore, the Genome Regulation Centre (CRG) in Barcelona has discovered the secret to how oocytes remain healthy for decades.

In terms of COVID-19, a study headed by Hospital del Mar- Parc de Salut MAR, the IMIM and Pompeu Fabra University has concluded that the messenger RNA vaccines for COVID-19 -such as those made by Pfizer and Moderna- can be re-frozen without reducing their efficacy. To be able to continue researching viruses, the IBEC has received almost one million euros to study acute respiratory diseases caused by these pathogens. Also at the IBEC, a group of researchers has developed a new breast cancer model that recreates the complex composition of breast tumours using 3D bioprinting and another team is to form part of the European ATTRACT project to develop a diagnosis device that improves the selection of embryos in IVF procedures. In fact, this month it was announced that this research centre is to be located on the new Diagonal-Besòs Campus of the UPC, which is intended for research into energy, sustainability and biomedical engineering and is to open its door in the third quarter of 2025.

Insofar as new equipment, the IRB Barcelona has purchased the Chromium Controller unit, an extremely precise piece of machinery that uses microfluidics to interrogate the gene expression of thousands of cells simultaneously and individually.

Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, a trailblazer in lymphoedema surgery in Europe, has purchased the first robot for super-microsurgery in Spain for bacteriological diagnosis, and the Hospital Clínic has performed the second uterus transplant in Spain, a year and a half after this same hospital performed the first.

To debate and advise on the country’s R&D strategies, the Catalan Government has created the Horizon Group made up of around twenty personalities from research, innovation and business with diverse areas of knowledge and job profiles.

 

Takeovers, awards and summer parties

An important operation for the Catalan pharmaceutical industry took place this month: the Italian Italfármaco has taken over 100% of the Lacer laboratories. Acknowledgements also made the news for Hipra, which was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi for its involvement in the research into a new vaccine for COVID-19, and for Amgen, which won the Female Talent Promotion Prize and the Fundamed & Wecare-u Awards ceremony.

The startup Elem Biotech, a company that took part in the Biocat acceleration programme CRAASH Barcelona, has received an award from the Technology Circle of Catalonia, along with another three companies from the BioRegion -ABLE Human Motion, Integra Therapeutics and Uriach- which were rated among the 10 most disruptive companies in Catalonia, the ‘Catalonia Exponential Leaders’. The counterpoint to this good news is the closure of the digital medical insurance startup Elma due to a lack of funding.

We would like to end this summer wrap up in the most refreshing way possible remembering the Cataloniabio&HealthTech BBQ, which once again recorded record attendance figures, and the Tech Barcelona #SummerParty2022, where the health ecosystem was also out in force. Have a great summer everyone!

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