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Meritxell Teixidó receiving the award at the third edition of Pediatric Innovation Day 2023, held in Warsaw (Photo: EIT Health).

The startup Gate2Brain, awarded in the 2023 EIT Health Wild Card programme

The startup Gate2Brain, based in the Barcelona Science Park, has obtained second place in the 2023 edition of the Wild Card program, thanks to its revolutionary method of transporting drugs to the central nervous system, which promises greater effectiveness in the treatment of pediatric tumors with fewer side effects. In this sixth edition, the pan-European competition for innovative health startups of EIT Health has put the fire on disruptive projects within the pediatric field, collaborating with its strategic partner the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital through its i4KIDS hub.

Addressing the healthcare gap that had previously seen 3.6% of EU children with unmet medical needs in 2021 in the European Union, this year the Wild Card Programme has focused more specifically on innovations seeking to address challenges in early onset pathologies, chronic conditions and rare diseases, and acute disease management, and has relied upon the insights and advice of key opinion leaders and a group of children and teenagers who act as a Scientific Council in SJD, KIDS Barcelona.  Innocens, an AI-empowered neonatal ICU support system, has been the winning proposal of this 2023 edition.

Gate2Brain has been runner-up in the competition  for their contributions in the field of innovation in paediatrics and maternity. The startup develops methods for the administration of peptide-based treatments that allow drugs to effectively cross biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier. Its most notable product, G2B-002, is a peptide transporter that delivers to the brain the drug necessary to combat diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare pediatric tumor that is difficult to treat and has a poor prognosis.

“For Gate2Brain participating in EIT Health Wild Card programme has been an unforgettable journey, learning from mentors and teams, creating a strong network of stakeholders and the opportunity to travel to the Pediatric Innovation Day in Warsaw to deliver our pitch. Being selected as runner-up of the award is the recognition of a team effort that give us the energy to keep going beyond barriers to beat pediatric brain tumors with our initial product that uses our technology to cross the blood-brain barrier”, as Meritxell Teixidó, CEO of Gate2Brain states. “We are immensely proud and deeply thankful to our exceptional team, mentors, and advisors. This award is a testament to our collective passion, resilience, belief, and expertise in bringing medicines beyond barriers”.

Year after year, since 2017, the Wild Card programme invites talented EU innovators to respond to health challenges through their innovative ideas. By fostering a supportive and collaborative environment, Wild Card encourages participants to think outside the box and challenge conventional thinking. With the guidance and support of experts and investors, teams have the opportunity to take on the challenge and bring innovative products and services to the healthcare industry.

According to Magda Krakowiak, Acceleration manager at EIT Health, “For the past six years, the Wild Card programme has been fostering needs-driven innovation through its challenge-based approach. This year, we connected entrepreneurs with SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital and i4KIDS, one of the leading children’s hospitals in Europe. These founders have acquired invaluable skills and access to our extensive network and investors. We believe their innovations will enhance health outcomes for future generations.”

» For further information: EIT Health website [+]