Last year, CERCA, the Catalan Government institution that supervises, supports and facilitates the activities of research of research centres in Catalonia, set up a patent fund called Gínjol. This initiative aims to provide funding for knowledge transfer projects and to promote the regional economy.
According to CERCA Director Lluís Rovira, “the idea is not to increase the number of patents, but rather choose those that can really have a commercial impact, with subsequent profits.” Eleven scientific institutions contributed resources to the fund, and IRB Barcelona was one of them.
In November 2016, the first call for applications was launched, and in January ten projects were selected from eight collaborating centres. Each project was awarded 10,000 euros to cover the costs associated with patent processing and intellectual property rights. Once the patented ideas are successful in the marketplace, the beneficiaries of the grant return the money to the Gínjol Fund and it is then rechannelled into giving others the same opportunity.
IRB Barcelona received funding for the two projects it submitted: Oncoselective mechanism for gene or viral therapy, in collaboration with IDIBAPS, and A novel and promising new target against Alzheimer’s disease.
“We welcome this is great new initiative,” says Cristina Horcajada, Head of Innovation at IRB Barcelona. “It is very encouraging that two of our tech transfer projects have been recognised by Gínjol. It inspires us to continue our efforts to bring biomedical research to society.”