The startup Ophiomics was the winner of the semifinal of the 19th edition of the annual awards of the consultancy Everis in Portugal, having received 17 thousand euros and guaranteed the passport for the grand international final, in which it can win 70 thousand euros.
The biotechnology company has developed a healthtech called “HepatoPredict”, a medical device that, through artificial intelligence, can more quickly assess whether or not a cancer patient should be transplanted, without remission of the pathology. In practice, it is a laboratory test in which the tumor is biopsied and which allows the team of doctors to choose the appropriate therapy for the patient.
The co-founder and CEO told Jornal Económico (JE) that he is in advanced negotiations for a “large, millions of euros” financing with private investors. "Taking health projects to the market involves many millions of euros, so we will make several rounds of investment as we take steps that remove risk to the project," said José Leal.
Ophiomics was born in 2015 and today has eight employees and will, with part of this amount received, hire a business developer, a collaborator that allows them to start doing the commercial development of the business.
In terms of partners, it has the Curry Cabral Hospital, with whom it will soon be doing a prospective clinical trial, and the Germano de Sousa group - in fact, José Germano de Sousa is on the board of directors - but there are expansion plans and expectations of that Everis' knowledge and contacts also play a role in this regard.
“We have not yet started treating, but we will need to establish a set of partnerships to support the manufacture of the diagnostic kit that we are producing, deployment [software implementation], making the interface available to the doctor, the entire digital component ”, explained José Leal to JE.
In November 2019, the startup also co-founded by Joana Vaz won the EIC accelerator, an instrument to support European innovators that gave them access to a grant and funding from the European Investment Bank. However, the executive director of Ophiomics says that this world of international entrepreneurship contests is a recent bet. Thus, this is the second enrollment in programs and the second victory.
“This company was created with a completely different business model: very specialized diagnostic services. We were doing research in parallel and, discreetly, we were building this and, two years ago, we thought that we had to choose one thing or another and last year we redefined society, advancing to this new project. Only then did we start to show up, ”says José Leal.
What does HepatoPredict consist of?
Medical device (IVD - in vitro diagnostics) that allows assessing the level of success of a liver transplant in patients with liver cancer. It integrates genomic biomarkers and an algorithm developed based on machine learning, which allows, after a biopsy, to identify more quickly and accurately the patients eligible for liver transplantation, with a guaranteed cure rate, and those who should benefit from alternative therapies.
The test measures a set of variables in the biopsy of the tumor and gives information to doctors, such as: “This patient will most likely benefit from a liver transplant, he will be cured and therefore justified because he will have a long life and healthy ”or“ It is not justified because even if this person is given a liver, they will develop cancer again ”- José Leal
Ophiomics is now adapting the HepatoPredict for other surgical approaches to liver cancer, which will be presented "soon".