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Portuguese spin-off ensures EUR 2 million in international competition to fight against Alzheimer's disease

06th November 2019

The researchers of the national spin-off created a portable system to serve as a "fingerprint" library of several neurodegenerative diseases, allowing rapid and non-invasive tests in diseases such as Parkinson or brain tumours using only microlitres of blood. The researchers now want to join forces in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

iLoF is composed of three Portuguese researchers – from INESC TEC, from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP) and from I3S (Joana Paiva (INESC TEC/FCUP), Luís Valente (INESC TEC) and Paula Sampaio (I3S/FCUP) - and one researcher from the Oxford University (Mehak Mumtaz).

“Every three seconds, someone in the world develops the Alzheimer's disease. Although there are 50 million people around the world with this disease, there has been no new treatments approved in the last 14 years and more than 400 clinical studies have failed. Another recognised fact is that the number of patients with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple by 2050. This was the paradigm that we wanted to change: using artificial intelligence and photonics to accelerate the development of new and customised treatments for the Alzheimer's disease, ”explains Joana Paiva, a researcher of INESC TEC and one of the founders of iLoF.

The developed technology resulted from a joint work between two INESC TEC’s centres, the Centre for Biomedical Engineering Research – with expertise in the development of advanced techniques in the signal processing and artificial intelligence fields designed, from the outset, by its researchers - and the Centre for Applied Photonics – with expertise in the optics and photonics fields in the development of the microscale manipulation technology achieved since 2005.

The award that was achieved by the researchers resulted from a six-month work, in which the spin-off was accelerated by Wild Card, a programme organised by EIT Health, designed to support highly disruptive projects addressing the world's major health challenges. Among hundreds of projects, and after an intense technical and market validation that included Bootcamps and Hackathons in several European cities, the team received mentoring and advice from experts of the global industry who helped in guiding the project.

Among the mentors assigned to the team there are experts from CIMIT, a US consortium composed of the Harvard Medical School, MIT, among others.

The programme culminated in a final that was held in Munich, in which the team won before a panel of international investors, ensuring a EUR 2 million investment in order to accelerate the startup's growth plan.

The startup can now have EIT Health as an investor, which is the largest healthcare consortium in the world, born from a public-private partnership between the European Institute of Technology and hundreds of healthcare industry partners across Europe.

For further information:

For more information:

Joana Coelho

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