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A total of 6 projects led by entrepreneurs from the BioRegion of Catalonia were chosen to participate in the 4th edition of CRAASH Barcelona, the acceleration program promoted by Biocat in conjunction with CIMIT (Boston), which allows technology to be brought to market within the next 3-5 years.

The program's launch was held with the kickoff on September 6, 7 and 8. This was a hybrid event which enabled the participants, teams and members of CIMIT to get in contact for the first time. During the event, the program was reviewed, and the teams were able to set their expectations and milestones in each of the three phases of the training program, which they will engage in during the next 12 weeks.

Unlike previous editions, this year CRAASH Barcelona call for applications was exclusively geared towards projects with cutting-edge technology (diagnostics, medical devices and digital health) coming from research centers, hospital research institutes and universities established in (or associated with) the Catalan ecosystem. However, the mentors highlighted the ‘scientific quality’ of the projects and encouraged them to ‘get the most’ from the program, especially when validating their market and business model. 

6 innovative, disruptive projects

The leaders of the six teams presented their projects to the mentors and their peers.

1. Blapp

This is the first ludic online platform that makes language rehabilitation possible from home. This project, which comes from the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu of Barcelona, uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to adjust and adapt the therapy to each patient, as well as speech recognition systems to facilitate both patient and platform interactions and the recognition of language pathologies.

In this solution, technology helps eliminate the main problems facing the different stakeholders involved (therapists, patients and family members) while improving clinical results, compliance with treatment and improvements in the patient experience.

Alessandra Zoccali and Arnau Valls, members of the Blapp project

2. Direct Subjective Refraction

When a patient enters an ophthalmological clinic and is given an optical evaluation, they have to guess at blurry letters with the assistance of different lenses. This process can take more than ten minutes, and fatigue often ends up affecting the result. 

The goal of this project, which comes from the Institut d’Òptica, part of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), is to make this evaluation five times quicker and twice as accurate. Another advantage of this method is that it requires no supervision, and therefore it frees up ophthalmological professionals to spend more time conducting eye explorations or other more added-value activities. 

Víctor Rodríguez, member of the Direct Subjective Refraction project

3. Heatshot

Intubation is a high-risk factor that can end up causing an infection in patients’ lower respiratory tract. This project, from the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), seeks precisely to avoid respiratory infections in intubated patients through a new, unprecedented infection-prevention technology. 

Respiratory infections are one of the main causes of death in intubated patients in ICUs, and this is due to the sensitive or extremely hardy bacteria that grow on biofilms and medical respiratory devices, such as endotracheal or tracheotomy tubes. 

Marta Palau and Estela Muñoz, members of the Heatshot project


Neuroradiologists quantify the presence of new lesions on the brain via a tedious visual process that could entail mistakes and requires a considerable amount of time. This process lowers professionals’ sensitivity by at least 50% in some cases, which could lead to improper management of treatment and an increase in disability in the middle term. 

The Tensormedical program provides an accurate, automated quantification tool that helps neuroradiologists evaluate brain lesions. The adoption of this program multiplies neuroradiologists’ productivity by four and increases sensitivity by 46%, which may potentially lower wasted treatments and losses in patients’ productivity to the tune of more than €5.9 million per year all over the world. Tensormedical is a spinoff of the University of Girona and the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR).

Sergi Valverde and Roger Bramon, members of the project

5. Point pressure

Founded in Barcelona, Point Pressure is committed to spearheading a change in the way patients with spasticity are treated. The project is in the process of developing a connected, noninvasive system that lowers muscle hypertonia through an ischemic reaction. 

It is calculated that this device will be able to help the 180,000 people currently affected with spasticity in Spain, the 1.8 million in Europe and the up to 28 million people around the world who live with this pathology.

Marc Casellas and Parikshit Verma, members of the Point pressure project


AI is an unregulated field which is beginning to permeate all sectors. The lack of regulation entails risks for all stakeholders. The first draft of the European Union's AI regulation, published in April 2021, indicates the popularity and importance of this field. uses an algorithm to provide the first implementable AI risk assessment in the field of healthcare. The algorithm allows organizations to improve, oversee and certify the solutions that use AI, as well as to mitigate their risks. is a spinoff of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB).

Pol Solà, member of the project

From lab to market in 3-5 years

CRAASH Barcelona will train these chosen projects with the goal of bringing their technology to market within the next 3-5 years. The participants will be guided by mentors from CIMIT (Boston) - the most experienced healthcare accelerator in the world - as well as by European experts from the sector, including Dr. Markus Wilhelm, CEO of Mowoot, a startup that emerged from the d·HEALTH Barcelona program which has developed a medical device to treat chronic constipation. 

For entrepreneurs, the strong point of CRAASH Barcelona and the way it differs from other accelerators is the GAITS tool, the platform designed by CIMIT which helps eliminate risks in innovative healthcare projects. “It's an advantage that the teams learn how to use it from its own creators,” said Markus Wilhelm, who confesses to using it in his own company. For the former participants in the program, like Alfons Carnicero, CEO and co-founder of ABLE Human Motion, the expertise of the mentors is the most unique feature of the program. 

CRAASH Barcelona  will be held intensively over the course of 12 weeks and is divided into three phases. The first one allows the teams to check whether their technology can meet a real need and find a niche in the market. The teams will work with CIMIT experts in Boston, first through virtual meetings and later on in-person in Boston.

The second and third phases of the program allow the teams to validate their projects in Europe and in one of the top healthcare ecosystems in the world: Boston. Furthermore, the participants will receive training from the Dutch university TU Delft and will meet with European entrepreneurs participating in the German accelerator Medtech Bootcamp.

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