Iproteos, IRB Barcelona’s spin-off specialised in drugs to treat diseases of the central nervous system, is taken over by Accure Therapeutics


Iproteos, one of the 5 spin-offs launched by IRB Barcelona, focuses on the development of third-generation drugs for diseases such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, and atherosclerosis.

Its proprietary technology allows faster research processes to identify new drugs and produce novel molecules.

The new company Accure Therapeutics starts up with €7.6 M of investment, which will allow the development of its product portfolio and the takeover of Iproteos and Bionure.

Iproteos, a spin-off from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the University of Barcelona (UB) has become part of Accure Therapeutics, a new clinical research company devoted to diseases associated with the central nervous system (CNS).

For its launch, Accure Therapeutics has completed an investment round worth €7.6 M, which will allow it to develop its portfolio of products and to take over Iproteos and Bionure – companies specialised in neuroprotective drugs and with central offices at the Barcelona Science Park. The investment round has been headed by Alta Life Sciences and supported by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI).

With the takeover of the two Catalan biotech companies, Accure Therapeutics is advancing in its goal of developing treatments for CNS diseases, the leading cause of disability and one of the major causes of death worldwide. In fact, Iproteos’ products are a key and differential factor in the Accure pipeline, since they will provide the company with a portfolio of advanced-stage products that are close to clinical trials for the treatment of CNS diseases.

Iproteos currently has several projects underway for the treatment of CNS diseases, including schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and atherosclerosis. Founded in 2011, Iproteos came about from research by Teresa Tarragó, Associate Researcher at IRB Barcelona, and Ernest Giralt, head of the Peptide and Protein Lab at the same centre and emeritus professor of the University of Barcelona.

By becoming part of Accure Therapeutics, Iproteos will be able to accelerate its projects and access networks of international investors and pharmaceutical companies more quickly, to which it could license out the products in the future. Iproteos’ director, Teresa Tarragó, says, “Forming part of a new company like Accure Therapeutics, with a team of outstanding senior scientists with experience in the pharmaceutical sector and with strong investors such as Alta Life Sciences and CDTI, is a fantastic opportunity for the projects initially conceived and developed by Iproteos to reach patients quickly”.

In 2016, Iproteos closed a first financing round of €2.7 M to complete the preclinical stage of its compound for the treatment of Cognitive Deficit Associated with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia (CIAS). The Iproteos cognitive enhancer is a state-of-the-art drug prepared using proprietary IPROTech technology, a cutting-edge platform that combines computer and biotechnology tools developed by the biotech research team for the design innovative therapeutic molecules, called peptidomimetics. Based on highly advanced computational chemistry tools specifically designed to generate and model novel molecules, this technology makes it possible to greatly accelerate the research processes for obtaining new drugs.

IRB Barcelona has given rise to 5 spin-offs to date

Technology transfer and innovation are key activities through which IRB Barcelona has fostered the setup of 5 spin-offs since its foundation in 2011. “IRB Barcelona is a centre devoted to fundamental research and it aims to transfer our knowledge to society, and one of the ways to achieve this is by fostering the development of spin-offs so that our research benefits patients with diseases that currently have no treatment,” says Francesc Posas, director of IRB Barcelona.

Cristina Horcajada, head of the Innovation Department at IRB Barcelona, adds, “Spin-offs are key to guarantee that the results of our research become a product and reach the market. With this aim, we work to ensure that our research leads to disruptive innovation and contributes to solving new medical challenges”.

Last year, IRB Barcelona’s most recent spin-off, Ona Therapeutics, which focuses on the development of a new drug for the treatment of metastatic cancer, closed a seed financing round of €1.5 M from Sabadell Asabys.

Also in the field of cancer, Inbiomotion was launched in 2011, a company devoted to personalized medicine that aims to develop biomarkers that predict bone metastasis and thereby improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Supported at its start-up by a financing round of €2 M headed by Ysios Capital, the Fundació Privada Vila Casas and JVRisk Technologies, the company received €2.2 M in 2016, in a second financing round led by “la Caixa”.

Another outstanding case is Nostrum Biodiscovery, a biotech company created in 2016 as a spin-off from IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) and devoted to the discovery and launch of new biotech drugs and molecules. To date, the company has received €1.5 M of financing, including contributions from the Marcelino Botín Foundation, the Ministry of Science, and the Horizon 2020 Programme.

Also, IRB Barcelona gave rise to the spin-off Omnia Molecular, a company focused on the design and development of anti-infectives for infections that are difficult to treat. Although Omnia Molecular ceased activity in 2016, while in operation it synthesised and optimised lead compounds through its in-house technology platform and these molecules were effective in various biological tests.