The innovative therapy with high clinical benefit for cancer patients (in terms of efficacy and safety), led by Lucília Saraiva, from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Porto, is the winner of the Bluepharma Innovation Award | University of Coimbra 2023.

The research group developed, characterized and patented a new anticancer agent. This is an innovative drug candidate, the first capable of inhibiting the interaction between BRCA1/BARD1 proteins. Disruption of this interaction leads to the collapse of the DNA repair pathway, resulting in the selective death of cancer cells characterized by an accumulation of errors in this pathway (genomic instability).

"The uniqueness of this compound also lies in the fact that it is very effective in cases of high resistance to standard therapy used in the clinic, proving to be a true advance in the treatment of aggressive cancers such as pancreas, triple-negative breast, ovarian and prostate in advanced stadiums", explains Lucília Saraiva.

"Overall, this compound will represent a new therapy with high clinical benefit for cancer patients, in terms of efficacy and safety, and can also be combined with other anticancer agents existing in the clinic, markedly increasing efficacy and reducing adverse effects", he adds.

The winning project will receive a monetary prize of 20 thousand euros, which in the future could also translate into an additional investment of 30 thousand euros (when the market viability of the project is confirmed).

The Prize jury highlighted the originality, innovation and potential creation of value for society in the winning project, which is why they awarded it first place among the 18 competitors.

The applications were analyzed with accuracy and impartiality by a jury of members of recognized national prestige: Luís Pereira de Almeida (Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra), Luís Almeida (BlueClinical), Miguel Botto (Portugal Ventures), Sérgio Simões (Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra and Bluepharma) and chaired by Fernando Seabra Santos (Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Coimbra).

The jury also decided to award two honorable mentions to the projects Novel Approaches to Skin Pigmentation Modulation and Exploring the antibacterial properties of a surfactant-based hydrogel, led, respectively, by Miguel Seabra and Otília Vieira.

The Bluepharma Innovation Award ceremony | University of Coimbra 2023 took June 11th, in the Senate Room of the Rectory of the University of Coimbra (UC).

Presided over by the Rector of the University of Coimbra, Amílcar Falcão, the ceremony was attended by Paulo Barradas Rebelo, President of Bluepharma, the company promoting the Prize, and Fernando Seabra Santos, President of the Jury, among other individuals.

Every two years, the Bluepharma | University of Coimbra aims to distinguish scientific projects of excellence at an international level in the area of Health Sciences, which have high potential for transformation into products or services, of real interest to society.


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