The BioVac project led by IBEC and ICN2 awarded at the BIST Ignite Awards 2020

BioVac, a project led jointly by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) has been awarded the BIST Ignite Awards 2020.

The aim of this collaboration is to populate nanoparticles with antigens to create a new generation of vaccines against untreatable infections and multi-resistant bacteria. The award ceremony of the BIST Ignite Awards 2020 will be held on March 11 at the Auditorium of La Pedrera.

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Last April 2019, the 5 winners of the BIST Ignite Grants were announced, with € 20,000 financing among them, the BioVac project. Thanks to this first phase, now the project led by Eduard Torrents of the IBEC and Daniel Ruiz of the ICN2 has been one of the two beneficiaries of € 50,000 of additional financing that will allow them, for 12 months, to advance in the second phase of project development , which will give a solution to important medical challenges.

It is estimated that in 2050 about 12 million people will die around the world because of infectious diseases. The reason is two-fold. First, antibiotics are becoming less effective due to the resistance developed by the bacteria to antimicrobial treatments. Second, there are still several infectious diseases for which most of the vaccines used nowadays, mainly based on live-attenuated pathogens, are ineffective. The BioVac project, a collaboration of the groups Nanostructured Functional Materials (Nanosfun) of ICN2, and Bacterial Infections: Antimicrobial Therapies (BIAT) of IBEC, address these challenges with an innovative approach.

The hypothesis behind the project is that polymeric particles that mimic the size and shape of the target bacteria, and incorporate antigens from this pathogen, could cause the immune system to produce an immune reaction better than by administering the antigens alone, and without the risks and limitations of introducing attenuated bacteria.

The other award-winning project “BioSpad” is led by IFAE and ICFO and aims to measure blood flow in the brain since it is a biomarker of health and proper functioning of the brain.

The evaluation panel valued that the project features a simple and elegant concept with a clear short-term biomedical application. It also underscored the highly productive first phase and the clarity of the objectives and work plan for the second phase, as well as the potential of the project to raise funds from public administrations and private foundations to allow the project to reach a clinical phase.

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Prof. Daniel Ruiz (ICN2) and Prof. Eduard Torrents (IBEC)