Innovative solutions and exiting entrepreneurs: B. Braun Accelerator Demo Day
Melsungen. Innovative ideas can come from all sorts of directions – you just have to confront them with courage and openness. This was impressively underscored by “Demo Day” on Thursday, August 30th when the results of the first round of the B. Braun Accelerators were presented.
Along with the four medical technology start-ups that honed their ideas with B. Braun for six months within the scope of the program, two internal innovation projects were also presented at the event, which took place at Plant W in Melsungen. Board member Dr. Meinrad Lugan emphasized in his greeting: “innovation lies at the center of our hearts.”
Professor Dr. Alexander Schachtrupp, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President Medical Scientific Affairs, added that B. Braun needs to open itself up to collaboration with smaller companies and provide them with the opportunity to try themselves and their ideas out. But: “innovation can also arise within a complex organization.”
That’s why a program titled “Daheim” (“At home”) was developed at B. Braun and is to make safe hemodialysis possible for drastically more patients than at present with the help of a digital support platform. The company thereby takes on all non-medical tasks – from the installation of the devices to the continuous provision of consumable materials, all the way to the exchange of data with the attending doctor.
The project “Fluid Balancing”, which was developed by a cross-divisional team surrounding Dr. Julian Sonksen, R&D Manager – SMART Technologies, is to improve the care of patients in intensive care. It involves the infusion of different data and merging of bodily fluids and then clearly portraying these on terminal devices – thereby providing doctors with a better basis for making decisions. Up until now, this data was only available separately despite its enormous importance for patients’ well-being.
The participants of the accelerator program also had their eye on these kinds of gaps in the market. With support from B. Braun coaches, in the past months they performed intensive market research, refined their business plans, and were able to finally present their prototypes to around 150 visitors at “Demo Days”. The device from BOCA Health from Berlin and Milan isn’t any bigger than a smartphone and can be used by dialysis patients to monitor their own body-water percentage in order to counteract a dangerous over-hydration or dehydration in a timely manner. The tool for diabetics created by Bluedrop Medical from Galway, Ireland is also easy to use: a daily ten-second scan of one’s foot temperature is enough to prevent the risk of so-called diabetic foot – if this isn’t caught in time, these poorly healing wounds can lead to amputation.
Admetsys from Boston (USA) developed a fully automated system that ensures the vital balance of one’s blood-glucose level after operations. Currently, this takes place by hand and is laborious and prone to error. Lastly, Recare from Berlin uses artificial intelligence for efficient discharge management in clinics: the software automatically finds suitable providers for a patient’s after-care. Whether and in what form B. Braun will work together with some of the start-ups, however, has not yet been determined: “In the next two months,” announced board member Markus Strotmann, “we will decide on potential cooperations.”
Alexander Katzung, Vice President Acceleration & Innovation at B. Braun, directed everyone’s attention toward the future: “with a second worldwide call for start-ups and B. Braun employees, we will continue with the accelerator, which has been successfully launched, in the future,” explained Katzung. Together with the Berlin-based Pitch Doctor” Christoph Sollich, he moderated the “Demo Day”, which began with looking at the bigger picture: hyperloop founder Dirk Ahlborn explained how he wants to revolutionize mobility with magnetic levitation trains in vacuum tubes and led a discussion with other prominent company founders following the motto “the courage to take responsibility and the courage to act.”