You are here

A piece of news

Dan Azagury: "It’s easier to innovate in health in Europe than in the United States"

Surgeon, expert in biodesign and founder of Ciel Medical Inc., Azagury has developed six medical devices over his career.

AddToAny buttons: 


By Biocat

"Even if you don’t have it in your veins, innovation is something you can learn. It’s a mental state that, like a switch, you can decide when to turn on." This is how Dr. Dan Azagury, a surgeon at Geneva University Hospital and serial entrepreneur in the health arena, began his presentation yesterday at Bizbarcelona before moving on to explain the keys of taking an idea from benchtop to bedside.

90% of all start-ups fail today. Azagury explained that the biodesign innovation process, developed by Stanford University, is a tool that can reduce this percentage because “the end goal isn’t to manufacture things but to create with a purpose, based on real needs identified in hospital settings." Since it was created in 2001, the Stanford program has given rise to 26 new companies, attracted $200 millions in venture capital and generated more than 500 new jobs. The products designed by these new companies have treated more than 150,000 patients.

Azagury: "The aim of biodesign isn’t to manufacture things but to create something with a purpose"

Azagury himself was a student in the Stanford Biodesign program in 2012 and this led to the creation of his company, Ciel Medical Inc., and two devices he is currently working on and spoke about during his conference: one to improve kidney stone treatment and the other to increase protection against pneumonia associated with intubation and mechanical ventilation in patients in intensive care units (ICU). This is the most common and serious infection associated with medical care in the ICU.

"It’s easier to innovate in health in Europe than in the United States because the legislation, the requirements that new products must meet, are clearer. But the level of innovation is lower," Azagury pointed out. The main problem is "fear of failure. I always say you have to fail a lot, but try to do it when it doesn’t cost a lot of money and, above all, don’t fail twice for the same reason." He also said that medicine today is full of dogmas and doesn’t foster innovation. "Many professionals carry out procedures in a certain way simply because that is how it has always been done and has shown good results. They don’t question why or whether there are better ways to act, to improve results and, as a result, patient care. Innovation is as fundamental a tool as research in developing, for example, new cancer treatments," he concluded.

Design Health Barcelona: from Stanford to Barcelona

Starting in September 2013, through the Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) program, doctors, scientists, engineers and designers will have the opportunity to learn the biodesign innovation process in Barcelona and gain a competitive advantage in a growing job market. Biocat has started up this groundbreaking training initiative, through Moebio, to develop entrepreneurial talent in the health and life sciences sector and to boost innovation in these fields. 

Over eight months, selected students will work in multidisciplinary teams of four that will stay together throughout the process, which begins with a period of immersion in a hospitalHospital Clínic, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu or Institut Guttmann— to detect real needs, followed by designing and prototyping a new product or service, and concluding with contacting investors to fund the project.

Throughout the process, students will take on knowledge about medicine and business development and skills in areas like design thinking and creative leadership through a series of classes and workshops given by more than 50 international specialists.

For more information on d·HEALTH Barcelona (faculty, phases of the program, etc.) read this article. Also, on 11 June, an informational session will be held at the DHUB building for all interested in participating in the program.

Follow the program on Twitter @moebiobarcelona with the hashtag #dHEALTHBcn.

Questions: Moebio • Tel. +34 93 310 33 30 •

Organized by:    An initiative of:
With the support of:
Collaborators:      Corporate partners:

Dan Azagury, professor in Biocat’s Design Health Barcelona program, yesterday at Bizbarcelona - Photo: © Biocat, Sergi Cámara