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Francesc Posas, Judit Anido, Eduard Batlle i Xavier Salvatella. Photo / IRB Barcelona.

Eduard Batlle receives the Catalan National Research Award

The Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI) have awarded the 2023 National Research Award to Dr. Eduard Batlle, head of the Cancer program at IRB Barcelona, based in the Barcelona Science Park. In this 34th edition, the National Research Awards (PNR’23) have also honoured IRB Barcelona an ICREA– Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, in the category ‘Innovation for the Creation of a Science-Based Company’: the spin-off Nuage Therapeutics. The PNR’23 award ceremony will be held on June 20 at the National Theater of Catalonia.

Dr. Batlle‘s recognition comes for his pioneering research into colorectal cancer, where he has made significant strides in understanding the disease’s architecture and its metastatic spread. These discoveries have been crucial in developing new therapeutic approaches that are currently undergoing clinical trials.

Dr. Eduard Batlle is an ICREA researcher, head of the Colorectal Cancer laboratory at the IRB Barcelona, and group leader at the CIBER of Cancer (CIBERONC). Dr. Batlle‘s laboratory has identified residual tumour cells hidden in the liver and lung, revealing how they evolve until the appearance of metastasis of colorectal cancer in these organs. According to the FCRI, identifying the cells responsible for the relapse in colorectal cancer is a vital breakthrough in the fight against the disease. Similarly, his research in preclinical models has shown that early immunotherapy, performed before surgery, can eliminate these cells before they initiate metastasis, which could prevent relapses in colon cancer. These contributions, which today inspire cancer researchers around the world, are opening new avenues to develop treatments and diagnostic tools that slow progression and improve the prognosis of a disease that affects millions of people worldwide.

“It is a true honour to receive this award and an incentive to continue conducting the most ambitious research to understand colon cancer metastases which, unfortunately, remain an unresolved medical problem today,” Dr. Batlle states.

Innovating Prostate Cancer Treatment

The spin-off from IRB Barcelona and ICREA, Nuage Therapeutics, was founded in 2021 by Dr. Xavier Salvatella, Dr. Mateusz Biesaga, Dr. Denes Hnisz, and Dr. Judit Anido. Its activity focuses on developing drug screening assays targeted at intrinsically disordered proteins that undergo biomolecular condensation. In this way, it seeks to provide new treatments for diseases that are currently considered difficult to treat. The company’s main programme focuses on castration-resistant prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. Nuage Tx closed a funding round of €12M in 2023.

Accordint to Dr. Francesc Posas, director of IRB Barcelona:”Nuage Therapeutics is the seventh spin-off to emerge from IRB Barcelona. This award is a great recognition of the commitment we have made from day one at IRB Barcelona to ensure our research reaches patients.”

“This is a very important award because it recognizes technology transfer as an important scientific activity, and we are very pleased that it has been awarded to Nuage as it highlights the quality of our science and its aspiration to translate into tangible benefits for patients’ lives”, Dr. Salvatella adds.

» Link to news: IRB Barcelona website [+]