Dynamic Eye Brain Imaging and Universal Pneumococcal Vaccine receive FIT InnoTREK grants

FIT | 15 December 2021

The Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT) and the UNIL-CHUV Technology Transfer Office (PACTT) have just awarded two InnoTREK grants of CHF 100’000 to Ms Benedetta Franceschiello and Mr Florian Bock. Ms Franceschiello’s DEBI project is based on a technology for the diagnosis and treatment of strabismus, mainly in children. For its part Mr Bock’s Universal Pneumococcal Vaccine project consists of developing a vaccine against the pathogen responsible for pneumonia, septicaemia, meningitis and otitis, which cause approximately 1 million deaths per year.

A technology called DEBI for the diagnosis and treatment of strabismus
DEBI (Dynamic Eye-Brain Imaging) is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology that allows the acquisition of anatomical videos of the eyes, brain and surrounding muscles as they move, measuring the angular rotation of each eye during natural vision and measuring the bio-mechanical aspects of the eye muscles. Dr Benedetta Franceschiello’s project consists of further developing the technology developed at the CHUV and applying it initially to strabismus, a syndrome that affects 30 million patients in Europe (more than 300 million worldwide) and requires corrective surgery for 30% of them (mainly children). The DEBI technology substantially simplifies the clinical decision-making process and surgical accuracy, resulting in a reduction of up to 50% in treatment costs. In addition to strabismus, the technology may also find other targeted applications in paediatrics and geriatrics.

The FIT InnoTREK grant will fund initial testing in a clinical setting, prepare for clinical trials and test additional hardware to make DEBI a child-friendly experience; all with the goal of entering the market by 2023.


“Universal Pneumococcal Vaccine”, a universal vaccine against pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis and otitis
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major pathogen responsible for pneumonia, septicaemia, meningitis and otitis. By nature, the vaccines (polysaccharide conjugate vaccines) that currently exist cover only a subset of Pneumococcus, leading to a steady increase in the serotypes not covered by the vaccine and causing these diseases. In addition, these vaccines are difficult and expensive to manufacture and the inclusion of more serotypes in the vaccines leads to a reduction in protection against each particular serotype. Finally, these vaccines do not provide strong protection against disease following viral infection nor from adult meningitis.

“Universal Pneumococcal Vaccine” therefore aims to develop a “universal vaccine” that would protect against the vast majority of circulating pneumococcal serotypes, while also being protective following respiratory viral infections. The FIT InnoTREK grant will allow Dr Florian Bock to further develop his research towards the production of his vaccine and to develop a detailed business plan.

Et Florence.Guth@chuv.ch
PACTT: Technology Transfer Office UNIL-CHUV
Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT)

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