Press release


10/12/2016
ZeClinics receives €1.87M funding from the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2
ZeClinics SME Instrument 2 grant
Zebrafish
ZeClinics has been granted with the SME Instrument Phase 2 within the European Union framework Horizon 2020, category "Supporting Innovative SMEs in the healthcare biotechnology sector". The company, mono-beneficiary, receives € 1.87 million, 100% of the proposed budget for the project "ZeCardio: High-throughput cardiotoxicity screening (HTS) with zebrafish embryo".
 
One of the most important challenges biotech companies face is to get enough funding to turn their most innovative projects into reality. Especially, those that represent an important return to society, in the form of technical innovation, but which development represents a technological challenge and a high risk for the company that creates them.
A few days ago, the EU awarded ZeClinics the SME Instrument Phase 2, the most important and outstanding grant for small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe. This powerful funding tool is part of the Horizon 2020, the EU's main research and innovation program, with a total budget of €77 billion to be invested in projects of excellence. The objective of the SME Instrument is to promote highly innovative projects to transform them into concrete commercial solutions with high social and economic impact, both in Europe and globally. However, proposing an innovative idea is not enough to be financed by the SME Instrument. Its evaluators face hundreds of excellent projects, but only a few are finally funded.
ZeCardio is a platform that will combine the use of transgenic zebrafish embryos, a more advanced version of the initial already launched ZeCardio® cardiovascular physiology analysis software, and robotic instrumentation that will accelerate and automate the drug screening process. This comprehensive platform will allow analyzing, in response to pharmacological treatments or cardiovascular disease genetic models, multiple parameters of the cardiac physiology and vascular system in hundreds of zebrafish embryos daily. The automated acquisition of high-frequency videos of hearts and blood vessels will be analyzed with ZeCardio®, which, thanks to its advanced image analysis algorithms, will allow the quantification of the most complex cardiotoxicity parameters, including those difficult to assess currently in preclinical models (Cardiac frequency, arrhythmias, atrio-ventricular block of first, second and third degree, ejection fraction, etc.) and extending them to the evaluation of vascular physiology (blood flow velocity in veins and arteries, vasodilation, vasoconstriction, etc.).
ZeClinics will be able, through the use of ZeCardio, to analyze all these parameters in an automated way and in a large number of individuals simultaneously (Industrial Scale-up). Therefore, this technology will substantially reduce time and, consequently, the resulting analysis cost, introducing into the biotechnology, medical and pharmaceutical industry a tool capable of the cardiotoxicity early detection of thousands of molecules libraries.
This enormous opportunity means that ZeClinics can accelerate most of its R&D efforts and consolidate the company's foundations to face even more ambitious future challenges. The SME Instrument 2 will allow ZeClinics to achieve a business growth of more than 400% of future turnover and EBITDA, 70% of the personnel and 500% of productive capacity.
“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 755988”.
 
 
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