Barcelona Liver Bioservices (BLB), a spin-off of IDIBAPS, has been created for the design and development of pre-clinical studies in the fields of hepatology and hepatotoxicity. The co-founders are Jordi Gracia-Sancho, Jaume Bosch and Joan Carles Garcia-Pagan from IDIBAPS and Rosa Villa from CSIC.
This spin-off is born in part thanks to the CaixaImpulse program, the program of scientific entrepreneurs of La Caixa Foundation and La Caixa Capital Risk. The main asset of the company is an in vitro co-culture microfluidic liver system that mimics the microenvironment of the liver. This device, termed ExoLiver, allows maintaining the phenotype and function of human hepatic cells in culture during long periods of time and in better conditions than the conventional methods of culture. This maintenance of liver function in vitro allows studies of efficacy of drugs and toxicity in a microenvironment as close as possible to the human liver. “The characteristics of the device make it a model of high value within the pre-clinical phases of the development of new drugs in the field of liver disease,” explains Jordi Gracia-Sancho.
The device was developed by the teams of Jordi Gracia, Rosa Villa and Carmen Peralta of the institutions IDIBAPS, CSIC, CIBEREHD, Hospital Clínic and University of Barcelona, and has been licensed to BLB. “It should be noted that the potential and benefits of the device have been recognized both inside and outside our borders: it was selected by oral presentation in plenary session of the annual congress of the American Association for the Study of the Liver (AASLD), was awarded at the competition of innovation organized by VHIR- Biocat-Roche, and was selected in the 2016 CaixaImpulse program, among others” the co-founders point out.
The final aim of BLB is to offer this, and other products designed for pre-clinical research in hepatology, to pharmaceutical companies, small biotechs, CROs and research groups, to ultimately foster the development of new chemical entities to treat liver disease.