Spin off companies

Although this is by no means expected from ICREA researchers, it so happens that sometimes they hit on something that shows promise of becoming a powerful new technology, but it seems impossible to develop that further without significant investment of time and money. In these cases, many choose to explore the option of creating a spin-off company dedicated to the concept.

List of spin off companies


    Supported by Irsicaixa AIDS Research Institute, HIVACAT and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Christian Brander.
    Born in November 2015.

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    AELIX Therapeutics is a HIV vaccine development company focused on the development and clinical testing of HIV vaccine candidates.  Founded in December 2015, the company closed a first round of investment of 11.5 mio and has hired 4 employees with offices at the Parc Scientific in Barcelona. The company works closely with investigators at leading HIV research institutions in Barcelona (Hospital Clinc and Irsicaixa) and other centers abroad. These collaborations ensure direct patient access and excellent clinical and laboratory monitoring of future clinical trials.  A phase I clinical trial to test the safety of AELIX’s lead products is scheduled to start in the fall of 2016.  A proof-of concept phase II trial in HIV infected individuals is envisioned to be completed by the end of  2019.

    AELIX’s vaccine platform consists of a novel design of a HIV T cell immunogen sequence that is delivered by various vectors in HIV infected and uninfected individuals.  The immunogen design is based on detailed immune analyses in more than one thousand HIV infected individuals from 4 continents and covering geographic areas where different clades of HIV dominate.  Its design was completed within the HIVACAT program, the Catalan HIV vaccine program started in 2008.  The initial clinical application of this new vaccine approach is focused on its use as an HIV-specific immunotherapy in already HIV infected individuals.  The goal is to rejuvenate, re-educate or completely newly induce most effective CD4 and CD8 T cell responses to relatively conserved regions of the HIV proteome. Such responses are expected to act against a large portion of the global viral diversity and should allow infected individuals to avoid the need for life-long treatment with antiretroviral drugs.  Strategic partnerships will be developed to conduct future large-scale clinical trials and to possibly further improve viral control by including additional immune-based strategies and compounds acting on latent viral reservoirs.  With positive data in therapeutic proof-of-concept studies, AELIX will consider testing its lead candidate as a preventive vaccine as well.  


    Supported by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), the Institut de Recerca Bioèdica de Barcelona (IRB Barcelona) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Victor Guallar.
    Born in December 2015.

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    Nostrum Biodiscovery is a biotechnological company focused on the computational biology sector and specifically; in the structure-based drug design area dedicated to early drug discovery and development based on rational design techniques.

    For 12 years, Dr. Modesto Orozco and Dr. Victor Guallar supported by top-tier public research institutions as Barcelona SuperComputing Center (BSC), Institute for Research in Biomedine (IRB Barcelona), ICREA and Universitat de Barcelona (UB) have been developing innovative in silico tools to reduce pharmaceutical and biotechnological R&D costs while improving the productivity and future profitability of the drug discovery process.

    Nostrum Biodiscovery technologies represents a unique breakthrough in this field since they will be bringing key features to pharmaceutical discovery users as the new approach to molecular simulation, target characterization, drug recognition and an integrated molecular dynamics into the drug value chain. 


    Supported by Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Pura Muñoz.
    Born in December 2015.

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    Prospera Biotech SL is a privately held company specialized in developing novel approaches for improving functionality, maintenance and regeneration of damaged tissue. Prospera implements its breakthrough biomedical technology in developing novel approaches to combat fibrosis, inflammation and to improve tissue loss and degeneration. We direct our effort to three major areas: first, development of new anti-fibrotic agents to reduce fibrosis in chronic conditions such as muscle dystrophies and after acute injuries such as sport lesions; second, to provide customized scientific assays upon request in the fields of regeneration, fibrosis, inflammation, atrophy, cachexia and aging effects in muscle and skin tissues; and third, to develop nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, sports medicine and dermatological applications.

    Prospera Biotech was born as a natural consequence of the extensive know-how accumulated by the scientific core of the Cell Biology Group (UPF), with the implementation of translational applications to medical needs and the straightforward application of this knowledge to biomedical R&D services after the incorporation of member with proven expertise in the identification of cellular regulatory pathways in the fields of cosmeceutic, nutraceutic and dermatological applications as well as in business management.

    The Company’s mission is to explore and develop new, optimized tissue homeostasis regulators, with a first focus on regenerative medicine, based on the last innovative, high-throughput and combinatorial biochemistry technologies.


    Supported by the Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) and ICREA.
    Entrepeneurs:  ICREA Research Professors Mel Slater and Mavi Sanchez-Vives
    Formalised in December 2015.

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    Virtual Bodyworks S.L. founded by Mel Slater and Mavi Sanchez-Vives is a spin-off company from ICREA/UB/IDIBAPS. The investigator from UB Dr Bernhard Spanlang is also a partner in the company. The objective of Virtual Bodyworks S.L. is to apply immersive virtual reality in the context of health improvement, both physical and mental. To this end the company has developed several prototypes and applications that have been tested and evaluated in our incubator, the EVENT Lab (Experimental Virtual Environments in Neuroscience and Technology Lab) as well as by professionals from various institutions.

    The development has been funded so far by ERC Proof of Concept to MS (System for Embodied Relational Experiences, Project No. 620256) and FIPSE (Foundation for the innovation and future development of health in Spain) to MVS-V. A further ERC Proof of Concept to MS has recently been retained for funding and is currently under negotiation.

    Until recently immersive virtual reality was confined mainly to the laboratory due to the fixed nature and cost of the equipment installation. However, based on new consumer level hardware the company has acquired the capability for our virtual reality system to be moved ‘out of the lab’ into society.  A virtual reality system has many different components that need to be integrated and the company owns software that does this integration across multiple devices, facilitating the development of applications.

    Virtual Bodyworks S.L. won the first ever given prize to a virtual reality application by The App Date, in December 2015. This was for an application called ‘Freud-me’ that provides an immersive tool for people to give themselves counselling about personal problems from the perspective of another person, for example, in this case Dr Sigmund Freud (http://www.freud-me.com).

    An application of the technology under commercialisation by Virtual Bodyworks S.L. is currently on display at the CCCB in Barcelona in the exhibition in the exhibition ‘HUMANS+’ (http://www.cccb.org/en/exhibitions/file/human-/129032). This shows an interactive virtual environment that is simultaneously shared by others where people carry out tasks together. It illustrates the power of virtual reality both to transform a person to another space and to work collaboratively with people who physically remote, and yet are represented in a shared virtual world.

    Virtual Bodyworks SL has been selected  for participation in the accelerators ESADE EMPENTA and MUNICH RE.


    Supported by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and ICREA.
    Entrepreneur: ICREA Research Professor Paul Verschure.
    Born in November 2014.

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    Eodyne Systems SL, a spin-off company from the research group SPECS (Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems) of the Center of Autonomous Systems and Neurorobotics (nras. upf.edu) at UPF, is launched to address one of the main health challenges our society is facing: functional recovery after brain damage which affects about 60 million people worldwide. Eodyne Systems SL will be commercializing a novel virtual reality based approach towards brain recovery and health, called the Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS). RGS is based on the basic research performed by SPECS on the principles governing mind and brain and validated in collaboration with its clinical partners. After successfully treating about 400 patients at different stages of recovery after stroke and publishing the results in leading scientific journals and conferences, RGS is ready to be used by society. To achieve maximal distribution a commercial route is provided through the Eodyne Systems SL business strategy.

    The partners of Eodyne Systems SL are Professor Dr. Paul F.M.J. Verschure, director of SPECS Research Lab and the inventor of RGS,  Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and Carmen Buisan, Senior project manager at SPECS.

    Eodyne’s flagship product, RGS, is a novel science-based solution for the integrated treatment of deficits that can result from stroke. RGS provides the global healthcare market with:


    * A low-cost tool for the neurorehabilitation of deficits in motor, affective, cognitive and linguistic capabilities due to brain damage

    * Applicability at all phases of treatment: acute and sub-acute (hospital or rehabilitation clinic) and chronic (home or health centre)

    * The active engagement of the patients in their rehabilitation following a personalized treatment approach

    * A system that empowers the patients and their social environment in the management of their own well being, customizing treatment to their means and lifestyle

    * An integrated system for remote treatment, diagnostics, monitoring and advise, allowing savings for patients and their relatives, primary healthcare providers, health centers and insurance companies

    * A life-long learning approach towards physical and mental health

    * A scientifically grounded state of the art ICT, artificial intelligence and virtual reality system that brings serious gaming to a qualitatively new level of deployment by integrating it with clinically validated methods and integrated solutions for diagnostic, monitoring and guidance.