• Date: July 24, 2019

Hypertension affects 1 billion people worldwide. Around 10% of patients exhibit resistance to available treatments, meaning that they have a greater risk of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction or stroke. The management of resistant hypertension is an unmet clinical need that has to be urgently addressed, and that’s where Onira Research comes in.

Pablo Campos, CEO at Onira Research

Manuel Sánchez, CSO at Onira Research

This project from the Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Leida) is now set to enter the market, thanks to the support it has received from two CaixaImpulse programmes. The project took part in CaixaImpulse Validate 2016 under the name HIPARCO-Score. Last year, it participated in the pilot cohort of CaixaImpulse Consolidate, our new programme call for more mature biomedical projects, which was publicly launched in July. We interviewed Onira Research CEO Pablo Campos to find out about its progress.

Could you explain Onira Research's innovation, and how it helps to address health problems like hypertension and sleep apnea?

Onira Research has pioneered a patented technology for the personalised management of patients with resistant hypertension and sleep apnea. Our Hiparco technology, which is based on the valuation of biomarkers in a blood sample, predicts blood pressure responses to sleep apnea treatment. For patients with resistant hypertension, this will reveal who will exhibit a favourable blood pressure response to sleep apnea treatment.

This could thus open a new door to improve the management of blood pressure in this highly complex and high cardiovascular risk group of patients.

How did CaixaImpulse Validate 2016 help in the development of this project?

CaixaImpulse has been a very important step for the project. The sessions, mentoring and financial support were key in helping us set up the project and prepare the go-to-market. We started to face the launch of a spinoff, and hire the first team members alongside the investigators.

How did the CaixaImpulse Consolidate pilot programme differ from your first experience with CaixaImpulse?

The CaixaImpulse Consolidate pilot programme increased the value of our project and was the definitive support to continue with the development of HIPARCO-Score technology. The added value was driven by the follow-up of the project and the additional financial support. The possibility to validate hypothesis and assumptions made in the first experience with the mentors has been a great validation for the project.

How has the project progressed in the past few years? What are your short- and long-term objectives?

We progressed from a focus on the development of the technology and patent design to a go-to-market design and strategy.

We estimate to enter the market in late 2022. Patients with resistant hypertension currently have no means of treating their condition. Doctors have tested drug after drug with no positive results. The possibility of diagnosing a new way to treat the disease will have an important, positive and direct impact on patients’ lives.

In the short-term, Onira Research will continue with the development of Hiparco and obtain the necessary funds to expand the team and continue with the clinical validation.

What advice would you give to a researcher who is looking to bring a scientific innovation to the market?

Think big, but most of all: dream big. Science innovation can make a difference in people lives.

As researchers, we have already been trained to face great challenges. Innovative development and its translation to the industry is a new and exciting scenario, in which we can complete our training and get a little closer to the business development derived from our scientific development. CaixaImpulse offers a large part of the necessary tools to encourage the researcher to take an important step to entrepreneurship.

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