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Proof of Concept Projects at IQS

Four IQS projects have been recognized in the 2022 “Proof of Concept” call to aid them in advancing towards the development, transfer, and exploitation of the results they have achieved in their research.

Proyectos Pruebas de concepto en IQS

Four IQS projects have been recognized in the 2022 “Proof of Concept” call for grants by the Ministry of Science and Innovation – State Research Agency that aim to facilitate researchers’ progress in the development, transfer, and exploitation of the results they have achieved in projects that have earned grants in previous calls under the National Plan.

The four projects that have earned funding in this call are:

  • paCOSValor, for the biotechnological production of chitosan oligosaccharides defined as immunostimulants, scaling, and exploitation.
  • PreclinIQS080, for the preclinical study of a candidate drug to fight against pancreatic cancer.
  • LIVENANO, new therapies to treat portal hypertension and hepatic fibrosis in humans. Validation and scaling of the production process.
  • LABINQUIRY, laboratories for inquiry-based teaching in mathematics and beyond.

paCOSValor project

Biotechnology Area. Biological Chemistry and Biotechnology Group (GQBB), PI Dr Antoni Planas.

Derived from the GLYCO2ZYMES project, the objective of paCOSValor is to develop a proof of concept project aimed at the biotechnological production and optimization of paCOS – partially acetylated chitoologosaccharides – which, together with chitooligosaccharides (COS), have great potential as nutriceutics or functional ingredients for food and animal feed, as well as stimulants for the immune system and promising candidates to replace antibiotics.

The biotechnological production of structurally well-defined paCOS is a bottleneck that hinders the elucidation of structure-function relationships on its immunostimulatory properties. Based on the group’s recent research, the GQBB will carry out pilot plant-scale paCOS productions (at the IQS CTPTI bioprocess pilot plant), with the aim of advancing and enhancing these oligosaccharides for biological testing and applications in the industrial sectors of human health and animal feed.


PreClinIQS080 project

Pharmaceutical Chemistry Area. Pharmaceutical Chemistry Group (GQF), PIs Dr Jose I. Borrell and Dr Carlos Semino.

This project arose from PANCTKI, a research project carried out by the GQF group to search for dual tyrosine kinase inhibitors in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, one of the most aggressive carcinomas with the worst prognosis. The candidate IQS080 emerged as a potent in vitro multitarget inhibitor.

This proof of concept aims to push IQS080 along the long road of developing a new drug following initial preclinical studies, advancing from the experimental proof of concept to the following phases: laboratory demonstrated technology, proof of concept demonstration in in vivo models, pharmacokinetics, safety, and toxicity of the formulations. Finally, the European patent for IQS080 will be applied for as a candidate drug against pancreatic cancer.

This project is being conducted in collaboration with the Dr Alberto Villanueva’s group at the Catalan Institute of Oncology.


LiveNano project

Biomedicine Area. Materials Engineering Group (GEMAT). PI Dr Salvador Borrós.

In this project, the GEMAT group’s researchers will address the validation in a hospital setting of a treatment for portal hypertension (a frequent clinical syndrome in patients with cirrhosis) and for cystic fibrosis, based on the use of polymeric nanoparticles previously developed within the INANOLIVE project, which have already shown efficacy in mice. Validation will be carried out in a GMP-like environment, using an automated microfluidics methodology and featuring efficacy tests in explantations of human livers.

In parallel, a technology transfer package will be developed to get the product to the market as soon as possible, followed by the generation of intellectual property rights and the establishment of the clinical strategy.

At the end of the two-year proof of concept, the aim is to achieve a validated technology in human tissues, with automated nanotherapy batch production, similar to GMP.

LiveNano is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Wladimiro Jiménez’s group at the Hospital Clinic – IDIBAPS.


Labinquiry project

Numerical Methods and Economics Area. Applied Data Analytics Group IQS (ADAMIQS).PIs Dr Mariana Bosch and Dr Jordi Cuadros.

LABINQUIRY has emerged as a proof of concept within the QMUNDO project, focused on the design, implementation, and analysis of new teaching proposals within a line of research based on the Anthropological Theory of the Didactic (TAD). It aims to transfer the didactic proposals designed and tested in the QMUNDO project to the educational community through an online didactic module that can be adapted to different types of learning platforms as a support structure for teachers.

A second objective is to establish the Labinquiry Community prototype, an online platform to manage the interactions generated, thus creating a knowledge space where experiences can be shared.

The validation of both prototypes will be carried out with an initial group of 15-20 teachers from secondary schools and universities and their respective students. Subsequently, it will be disseminated among further educational centres, universities, and teacher associations, thus validating it in a relevant environment.

This project is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Barcelona.

The four Proof of Concept projects have been funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by the European Union “Next Generation EU”/PRTR



Doctoral thesis

New Synthetic Methodologies for Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Pancreatic Cancer

Dr Claudi de Rocafiguera recently defended his doctoral thesis at IQS, in which he established an improved synthesis pathway of pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidin-7(8H)-ones, identifying a multitarget TKI inhibitor candidate against pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.