PHITBAC: Nanophotonic biosensors for the diagnosis and clinical management of bacterial infections at the point-of-care (PLEC2021-007739), financed by MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 as well as European Union NextGenerationEU/ PRTR.

PHITBAC aims to significantly contribute to these next-generation diagnostics by introducing a new, disruptive, and versatile point-of-care nanobiosensor technology for the whole diagnosis and clinical management of bacterial infectious diseases.

Designed with a rational and holistic approach, the groundbreaking diagnostic device will provide rapid detection of most relevant pathogenic bacteria, including an on-site identification of antibiotic resistance, and a personalized monitoring and evaluation of antimicrobial therapy effectivity.

The PHITBAC technology is based on nanophotonic biosensors, which offer outstanding sensitivities for multiplexed label-free analysis, in a few minutes (15-30 min sample-to-result), using a minimum volume of patient samples (e.g., 10 µL of plasma), and a unique potential for integration in miniaturized and portable devices that deliver simple and easy understandable analysis results.

Furthermore, this project seeks the complete implementation of novel in-vitro
diagnostic (IVD) technology with a clear vision on technology transfer and exploitation. For that, we will manufacture our own highquality bioreceptors (bioengineered nanobodies and aptamers), especially designed for rapid and cost-efficient mass production, and the device will be fully validated for real clinical settings, like Hospital emergency and intensive care units.

The PHITBAC consortium is composed by renowned scientists from two research centres of excellence, the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, Barcelona) and the National Biotechnology Center (CNB-CSIC, Madrid), prestigious clinicians from two reference Hospitals in infectious diseases (i.e., Vall d’Hebron Hospital – VHIR – and Hospital del Mar – IMIM –, Barcelona), and two fully-established Spanish companies with demonstrated success and prosperity (i.e., Biomedal S.L., Sevilla, and Aptus Biotech S.L., Madrid) that will be key for attaining a high-quality, reliable, and robust IVD device. The project is coordinated by CSIC Prof. Laura M. Lechuga (ICN2), a world leader in photonics nanotechnology for biosensing applications.

AptusBiotech will be in charge of developing novel and exclusive aptamers for the detection of specific antibiotics used in clinics to treat severe bacterial infections and for which there are no available commercial receptors.