Hawk Biosystems and Alias Robotics accelerate by obtaining the “EIC Accelerator” from the European Commission

Bizkaia, News

From more than 1,080 applicants from across Europe, Hawk Biosystems and Alias Robotics were among only 42 companies selected by the European Commission’s EIC Accelerator programme to receive a total grant of €285 million, in what was the most competitive funding round in the history of this programme specialising in deep-tech start-ups of excellence.

Located on the Zamudio/Derio Campus of the Euskadi Technology Park, Hawk Biosystems is a biotech company spun out of the Francis Crick Institute in the UK, whose mission is to ensure that cancer patients receive the most appropriate treatment exactly when they need it. With this support of €2.5M in grants and up to €4.5M in equity, the company will introduce a predictive diagnostic test in hospitals to improve the response of cancer patients to immunotherapies.

Alias Robotics, based at the Vitoria-Gasteiz Campus of the Euskadi Technology Park, is a robot cybersecurity company. They build on previous experiences in robotics, adopting a robotics approach to cyber security and offer security solutions for robots and their components.

Hawk Biosystems

The project presented by Hawk Biosystems addresses one of the “challenges” launched by the European Innovation Council (EIC) in 2023: the selection of disruptive deep-tech projects that focus on providing “Novel Biomarker-based Assays for Personalised Cancer Treatment”, focusing on the critical objective of identifying who, among cancer patients, is most likely to benefit from a given treatment (guided treatment). In this context, the main goal of the project presented by Hawk is to provide hospitals and researchers worldwide with a predictive diagnostic test to identify which cancer patients suffering from solid tumours can best benefit from currently available immuno-oncology treatments. This is one of the biggest challenges for cancer immunotherapies, innovative therapies with the potential to revolutionise cancer treatment that work very well in haematological cancers, but fail to provide satisfactory response rates in solid tumours, which account for 95% of cancer diseases. This is a very important clinical need in oncology today.

This project specifically targets immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapies, which account for 90% of all immuno-oncology drugs in clinical practice today. The current gold standard used to guide patient stratification for these therapies, PD-L1 protein expression levels in tumour cells present in patient biopsies, is often grossly inadequate. In fact, research conducted by Hawk Biosystems indicates that, in cancers such as lung cancer, this incorrect stratification of patients could lead to 47% of patients receiving treatments that are inappropriate for their biological condition. Although clinical authorities such as the US FDA have recently approved promising alternatives, such as the Tumour Mutational Burden (TMB) technique, this too has unfortunately proven ineffective. This lack of adequate methods to guide treatment contributes to disappointing response rates of patients with solid tumours to ICIs, well below 15% in most of these tumour types. Preliminary clinical validation conducted with the Hawk diagnostic test, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (of the American Association of Clinical Oncology) in 2023 – the highest impact global scientific journal in the field of clinical oncology – indicates that guiding patients to the most appropriate treatment for their needs using the Hawk technique could significantly improve patient response rates to these therapies, potentially amplifying the efficacy of these therapies by up to 280%. This approach has a disruptive and direct impact on prolonging both response and survival rates for patients with lung cancer, and possibly other solid tumours, offering the promise of transforming cancer care and benefiting patients around the world.

Alias Robotics

Alias Robotics, for its part, celebrated its inclusion in the EIC Accelerator programme as a triumph of confidence and excellence in conquering an untapped market. “This is not only a victory for us, but a testament to the strength and innovation of our robot safety solutions,” said Endika Gil-Uriarte, CEO of Alias Robotics.

The EIC’s rigorous selection process, which included interviews with experienced investors and entrepreneurs, has placed Alias Robotics among the elite. Their proposal stood out, earning the trust and high esteem of the judging panel, making us one of the most highly rated companies in this distinguished group.

In the words of Endika Gil-Uriarte, CEO of Alias Robotics, “This achievement is a milestone and the beginning of a new era for robot cybersecurity. The support provided by the EU through the EIC accelerator will be instrumental for Alias Robotics to conquer this unexplored market”.

This substantial financial support from the EIC marks a pivotal moment in Alias Robotics’ journey, as it empowers them to accelerate their efforts in advancing robotic cybersecurity, strengthening their commitment to shaping a secure digital future. “The importance of this achievement resonates not only within our company, but throughout the robotics and cybersecurity community,” concluded Gil-Uriarte.

About the EIC Accelerator programme

The EIC Accelerator programme offers grants of up to €2.5 million to start-ups and SMEs, combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €0.5 to €15 million or more. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading experts, corporations, investors and ecosystem players.

Companies can submit their ideas to the EIC Accelerator at any time, which are evaluated within 4-6 weeks. So far, more than ten thousand start-ups have submitted ideas since the launch of the EIC in 2021. For ideas that meet the EIC’s criteria for excellence, impact and risk level, companies are invited to prepare full applications for submission at one of the regular cut-off dates.

This year, a new set of 42 companies has been selected to receive funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC), combining grants and equity, after the last EIC Accelerator deadline in November 2023.

These companies were selected in a highly competitive process, in which 242 companies were interviewed by juries composed of experienced investors and entrepreneurs, out of a total of 1083 full proposals submitted.


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