NIVD, a startup deeptech in vitro nanodiagnostics, sets up at PCB
NIVD, a startup that specialises in developing nanosensors for early diagnostics, has opened an R&D centre at the Barcelona Science Park. The company has developed a disruptive technology that enables the design of nanosensors that detect diseases in real-time, even before symptoms appear.
NIVD was established in late 2021 in London (United Kingdom) by Sonia Trigueros, Dr. in Molecular Biology. She is also the co-founder and former director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Nanotechnology (Oxford Martin School-Oxford University).
Dr. Trigueros has a long scientific track in nanotechnology applied to medicine in the science and academic spheres, mainly at the Universities of Oxford and Harvard. She currently combines her activity at the forefront of the start-up with her work as an Associate Professor at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics of the University of Barcelona (UB) and at the Department of Biology of the University of Oxford.
NIVD has chosen Barcelona Science Park as a strategic location for the company’s R&D activities. “It is an ecosystem that gives us a privileged science and technology framework from which to promote excellent research to contribute to scientific advances. The Park has an excellent infrastructure for carrying out scientific projects, a great scientific communications team and, above all, support on all levels, which has undoubtedly been an immense help for NIVD and will continue to be”, says Dr. Sonia Trigueros. “Academics, like myself, need all the support we can get to move forward with our innovation projects”.
Nanodiagnostics, new frontier technology
Due to their nanometric scale, the nanosensors developed by NIVD can detect markers in very small samples of various fluids with high sensitivity and specificity. As opposed to any biological or clinical analysis, this is done in real-time (under four minutes) and directly without the use of fluorescent or radioactive markers.
“Our nanosensors can be trained, in a short period of time, to detect almost instantly -as fast and easy as a pregnancy test-different biomarkers and diagnose diseases before their symptoms appear in humans, animals and even plants”, explains Dr. Trigueros. “The ultra-sensitivity of our nanometric systems opens up a whole new world of possibilities, as they allow diseases to be diagnosed as quickly as possible”.
The scientific also notes that these nanosensors are much less expensive than existing diagnostic methods, “that take days or weeks to get results and/or require considerable investment in laboratory equipment and qualified personnel. NIVD nanosensors don’t have to be refrigerated, which is key for transport”.
From oncology to environmental pollutants
While the company plans to create an intellectual property portfolio based on its nanosensors for several diseases, it will initially focus on pre-symptomatic diagnosis of infectious diseases and cancers, “In this first stage,” Dr. Trigueros stresses, “we want to develop sensors for early diagnosis of diseases that currently have treatment, and the efficiency of the treatment will benefit if is used in the very early stages, such as proper use of antibiotics or for instance in cancer therapies that regardless of how many innovative therapies we develop for oncology treatments, they will continue to be limited if we can’t apply them in the early stages of the disease.”
At a later stage, the startup plans to expand our technology from pre-diagnosis through personalised-medicine management.
Additionally, the potential applications for the technological platform go beyond the human and animal health arena: “Since our nanosensors can detect a wide range of chemical and biological substances, the NIVD technology platform is very versatile. It can be very useful in a wide variety of areas, to identify pathogens in plants or environmental pollutants in the air or water, for example”, reveals the entrepreneur. “I find it fascinating that our technology has that potential!”
Sonia Trigueros’ passion for the academic world makes NIVD “not only a research and innovation company but also a lab for university students, offering them an open door to discover the scientific path and the numerous professional options it offers”, concludes the scientist.