Design Health Barcelona consolidates place as generator of medical technology start-ups

Through Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona), the first biodesign master in our country, Biocat continues to promote innovation in health, entrepreneurial spirit and professional development in the biomedical arena. In 2015, the second class of health innovators graduated from this master, which is the flagship program of Moebio, Biocat’s initiative to develop entrepreneurial talent in the health and life sciences sector. Furthermore, since 2015, d·HEALTH Barcelona is an official Masters degree from the University of Barcelona (UB).

d·HEALTH Barcelona is one of only four European training programs inspired by the Stanford University biodesign methodology, which has fellows identify business ideas by participating in the every-day operations at hospitals in the city, including Hospital Clínic, Sant Joan de Déu and Institut Guttmann. Since 2001, the Stanford biodesign program has led to the creation of more than 40 companies, which have generated products that have treated half a million patients. Since Biocat kicked off this training program in 2014, 100% of the graduates in the two classes are still working in the health sector and two thirds are still working at their own start-up. Plus, the six teams of fellows that finished the program have established five start-ups, four of which are still active.

Projects become start-ups

One of the start-ups to emerge from d·HEALTH Barcelona is usMIMA, which won the 2014 BioemprenedorXXI award. Through the clinical immersion the company's founders did at Institut Guttmann, they came up with the idea for MowoOT: a belt-like device to simulate colon massage to relieve chronic constipation in patients with spinal injuries and multiple sclerosis, providing a non-pharmacological, non-invasive solution with no side effects. After closing the first round of seed funding, the start-up hopes to launch the device to market in summer 2016.

One of the projects from the second edition of d·HEALTH Barcelona, which will soon begin clinical trials, is Meelk: a device that measures how much breast milk a baby drinks at each feed, which the mother can track on her mobile phone in order to boost her confidence in breastfeeding.

Alleviating fecal and urinary incontinence are the goals of two other projects designed by fellows that graduated in 2015. Specifically, My-qup, which has come up with the perfect device to combat fecal incontinence, has begun product development and is currently conducting materials studies at a technology center to develop a functional prototype. The company hopes to get the product to users by early 2018.

More than 2,000 needs detected

d·HEALTH Barcelona is a 9-month full-time master that applies a unique methodology, based on training-by-doing, in order to transform fellows into entrepreneurs and encourage the creation of innovative companies that address unresolved global challenges.

Fellows from the second edition of d·HEALTH Barcelona broke into multidisciplinary teams that experienced a full innovation cycle over the nine months of the program, from identifying unmet needs in the hospitals to designing and prototyping a feasible solution and searching for funding. Each team spent two months at one of the top hospitals in Barcelona, shadowing medical personnel and patients. This gave the fellows the opportunity to observe and take note of all of the unmet needs that could give rise to a new product or service. Over the course of the first two editions of the program, more than 2,000 needs were identified.

This initiative of Biocat is supported by Sanofi, and receives collaboration from the University of Barcelona, Barcelona Science Park, and Danish school KaosPilot.

Graduation of the second class of d-HEALTH Barcelona fellows

MOEBIO Short Programs, d-HEALTH Barcelona for everyone

Once again this year, Biocat opened up some of the d·HEALTH Barcelona sessions to the public through the MOEBIO Short Programs, training sessions geared towards students, professionals and entrepreneurs to give them practical knowledge on key aspects of healthcare, innovation, management and business spirit. Each program lasts no more than 20 hours, divided into 3 to 8 sessions of varying lengths.

Studying the trends and patterns in the healthcare sector and related industries, understanding how organizations work, identifying challenges within the life sciences sector and giving executives and businesspeople new management tools were the main aims of the 2015 MOEBIO Short Programs.

In 2015, the MOEBIO Short Programs focused on topics associated with medical technology, funding and business management. Standout sessions included those on the challenges of medical robotics, the regulatory framework and market access for medical devices, and reimbursement strategies.