The ”la Caixa” Foundation provides funding to two innovation projects at the IGTP to accelerate development

- Research

The "la Caixa" Foundation aims to bring 20 new biomedical projects with large social  impacts to the market more rapidly within the framework of the CaixaResearch Validate and Consolidate 2021 calls. Two of this year's projects are led by groups from the IGTP. The programme aims to boost innovation and technological and knowledge transfer in the field of biomedicine and health and create new companies based on research.

CaixaResearch Validate 2021 - A project to predict mortality in cardiogenic shock patients

The project to predict mortality in cardiogenic shock patients led by Dr Oriol Iborra, of the heart disease group at the IGTP, aims to predict mortality in cardiogenic shock patients. It is one of 17 projects selected in this call for the CaixaResearch Validate 2021 Programme.

The after effects of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) affect approximately 34 million people around the world each year. In 8-10% of cases the patient develops cardiac shock with death rates of up to 50%.

Currently, doctors do not have effective prognostic tools to manage these emergencies, this means they lack information about the possible evolution of the patient, which affects their ability to take the right decisions.

The research group has identified four proteins, the levels of which can predict the prognostic of a patient who has suffered cardiogenic shock. These results have been used to develop a chemiluminescent assay (CLIA), which has the potential help doctors optimize treatments and take decisions rapidly to save the lives of these patients. The objective of this project is to complete clinical trials to compare this method with the standard reference currently available, to advance IP protection and prepare the route map for regulation and commercialization.

The foundation is providing support for 17 new projects, of the 97 presented in the CaixaResearch Validate 2021 call, which is aimed at early stage projects. Each project receives 100,000 euros to validate their technology and design a route map to valorisation.

CaixaResearch Consolidate - Improving the treatment of acute ischemic stroke 

The project Improving the treatment of acute ischemic stroke, led by Dr Alicia Martínez of the IGTP is one of three projects receiving CaixaResearch Consolidate Awards, aimed at more mature projects to help them reach commercial investment.

Acute ischemic strokes (AIS) are the third cause of death globally and the main cause of permanent disability in adults. AIS represents 85% of cases of stroke is usually caused by a blood clot in the brain.

Mechanical thrombectomy (MT) is the reference treatment for patients with AIS. During the procedure a catheter is introduced into an artery to reach the coagulated blood, which has caused the stroke. However, this the procedure is only effective in 50% of cases due to the lack of technologies to monitor patients and help doctors to take timely decisions before, during and after the thrombectomy.

The objective of this project is the development of the BraiN20, a non-invasive medical device which allows continuous monitoring of brain viability for each patient from the start of AIS symptoms and during the treatment. The BraiN20 determines which AIS patients could benefit from a TM, ensuring that medical staff take the right decisions. It also detects early signs of complications during and after surgery, which also improves the prognosis of the patient. The device is based on an automatic computational method which allows data collection and real-time beside analysis of the patented biomarker N20, without the need to modify the signal after the procedure.

Of all the projects selected this year, nine are in the field of therapies and drug development and 11 in medical technology, which includes diagnostic techniques, medical devices and digital health projects.

On top of financial support, all the researchers receive substantial specialized training in key areas (technology transfer, finance tools and negotiating) and mentoring. Expert consultants and entrepreneurs in the sector will provide tailored help to define the best valorisation plans (in the Validate programme) and their development and commercialization plans (in the case of consolidate).

In the words of the Corporate Director of Research and Health of the Government of Catalonia, Àngel Font, "valorisation and commercialisation of knowledge generated by our research centres is still a challenge in this country. Catalonia occupies the 16th place on the European Innovation scoreboard, as a moderate innovator. With the CaixaResearch programmes Validate and Consolidate we want to push the excellent scientific research, which Spanish research certainly is, into the market so it can benefit society."

The programme has been running since 20215 in collaboration with Caixa Capital Risk and the support of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Health), a leading European consortium in innovation and research centres and companies that are innovating in biomedicine and health. Participating teams have received 2,362 hours of mentoring and assessment and 835 hours of training as well as 1,500 meetings with experts.