The spin-off MiWEndo Solutions, which is developing a device to improve the early detection of colorectal cancer, has been selected as a finalist in The Spinoff Prize, created by Nature research journal and the pharmaceutical company Merck. The company, founded by the UPF and the UPC, in collaboration with the Hospital Clínic and the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), is one of 12 candidates selected by the jury from among 150 spin-offs worldwide that were presented.
MiWEndo Solutions is developing a low-cost medical device that will be attached to the endoscopes that are used for colonoscopies. Using microwave technology, it will scan the large intestine of patients to detect malignant polyps, which are precursors of colorectal cancer. This disease is the most prevalent cancer among the over 50s, which is why screening programmes exist to diagnose it in the early stages, when it is easier to treat and can be cured. The device created by MiWEndo Solutions will facilitate the location of these polyps, which are not always easy to find because the visibility of colonoscopies is limited, and it will also determine the degree of malignancy.
With this proposal, the company has gained a place in the final of The Spinoff Prize, an award created by the prestigious scientific publication Nature and the pharmaceutical company Merck to support and increase the visibility of spin-offs worldwide that are based on knowledge generated in universities. The winner will receive a prize of 30,000 euros.
In the first phase of the final, the 12 candidates will give a six-minute presentation online before a jury of experts to explain how they have converted original, high-quality scientific research into products or services that can address problems in the market and have a positive impact on society. The four selected companies will go through to the second round, which will be held on 13 July during the virtual meeting Future Insight, dedicated to the most recent achievements in science and technology.
From the UPC, the cofounders of the company are Jordi Romeu, Lluis Jofre and Joan O’Callaghan, researchers from the Specific Research Centre in Communication and Detection (CommSensLab-UPC). The activity of this centre, which is associated with the Department of Signal Theory and Communications and the Barcelona School of Telecommunications Engineering (ETSETB), has been recognised since 2006 with the María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence award.