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Wednesday, 06 November 2019

Research meets industry at the Graphene Connect and Health Investment Forum

A Graphene Connect event dedicated to MedTech and Diagnostic Technologies has been held today, 6 November 2019, in Barcelona. This meeting aimed to foster partnership and collaborations between different stakeholders working on graphene technologies and medical devices. In the evening, a Graphene for Health Investment Forum took place, in which some entrepreneurs looking for partners and investors pitched their projects.

A tremendous impact on medical diagnostics and therapeutics can be produced by technological innovations as those promised by graphene and other new bi-dimensional materials. The path from the laboratory environment to the clinical practice, though, is often long and thorny, as highlighted today at a Graphene Connect event on MedTech and Diagnostic Technologies, which has taken place today 6 November 2019 at the Medical Association of Barcelona (COMB).

Researchers, physicians and entrepreneurs involved with graphene technologies and their applications in the medical field have participated in this meeting to discuss about the opportunities provided by these technologies, as well as the challenges posed by their translation from the research environment to the clinical practice. This meeting had also the objective to facilitate networking and to foster the creation of new partnership between research institutions, medical doctors, industries and investors.

Co-organized by the European Graphene Flagship, the COMB and the ICN2, the event kicked off with a welcome speech by COMB Vice-President Dr Elvira Bisbe and an introduction on the Graphene Flagship by Dr. Francesco Bonaccorso, the Deputy leader of the Innovation work package of the Flagship. A long session on disruptive science and its regulatory path followed, which was chaired by ICREA Prof. José Antonio Garrido, Head of the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices group and of the Strategy Development Area. This included presentations by – among others – Prof. Kostas Kostarelos, Chair of Nanomedicine at the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences of the University of Manchester, and by ICREA Prof. Arben Mercoçi, of the ICN2 Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors group, and concluded with an open discussion among the speakers and the attendees.

In the afternoon, technology companies’ representatives contributed an industrial perspective on the commercialization of graphene applications, bringing in concrete examples. Then, difficulties, barriers and chances of health applications of new graphene technologies, of their translation to the clinical environment, as well as of the industrial production of diagnostic and therapeutic devices were debated in a round table with a panel of experts.

For the first time in the Graphene Connect series, this edition was followed by a Graphene for Health Investment Forum, in which industry representatives had the opportunity to pitch their projects in front of healthcare investors and medical stuff attending the event. The discussion was wrapped up by Nadia Pons, Head of Innovation at COMB, but the participants were able to continue the discussion during a networking cocktail on the terrace of the COMB building.