• Date: March 21, 2019

Rafael Mañez, CEO of RemAb Therapeutics

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), also known as nosocomial infections, are infections that are contracted by patients in a healthcare setting, affecting up to 10% of admitted patients during their hospital stay. It has been estimated that HAIs cause upwards of 100,000 deaths a year in the US and Europe alone, with two-thirds of these deaths being the result of gram-negative infections.

With many strains of bacteria displaying multi-drug resistance, there is an urgent need to develop novel treatments which can help to address the growing threat posed by this issue. One of the projects selected in CaixaImpulse 2016, now operating as a spin-off of IDIBELL named RemAb Therapeutics, aims to do just that.

The overall goal of the project, which is currently at the preclinical stage, is to establish a viable treatment that can prevent HAIs, thus improving patient survival rates and reducing the length of hospital stays and their associated costs. Their novel approach involves the removal of antibodies with glycoconjugates to boost the patient’s immunity.

RemAb Therapeutics is now advancing towards its goal of bringing the elimination of antibodies with glycopolymers to the clinic. Rafael Mañez, its president and CMO, commented, “The project is currently carrying out the production of the molecule, with the aim of doing the preclinical regulatory studies in the second half of the year, and subsequently presenting the documentation to the regulatory authorities in order to start the clinical trials in the year 2020.”

From here, clinical trials are estimated to last another five years, after which, Rafael hopes to see 20 years of rigorous laboratory research brought to a clinical setting. RemAb Therapeutic’s objective is to eventually introduce a number of pioneering products to the sector, which will work to eliminate specific problematic antibodies, consequently reducing HAIs and bringing about improved outcomes for hospital-admitted patients.

In addition to its involvement in the CaixaImpulse programme, this project has also received support from the European Commission (in the form of EIT Health and SME phase I funding), and the Startup Capital of the Generalitat de Catalunya, all of which have been vital in propelling it to its next stages, according to Rafael. Specificallly, the funding received from CaixaImpulse “allowed us to make an external valuation of our product, as well as the realization of the business plan of RemAb Therapeutics”, he observed. Going beyond just financial support, he added, “The training we received, and the contacts we made at CaixaImpulse were crucial for the creation of the company.”

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