HoMoLoG, the Startup that Creates 3D mini-organs to Study New Treatments, Wins the Equal Opportunity Prize at the National Innovation Award
The startup HoMoLoG, born from a collaboration between the researchers Silvia Di Angelantonio and Alessandro Rosa of Sapienza University of Rome and the Center for Life Nano Science of the Italian Institute of Technology (CLNS - IIT Rome), was awarded the Equal Opportunities Award at the National Innovation Award, the national reference competition for startup projects from the Italian research world.
The multidisciplinary team of biologists, engineers and physicists with an average age of 38 years and mostly female members, proposes to produce 3D printed mini-organs, called organoids, directly derived from reprogrammed stem cells (iPSC) of patients, with the purpose of preliminarily assessing the effectiveness of the therapies. The reprogrammed cells are inserted into an organic matrix suitable for 3D printing and, thanks to the bioprinting, a state of the art technique that uses biological material, we obtain models of about 5 mm3.
"The mission of HoMoLoG is to personalize the therapies, even existing ones, optimizing their efficiency and minimizing the side effects - Silvia Di Angelantonio, researcher of Sapienza associated with IIT and co-founder of the startup, explains - but at the same time provide tools to improve the knowledge and treatment of human diseases by offering a new method to study and test drugs".
The Prize for Equal Opportunities, received not only for the prevalence of female researchers within the team, but also for the development of technologies that can be dedicated specifically to the two sexes, consists in an award of 10,000 euros to be invested in an executive path management at the Polytechnic Institute of Milan.
HoMoLoG has already won the first prize at the 2017 Start Cup Lazio, the business plan competition promoted by the main universities, research centers, incubators, entrepreneurial, financial and trade associations of Lazio.
HoMoLoG arises from the convergence of skills and interests created within the Center for Life Nano Science (CLNS), center of Sapienza University of Rome and of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). The group, consisting of Cristina Colosi (CEO), Silvia Di Angelantonio (CTO), Alessandro Rosa (CSO), Valeria de Turris (Technologist), Francesca Pagani (Technologist) and Maria Rosito (Technologist), has been working for 6 years in the development and functional characterization of in vitro models of human tissues deriving from reprogrammed human cells, and from 2 years to the creation of 3D organoids. In recent months, the convergence of these two expertise has suggested the potential to realize new human models in vitro with heterogeneous and three-dimensional tissue organization starting from induced pluripotent stem cells.