Two brothers from Kato Achaia are entering the global biotechnology market to present a life-saving product: A diagnostic blood test that detects aneurysms, cerebral and aortic. Stavros and Yiannis Toumboulis are the founders of 2BullMeDiTherapy, a Greek startup, which has attracted the attention of the medical community and international funds.
Aneurysms show no symptoms and when they rupture they cause serious complications or even death, which is why they are often called “silent killers”. It is therefore very important to be able to prevent them with a simple blood test.
Stavros Toumboulis talked to Naftemporiki about the multi-year and difficult journey that was required for the two brothers to turn their idea into a product.
They grew up in Kato Achaia, a town 20 km outside of Patras. Stavros studied dentistry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and his brother Medicine in Ioannina. In 1997 they decided to join forces in a project which they completed a year later. It waw about addiction in the Internet. They won the first prize at the fourth Panhellenic Conference of Medical Students and that whetted their appetite for research.
The first major discovery
Ten years later, in 2007, when Giannis participated in a fellowship at Harvard, he discovered in tissues from sections of aorta a new molecular mechanism that until then had not been identified by anyone. This is activated when aortic aneurysms are present. Four years later, in 2011, the two brothers thought that it was important to examine whether this mechanism is reflected in the blood. “After we found that the mechanism is indeed reflected in the blood, we came up with the idea of developing the diagnostic blood test that detects aortic aneurysms”, explains Mr. Toumboulis.
The first resounding “no”
At first they thought it was too easy by approaching a large pharmaceutical company and presenting their idea. But the world of biotech and business doesn’t work like that. “No big company wastes resources and manpower on an idea someone sends them.”
So in 2016 they decided to start their own company, hoping that they would be able to talk to a big company and get access to what was necessary in order to develop their product. 2BullMediTherapy was born.
The big lesson and the granting of the patent
Their effort received a boost in 2018 when they applied to enter the business accelarator project, egg by Eurobank and Corallia. “They accepted us and I can say that it helped us a lot, because we got all that was needed to turn an idea into a product,” says Stavros. There they understood that in order to reach the completion of an idea you have to go step by step. In the same year they filed an application for an international patent in collaboration with an office based in Spain. Now their patent has been recognized in Europe, Russia, Canada and other countries are to follow: China, USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Japan are their next goals.
In 2019, the two founders started talking to various funds in Greece and secured the strategic cooperation with Big Pi. With the help of Big Pi they secured the financial resources as well as substantial help.
In their last clinical study they also had samples from patients with brain aneurysms. The test showed very high sensitivity there too – this means wider use of the product for people aged 18 and over.
The next steps
Within the next 3-4 months some clinical studies for cerebral and aortic aneurysms are completed and 2BullMeDiTherapy is ready to enter the global market. Their initial goal is to deliver the product in Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland and then continue to expand to more and more markets.