The European BIOCAPS project, which is drawing to a close after three years, has managed to achieve one of the key objectives in the framework of its mission to optimise the capabilities of the Biomedical Research Institute (IBI), namely to design and implement an effective innovation and knowledge-transfer model. The first results of this strategy, which will continue to go from strength to strength after termination of the project, can be seen from seven patents and new collaboration agreements with companies.
“The scientific quality of the work conducted requires suitable transfer and innovation strategies to ensure that the results have the appropriate impact on the market and in terms of improvements in public health,” explains África González, coordinator of BIOCAPS. As such, it was decided to dedicate one of the operational areas of the project exclusively to this challenge.
Over the course of the past three years, significant progress has been made in various directions: Firstly, a strategy for identifying intellectual property opportunities and defining procedures to protect, valorise and exploit the results has been designed.
In practical terms, this strategy allows a decision to be made as to whether a research result needs protection, and when, and includes a marketing plan for when such protection is needed. A total of 12 patents, seven of which have been awarded, have been managed on the basis of this model. A further two patent applications are currently being drafted for filing in due course. The patent applications managed include two methods for the diagnosis of cancers of the oral cavity and the lung, a new dialysis solution and methods for predicting the progression of a subject infected with HIV to disease.
Collaboration with the business sector
Another field in which significant efforts have been made has been to involve the business sector, especially local businesses, in the conduct of innovation projects. To achieve this objective, and in addition to presenting the BIOCAPS project via national and European platforms and networks, the IBI has joined the Life Sciences Biotechnology Business Cluster (Bioga), which brings together all Galician SMEs in this sector and with which numerous collaborations have been established.
Some of the new collaboration projects that the IBI has undertaken with various companies have led to innovations with a high value added clinical application. This is the case of new wireless technologies for electrocardiograms developed in collaboration with Imaxdi. Further examples include the new application for patients with depression, for use at home and which aims to improve their quality of life, designed together with Media Factory Galicia (Healthy Life), or the system for validating the effects of Omega 3 supplements developed together with BNNutrients.
With regard to IBI scientists, BIOCAPS has fomented a culture of innovation by organising a wide-ranging programme of training courses. These courses have covered topics such as patents in biomedicine, creativity, protection of intellectual and industrial property, entrepreneurship and the generation of business plans, or regulatory aspects affecting the marketing of research results.
In addition, significant efforts have been dedicated to identifying those areas at IBI whose results are closest to market and the companies with activities that may be complementary, and to establishing contacts with them.