MiMARK, VHIR spin-off focused on women’s health, moves into Barcelona Science Park
MiMARK, a femtech company that specialises in developing innovative solutions for gynaecological diagnosis of patients with unresolved clinical issues, has just inaugurated its new facilities at the Barcelona Science Park. The company, one of the 11 chosen companies to participate in the BCN Health Booster accelerator, hopes to begin clinical validation studies in 2023 for its first product, an in vitro molecular diagnosis kit for endometrial cancer.
MiMARK was established in January 2021 as a spin-off of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR) with the mission of revolutionising gynaecological diagnosis and improving women’s health and quality of life. The company is focusing on developing innovative in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests that improve clinical management of patients with gynaecological issues.
The project is led by its founders: Dr Marina Rigau (CEO), who holds a PhD in diagnostics and biomarkers and has experience in science management; Dr Eva Colás (CSO), principal investigator for the VHIR Biomedical Research Group in Gynaecology, who has dedicated her career to understanding endometrial cancer (EC) and gynaecological fluids; and Dr Antonio Gil (CMO), head of the Gynaecology Service at Vall d’Hebron Hospital, chief of the VHIR Biomedical Research Group in Gynaecology and a renowned clinician, in Spain and internationally.
The first product MiMARK is working on is WomEC, an IVD molecular diagnostic test that is minimally invasive and can detect EC in women with Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB), while providing information on tumour histology to guide surgical treatment. WomEC is currently in the prototype-development phase, and the company expects to begin clinical validation studies in early 2023.
“Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in women in developed countries. Diagnosis currently fails in over 30% of cases, which necessitates invasive diagnostic testing that could be avoided,” explains Dr Antonio Gil.
In this regard, Dr Eva Colás notes, “Preliminary studies on WomEC have shown sensitivity levels of 99% and a negative predictive value of 97%. We hope the product, once clinically tested, can become part of standard hospital care, eliminating invasive procedures.”
MiMARK is one of the 11 companies chosen to take part in the BCN Health Booster acceleration programme, promoted by the Barcelona Science Park and the Barcelona City Council, in collaboration with Barcelona Activa and support from Biocat. Participating in this programme has allowed the company to begin working at its new facilities at the Park.
“The BCN Health Booster accelerator gives us access to lab and office spaces, as well as a mentoring programme led by Biocat. Plus, being at the Park is particularly valuable for a newly created spin-off because it means being part of the most important biotech ecosystem in Catalonia and being close to many other companies in the sector that have already been through the stage we are at now, which is a big help”, states Dr Marina Rigau.
In October 2020, the company, whose shareholders are VHIR, Caixa Capital Risc and the founders, won the EIT Health Wild Card 2020 – Women’s Health edition. Through this award, MiMARK will receive €1.5 million in funding from the European Union over 2 years to promote the WomEC development.
MiMARK was also one of the three companies to win the 5th ChemoStart Programme from InsudPharma. The group will support the project with its own resources and a team of mentors providing strategic guidancefor the company
Finally, MiMARK is also part of the CataloniaBio & HealthTech IVD Accelerator Programme, which gives access to specialised training and important stakeholders in the field of IVD.