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Dr. Eduard Batlle receives the Catalan National Research Award




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IRB Barcelona and ICREA have been awarded the National Innovation Prize for the creation of Nuage Therapeutics.

The Government of Catalonia and the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI) have today unveiled the laureates of the 34th National Research Awards. Dr. Eduard Batlle, head of the Cancer programme at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) Barcelona, has been honoured with the National Research Prize. This prestigious accolade recognises a researcher from the Catalan research and innovation ecosystem whose professional endeavour has significantly propelled forward a scientific discipline.

Dr. Batlle's recognition comes for his pioneering research into colorectal cancer, where he has made significant strides in understanding the disease's architecture and its metastatic spread. These discoveries have been crucial in developing new therapeutic approaches that are currently undergoing clinical trials.

Additionally, IRB Barcelona and ICREA have also been awarded in the Innovation category for the Creation of a Science-Based Company, for the foundation of Nuage Therapeutics. Nuage Tx focuses its activity on the discovery of new drugs targeted at therapeutic targets that, due to their structural properties, were not approachable until now and was founded from discoveries in Dr. Xavier Salvatella's laboratory at the IRB Barcelona.


Pioneering Colorectal Cancer Research

Dr. Eduard Batlle is an ICREA researcher, head of the Colorectal Cancer laboratory at the IRB Barcelona, and group leader at the CIBER of Cancer (CIBERONC). Dr. Batlle's laboratory has identified residual tumour cells hidden in the liver and lung, revealing how they evolve until the appearance of metastasis of colorectal cancer in these organs. According to the FCRI, identifying the cells responsible for the relapse in colorectal cancer is a vital breakthrough in the fight against the disease. Similarly, his research in preclinical models has shown that early immunotherapy, performed before surgery, can eliminate these cells before they initiate metastasis, which could prevent relapses in colon cancer. These contributions, which today inspire cancer researchers around the world, are opening new avenues to develop treatments and diagnostic tools that slow progression and improve the prognosis of a disease that affects millions of people worldwide.

"It is a true honour to receive this award and an incentive to continue conducting the most ambitious research to understand colon cancer metastases which, unfortunately, remain an unresolved medical problem today," Dr. Batlle has stated.


Innovating Prostate Cancer Treatment

The spin-off from IRB Barcelona and ICREA, Nuage Therapeutics, was founded in 2021 by Dr. Xavier Salvatella, Dr. Mateusz Biesaga, Dr. Denes Hnisz, and Dr. Judit Anido. Its activity focuses on developing drug screening assays targeted at intrinsically disordered proteins that undergo biomolecular condensation. In this way, it seeks to provide new treatments for diseases that are currently considered difficult to treat. The company's main programme focuses on castration-resistant prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. Nuage Tx closed a funding round of €12M in 2023.

Dr. Francesc Posas, director of IRB Barcelona, affirmed, "Nuage Therapeutics is the seventh spin-off to emerge from IRB Barcelona. This award is a great recognition of the commitment we have made from day one at IRB Barcelona to ensure our research reaches patients."

"This is a very important award because it recognizes technology transfer as an important scientific activity, and we are very pleased that it has been awarded to Nuage as it highlights the quality of our science and its aspiration to translate into tangible benefits for patients' lives," Dr. Salvatella concluded.


About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).