The UB spin-off, Gate2Brain, wins the Senén Vilaró Prize for the development of a technology that facilitates the delivery of drugs to the brain

The spin-off of the University of Barcelona (UB), Gate2Brain, has won the Senén Vilaró Award from the Social Council of the UB and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation for the best innovative company of the year. It is a biotechnology company created in 2020 and focused on the development of therapies that efficiently cross biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier, thus facilitating the delivery of drugs to the brain. Gate2Brain is also a spin-off of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Institute (IRB Barcelona), and the Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital (SJD).

The spin-off aims to increase the effectiveness and reduce the side effects of brain disease treatments through a radically innovative technology based on peptides, a type of molecules formed by the union of several amino acids.

Gate2Brain was established to exploit the technology developed for more than fifteen years in the peptide and protein laboratory led by Ernest Giralt, professor emeritus of the Faculty of Chemistry of the UB, at IRB Barcelona, ​​of which the current CEO of the company, Meritxell Teixidó was an associate researcher. The line of research that he has directed over the years has given rise to three families of shuttle peptides with the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver therapeutic molecules to the brain that cannot be done alone. All three patents have been licensed to Gate2Brain.

The first product the company has created is a new therapeutic approach for pediatric brain tumors. It is a product that combines oncology, rare disease and pediatrics and has been protected by two recent patents whose marketing rights are exclusively licensed to Gate2Brain. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to increase the brain penetration of the transported anticancer agent and increase the antitumor activity in vivo in animal models derived from patients.

A growing market

Born 3 years ago with the initial investment of the Mind the Gap Program of the Botín Foundation and BStartup Health of Banco Sabadell, and last year it was the beneficiary of an EIC Accelerator grant from the European Commission in the amount of €2.5M.

Gate2Brain operates in the market for transporting medicines to the central nervous system, which, according to estimates, could reach $4.6 billion in 2026 with an annual growth rate of 30.2%.

The company has competitive advantages over other companies in the sector and its business model focuses on obtaining licensing agreements with pharmaceutical companies that develop drugs for the central nervous system.

The jury of the Senén Vilaró Prize of the Social Council of the UB and the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation has highly valued all the milestones achieved by Gate2Brain since its creation, predicting a very promising future.”

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