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23/07/2020

Exheus, a new spin-off that analyzes gene expression, using artificial intelligence, to optimize performance, health and nutrition

Exheus is a recent spin-off born thanks to the research carried out by the Sant Pau Research Institute, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the company Summit SL, which has introduced into the market an innovative technology that analyses gene expression and its alterations, through artificial intelligence, to optimise people’s performance, health and nutrition. The spin-off has been set up within the framework of the Venture Builder ‘The Collider’ programme of the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation.

The new Exheus spin-off has developed a technology that is capable of sequencing RNA, from a small blood sample, and associating the expression of genes in more than 320 metabolic pathways that act as biomarkers of the parameters of the individual’s body, analyzing all those variations that are outside of normality to improve and prevent health problems.

This project was born as a result of the doctoral thesis, defended at the UPC, of the researcher Emma Roca, a biochemist and ultrafondist of elite reference worldwide. Roca wanted to analyse the effect of high intensity sport on the runners of an ultra trail together with Dr. José Manuel Soria, principal researcher of the Complex Disease Genomics Research Group at the Sant Pau Hospital Research Institute -IIB Sant Pau and Dr. Alexandre Perera, physicist, expert in Artificial Intelligence and director of the UPC’s Centre for Research in Biomedical Engineering (CREB), who is responsible for developing the algorithms that allow the automatic evaluation of the expression of metabolic pathways. Finally, within the framework of the Collider program, in the 2019 edition, Dr. Teresa Tarragó, CEO of the project, and Pol Cervera, operations director, joined the project to give the business perspective and face the market.

The technology has been validated in different sport disciplines and pilots are currently being developed with some of the main European sport clubs and centres as well as with Barcelona Marathon runners.

One of the first objectives of Exheus is to improve recovery from sports injuries in high performance areas and to reduce them. To this end, the expression of all genes in the genome is analysed, with special attention to the target genes, such as genes integrated into metabolic pathways in inflammatory processes and infections, the immune system and other markers that control muscle damage suffered in training and competition.

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