The G-Factor of BCI: Collaboration with the Golinelli Foundation

May 2019. BCI, BioCompatibility Innovation, is among the first innovative startups selected to be part of G-Factor, the new space of the Golinelli Foundation, inaugurated last February in Bologna. The Padua-based startup joins the elite group of nine startups and one competence center, the first “tenants” of the five thousand square meters of the new incubator-accelerator. The nine startups were selected from 124 international-level applications received for the Life Science Innovation 2018 call. This is another success for the team whose objective is to double the duration of animal-origin cardiac valves, following the excellent results of the experimentation – with the implantation of valves treated with the patented Facta methodology developed by BCI in common pigs – which saw two excellent teams, cardio surgeons and veterinarians, from the Gemelli University Hospital in Rome in 2018, coordinated by Professor Massimo Massetti.

But the interest in the treatment developed by biologists Alessandro Gandaglia and Filippo Naso, founders of BCI along with physician and entrepreneur Ugo Stefanelli, has long crossed national borders. As evidenced by contacts with companies and medical/university institutions in various countries, including the USA and China, funding received from the European Union, and participation as speakers at Euro PCR, an international congress bringing together the interventional cardiology medical community in Paris from May 21 to 24.

BCI is a biotechnology startup focused on maximizing the biocompatibility of cardiac valve substitutes made from animal tissues, improving their performance, and aiming to double their lifespan in humans. “The experimentation confirmed the effectiveness of our treatment on the valves and was the piece that increased interest, internationally, in BCI,” explain Gandaglia and Naso. “Our participation in the Paris congress also demonstrates the versatility of the Facta method, applicable even to cardiac valves implanted via transcatheter, with a much less invasive procedure, at the heart of the French event. And being among the first startups selected by G-Factor is another source of pride, confirming the effectiveness of what has been done and serving as a stimulus to continue our work.”

Meanwhile, BCI has reached one million euros in funding, thanks also to the contribution of the EU Horizon 2020 – SME Instruments project and the partnership with the Fondazione Opificio Golinelli. At the core of the process developed by the Padua researchers is the inactivation of the alpha-Gal molecule, which triggers adverse reactions in current biological-type valve prostheses. Calcifications occur in 50% of valves and lead to replacement on average after 10 years of implantation. With the Facta method, however, the times double, benefiting primarily the patients’ health, but also the public health system, considering that the total annual expenditure for managing patients with cardiac valve prostheses is approximately $14 billion.