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The winners with the rector Joan Guàrdia; the president of the Social Council, Joan Corominas; and the manager of the FBG, M. Teresa Plo (Photo UB).

Gate2Brain, wins the Senén Vilaró Prize for the best innovative company 2023

Gate2Brain, based in the Barcelona Science Park, has won the ‘Senén Vilaró Prize for the best innovative company’ 2023, one of the four Board of Trustees and Bosch i Gimpera Awards, which are held annually to distinguish high-quality research studies conducted by young researchers, as well as cases of returning UB-developed and acquired knowledge to society. The award ceremony took place yesterday, 19 December in the Aula Magna of the Historic Building of UB, in a ceremony presided over by the rector Joan Guardia.

Gate2Brain has won the Senén Vilaró Prize for the development of a technology that facilitates the delivery of drugs to the brain. The company 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.

The company was set up in 2020, as a spinoff from la UB, l’Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital to exploit the technology developed over more than fifteen years in the peptide and protein laboratory of the  in Barcelona, a laboratory led by Ernest Giralt, professor emeritus of the Faculty of Chemistry of the UB, and in which Meritxell Teixidó, current CEO of the company, 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.

Meritxell Teixidó, CEO of Gate2Brain, during the award ceremony (Photo: UB).

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

Gate2Brain was established 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.