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IRB Barcelona-ICREA spin-off Inbiomotion and Palex introduce pioneering test to aid oncologists in predicting recurrence and survival rates in breast cancer patients




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Spain is the first country in the world to have this technology.

Results showing the clinical utility of the test were published in Lancet Oncology and The Journal of National Cancer Institute.

The test is now available to oncologists and pathologists and will benefit an estimated 24,000 patients each year in Spain.

Sant Cugat/Barcelona, 28 September 2023 - Palex Medical, a national leader in precision oncology, and Inbiomotion, a spin-off of IRB Barcelona and ICREA, have signed an agreement to start marketing MAF-TEST®, initially in Spain and Portugal.

The MAF-TEST® predicts the prognosis of breast cancer patients and helps oncologists to identify those patients who may be able to prevent recurrence and benefit from adjuvant treatment with bisphosphonates, which are commonly used to treat osteoporosis. The test also identifies those patients whose prognosis would worsen if treated with bisphosphonates.

Thanks to this agreement, Spain will become the first country in the world to have this test, which could increase the survival of 8 out of 10 of the 30,000 early-stage breast cancer patients diagnosed each year in Spain.

Xavier Carbonell, CEO of Palex Medical, assures that "Palex Medical has always prided itself on being able to bring the latest technology to healthcare professionals and their patients. This agreement is a double source of pride for us because not only will we be able to help thousands of women with cancer, but we will also do it through a pioneering collaboration with a national company like Inbiomotion".

Dr. Joël Jean-Mairet, Executive Chairperson of Inbiomotion since 2012 and Executive Chairperson of Ysios Capital comments, "Ysios has played a very active role as a major investor in the company since its inception, with the clear objective of developing a test that will have a major impact on precision medicine in breast cancer patients. From the beginning, we have captured the interest of world opinion leaders and patients, who have helped us and pushed us to develop the MAF- TEST® so that its usefulness in breast cancer patients becomes a reality. We are now starting to market it in Spain and Portugal through Palex, markets in which Palex has the exclusive rights and a strong presence. We are working so that MAF-TEST® will soon be available to medical practice in other countries as well".

Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and, of these, 15-20% will eventually develop metastases. Therefore, being able to identify those patients with a higher risk of recurrence and being able to personalize their treatment is vital for their survival and quality of life.

Results showing the clinical utility of MAF-TEST® were generated using patient biopsies from two landmark clinical trials, each with more than 3,000 patients (AZURE and NSABP-B34). These results were published in The Lancet Oncology and the Journal of National Cancer Institute respectively, where it was shown that 80% of patients with breast tumors had MAF-negative tumors and that being treated with clodronate or zoledronic acid increased their disease-free survival by 14.3% and decreased their relative risk of death by 21.4%. In contrast, patients with MAF-positive tumors had no benefit, or even worse prognosis, from treatment with bisphosphonates (clodronate or zoledronic acid), irrespective of their menopausal status.


The MAF gene and its role in breast cancer

The MAF gene acts as an orchestra conductor, activating and blocking many other genes, and plays a very important role in breast cancer metastasis, particularly in bone metastasis. It regulates processes such as cell survival, metastasis initiation, metabolic turnover and the tumor’s ability to adhere to bone marrow-derived cells, as well as the formation of osteoclasts, a type of cell responsible for bone remodeling.

The MAF gene has been found to be amplified in 20% of breast cancer patients. In the case of patients with non-metastatic breast cancer, having amplified (MAF positive) or not (MAF negative) MAF has been associated with a very different response to bisphosphonate treatment, significantly impacting the survival of patients who are MAF negative.

Prof. Roger Gomis, IRB Barcelona Group Leader and co-founder of Inbiomotion, comments: "We have described and developed a new test that provides accurate selection criteria for adjuvant bisphosphonate therapy, improving the clinical outcome of breast cancer patients and excluding those who do not benefit. It is a biomarker that is easy to implement in any clinical pathology laboratory and we believe it should be routine in breast cancer characterization".

Carlos Hagen, Medical Director of the Oncology Division at Palex Medical, adds: “We are truly pleased with the opportunity to collaborate with Inbiomotion. MAF-TEST® is a technology that aligns perfectly with our vision of a disruptive, implementable product with self-evident value for professionals and their patients”.


About Inbiomotion

Inbiomotion SL is a spin-off of IRB Barcelona and ICREA, founded in 2011 by Dr. Roger Gomis, following the identification of the MAF gene as a biomarker to predict bone metastasis in breast cancer. Inbiomotion has developed a diagnostic kit based on the detection of MAF gene amplification, the MAF-TEST®, to promote precision medicine and improve the treatment of breast cancer patients. The company holds more than 200 patents and patent applications covering its proprietary MAFTEST® FISH and the use of bisphosphonates in the adjuvant treatment of early-stage breast cancer patients. The company's main investors are Ysios Capital, Caixa Capital Risc, Alta Life Sciences and the Vila Casas Foundation. For more information, please visit


About Palex

Palex Medical is the leading provider of advanced solutions for healthcare professionals in the hospital, laboratory, and research sectors. Founded in 1955, with a clear vocation for innovation, it is a leader in the supply of equipment for the hospital sector in Spain and Portugal. With a team of more than 800 people, Palex provides healthcare professionals with the most cutting-edge and innovative tools on the market so that they can do their job to the best of their ability and thus provide patients with the best diagnosis and the best treatment.

For more information, you can visit the official website or follow us on X @PalexMedical and Linkedin.


About the MAF gene

MAF (mesenchymal aponeurotic fibrosarcoma gene, a transcription factor of the AP-1 family) is amplified in primary cancer tumors. It is associated with increased metastasis, especially bone metastasis. MAF transcriptionally controls genes such as PTHrP, which regulates metastasis- related cellular processes such as survival, initiation, metabolic rewiring and, in particular, adhesion to bone marrow-derived cells and osteoclast differentiation. These observations indicate that the MAF gene has a key hierarchical role in metastasis.


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).