10 August 2020 Bringing technological innovations to the clinical market

he technology for the SLIM project has been developed and tested in pre-clinical trials during the European H2020 Project RAIS

ICFO receives an INNOVATORS grant that will help bring a portable platform for the fast detection of sepsis closer to clinics Through the INNOVATORS 2019 grant program, the Generalitat de Catalunya helps to provide funding for knowledge and technology transfer projects for innovators working within the Catalan research and innovation system.

The project entitled “SLIM: Sepsis-screening platform based on lens-free interferometric microscopy”, technically driven by the Optoelectronics research group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Dr. Valerio Pruneri, will allow Dr. Roland Terborg -the innovator- with the support of ICFO’s KTT team on the business side, to carry out activities that will evaluate the creation of a new ICFO spin-off company.


About 20 million people are affected every year by Sepsis, an inflammatory over-reaction of the human body, caused by a severe infection, which can rapidly lead to death in more than 30 percent of cases. The cost of Sepsis in human lives, which exceeds number of lives lost to breast cancer, adds to the high costs of hospitalizations and treatment, which reached €10 billion in the EU and the USA in 2008.

The main challenge in the fight against Sepsis is the correct and early diagnosis of the cause of the infection, which can be due to different kinds of bacteria, viruses and fungi. For an accurate diagnose, several biomarkers must be detected in very low concentrations. The survival rate of patients with Sepsis decreases with every hour. With standard methods involving blood cultures, a full diagnose requires a minimum of 12 hours. Therefore, a faster diagnostic platform is of utmost importance.

The SLIM project aims at bringing to the clinical market a new platform that provides the information of several biomarkers relevant for sepsis diagnosis and treatment within 30 minutes. The technology has been developed and tested in pre-clinical trials during the European H2020 Project RAIS (www.rais-project.eu) and has already been tested at the facilities of the Hospital de Vall d’Hebrón in Barcelona with human samples.

During the SLIM project, the platform will reach the maturity in ICFO’s Innovation Lanchpad, that is necessary for large-scale manufacturing, preparing it for the clinical trials in hospitals and market entry in 3 years. This will be achieved by teaming up with key partners in the clinical and the industrial sectors and by raising funds as a consolidated spin-off company. The ICFO Launchpad gives innovative ideas a space to develop into new technology spin-offs. 8 successful companies to date are already bringing the value of research “made at ICFO” directly to society, with several new ventures like SLIM, in incubation.

This project is co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF)- 2019 INNOV 00062.