The Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), research center of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, has constituted this November BetaScreen, S.L., the first spin-off of the Foundation. It is a technology company specialized in the exploitation of machine learning algorithms that predict the abnormality of Alzheimer’s biomarkers from brain MRI and CT scans.
BetaScreen’s technology will be applied in MRI and CT scans performed on people participating in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, which has a preclinical phase of up to 20 years before the first symptoms appear. It is precisely during this phase that cognitively healthy people may present an abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, the presence of which exponentially increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The identification of beta-amyloid protein is complex, as the techniques used – lumbar puncture and positron emission tomography (PET) – are invasive and expensive. Thanks to the application of BetaScreen’s machine learning algorithms to MRI scans – mandatory in any initial screening of a clinical trial – it will be possible to identify which people really need the standard tests and in which cases they can be avoided because they are less likely to show preclinical alterations. Thus, it will be possible to detect people who could benefit from clinical prevention trials in a more cost-effective way.
The constitution of BetaScreen, S.L. has been possible thanks, among others, to the support of EIT Digital (2020-2021), which allocated €1M for its development. GENESIS Biomed has been responsible for the business activities, including support in the creation of the spin-off, considered one of the main activities included in the scope of the project. The creation of the spin-off will allow technology transfer, facilitate commercialization activities and ensure greater access to public or private investment to finance its activities.
In addition, the project has also been supported by the “la Caixa” Foundation, which in 2019 granted a financial aid of 50,000€ to the project through CaixaResearch Validate, which has the collaboration of “la Caixa” Foundation.
BetaScreen, S.L., is the spin-off founded by the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), a research center of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, together with group leaders Dr. Juan Domingo Gispert and Dr. José Luis Molinuevo, and Criteria Venture Capital S.I.C. S.A. The constitution of BetaScreen, S.L. is the culmination of the artificial intelligence algorithms research project developed five years ago at BBRC.
Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center is the research center of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, promoted by “la Caixa” Foundation since its creation, dedicated to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and the study of cognitive functions affected in healthy and pathological aging.
GENESIS Biomed, a company that operates in the biomedical sector and specializes in providing services to start-up companies, mostly from universities, research centers, hospitals and technology centers. GENESIS Biomed is headquartered in Barcelona and has offices in Madrid.