The fourth edition of CRAASH Barcelona was held in 2021. This 12-week acceleration program, promoted by Biocat, helps researchers and entrepreneurs launch innovations in the healthtech arena to market, in collaboration with CIMIT (Boston), the most experienced health accelerator in the world.

The program is exclusively for projects with cutting-edge technology (diagnostics, medical devices and digital health) from research centers, hospital research institutes or universities established in or with ties to the Catalan ecosystem with TRL 3-6 (proof of concept/initial clinical trials). There were 15 applicants and 6 were selected for the program: 1 startup and 5 projects without established companies yet.

70% of the applications came from projects in Barcelona and the rest from Girona and Tarragona.

The program featured mentors from Europe and Boston, plus an introduction to and landing in several European markets (the Netherlands, Spain and Catalonia, and Boston), which helped participants validate the value propositions of their projects.

The six projects chosen also attended Barcelona Week, three days of speakers and training, where they continued validating their medical device and digital health innovations.

2021 CRAASH Barcelona Projects:

· Blaap: The project, which began at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, is a fun online platform for at-home linguistic rehabilitation using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to adjust and adapt the therapy to each patient. Plus, it includes speech-recognition systems to facilitate interaction between patients and the platform and help recognize language pathologies.

· Direct Subjective Refraction: This project, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) Institute of Optics, seeks to speed up eye exams done at eye care clinics. The project is working to make this test five times faster and twice as precise. Plus, another advantage of their method is that it doesn’t require supervision. This means the eye care professionals would have more time to do other sorts of tests or activities with more value added.

· Heatshot: The project, which comes out of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), is looking to prevent respiratory diseases in intubated patients using an unprecedented new technology. These infections are one of the main causes of death in intubated patients in the ICU, due to sensitive or extremely resistant bacteria that grow on biofilm and respiratory medical devices.

· This project, a spinoff of the University of Girona and Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), is working on a precise, automated quantification tool to help assess brain lesions. Neuroradiologists use a tedious visual process to quantify new lesions on the brain, which can lead to errors, takes up a lot of time and can reduce the professionals’ sensitivity to less than 50% in some cases. The Tensormedical software makes neuroradiologists four times more productive and boosts sensitivity 46%, which will potentially cut unnecessary treatment and loss of productivity in professionals.

· Point pressure: The project, created in Barcelona, is developing a non-invasive connected system to reduce muscular hypertonia through ischemic response to change how patients with spasticity are treated. This device could help the estimated 180,000 people currently affected in Spain, 1.8 million in Europe and up to 28 million around the world.

· This spinoff of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and the Biomedical Engineering Research Center (CREB) provides an initial risk assessment of implementing AI in a healthcare setting using an algorithm that helps improve, oversee and certify solutions that use it and mitigate the risks involved. AI is an unregulated field that is being introduced in all sectors. So much so that the first draft of the European Union AI regulation, published in April 2021, notes the popularity and relevance of this field.

Promotional banner of the CRAASH Barcelona 2021 program

Family photo CRAASH Barcelona 2021

CRAASH Barcelona 2021- Barcelona face-to-face meeting

Daniel Oliver and Laura Sampietro, professors of the program, give entrepreneurial advice at the Barcelona face-to-face meeting of CRAASH Barcelona 2021