The Graphene Connect & Health Investment Forum was held on 6 November 2019 at the Medical Association of Barcelona (CoMB), a high-tech, modern venue overlooking the stunning Barcelona city skyline. The event was joined by many well-established scientists, including a number of Graphene Flagship Partners and Associated Members, as well as many investors and business leaders from the healthcare and medical communities.
The session kicked off with a fascinating discussion of 'disruptive science' and its regulatory path, focusing on graphene technologies for the new generation of medical devices and diagnostics. Kostas Kostarelos, Graphene Flagship work package leader for Biomedical Technologies, began by presenting his vision to design graphene implants for the central nervous system that could allow for recording, stimulation and drug delivery. This was followed by talks from leading professionals about medical regulation, brain damage biomarkers and clinical trials.
The second session focused on the commercialisation of graphene biomedical devices, and a Graphene Flagship start-up showcased new retinal implants with the potential to restore sight in patients with eye damage. This was proceeded by valuable insights into the challenges faced by medium and large companies aiming to bring new medical technology to the market, along with a lively round-table discussion with six professionals from widely different fields.
The Graphene Connect & Health Investment Forum concluded with a round of elevator pitches to give entrepreneurs a platform for showcasing their work on graphene-based biomedical devices. Three pitches were made: HexagonFab by Ruizhi Wang, a company working on biosensors for real-time biological analysis in drug discovery and manufacturing; Cambridge Raman Imaging Ltd by Prof Giulio Cerullo, a company developing novel fibre-format laser technology for CRS microscopy for accurate cancer diagnosis; and Grapheal by Vincent Bouchiat, an e-health MedTech company proposing a digital wound care assistant.
The delegates celebrated the end of a fruitful day with revelry and stimulating conversation.