Matilda Ernkrans, Karl Bergman, Minoo Ahktarzand, Björn Florman
Matilda Ernkrans, Karl Bergman, Minoo Ahktarzand, Björn Florman

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Innovation Award for cancer diagnostics

​Sweden’s largest innovation award, Skapapriset, has been awarded the former Chalmers doctoral student Francesco Gatto for his method for early detection of recurrence of cancer.
Francesco GattoSkapapriset is awarded inventors as a support to develop their ideas. Francesco Gatto, former doctoral student (2012–2015)​ and Guest Researcher at Chalmers University of Technology , was awarded one of three award classes, the most prestigious, a prize of 500,000 SEK. 

In 2017 Francesco Gatto founded the life science company Elypta, where the method for diagnosis is developed, together with Professor Jens Nielsen at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering. Today he works as the Chief Scientific Officer at the company.

Francesco Gatto’s diagnostic method can detect cancer at an early stage of development by analysing biomarkers in blood or urine samples. Using this method can improve the cancer survival rates and avoid diagnostic methods such as biopsies and x-rays.

Karl Bergman, CEO at Elypta, received the award in Francesco Gatto’s name at the award ceremony 14 November 2019.

Motivation of the jury:
“Survival rates in cancer has improved, although this disease has not yet been completely defeated. It is known that some cancer patients will experience recurrence. Early detection can increase the likelihood of survival and save resources for society. This year's award winner has developed a diagnostic method, through a blood or urine test, for early detection of cancer recurrence. It is gentle on the patient who does not have to go through biopsies and x-rays. In 2020, the product will be launched for research applications. The first product intended for patients will be for detection of kidney cancer, but the test is more or less general and will be developed for other tumour forms "

Facts: Skapapriset
  • Skapapriset is Sweden's largest innovation award, with the aim of providing support to inventors to develop their ideas.
  • Skapa is a foundation founded in 1985, in the memory of Alfred Nobel.
  • The foundation is established by Stockholmsmässan and Svenska uppfinnareföreningen (The Swedish Inventors' Association), supported by Almi Företagspartner AB, Vinnova, the Agne Johansson Memorial Foundation and the Swedish Patent and Registration Office.
Earlier this year, Francesco Gatto was awarded the Karin Markide Innovation Prize in 2019. He received this award for the method he has developed that makes it possible to detect cancer at an earlier stage using the patient's blood or urine – which can provide a better and more individualized treatment.

In September, the spin-off company from Chalmers University of Technology, Elypta, was awarded the Nordic Life Science Award 2019 for these diagnostic methods.

Text: Susanne Nilsson Lindh
Photo: Elise Florman and Martina Butorac


Read more about Francesco Gatto and Elypta
Innovation award for new cancer method
Awarded for cancer detection method
More about Elypta

Published: Mon 18 Nov 2019. Modified: Tue 26 Nov 2019