The Biomedical Engineering Research Center (CREB) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) has been working for more than two decades on the development of training games (serious game either applied game) and application gamification in the field of health. One of its projects, in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona (UB) and the cardiovascular perfusion unit of Hospital Clínic, has developed a prototype for training perfusionists, members of the cardiovascular surgery teams that are They are in charge, among other issues, of the machine that makes possible the extracorporeal circulation of blood when the heart is immobilized during an intervention.
The project has passed the research phase until reaching the step prior to reaching the market. “We decided to start the entrepreneurial adventure to accelerate the arrival of our products on the market and we created the company Virmedex Virtual Experiences SL, spinoff of the CREB of the UPC and the UB”, explains Dani Tost, CREB researcher, as well as co-founder and CEO of the new company.
“We have been lucky to have the help of the Caixa Impulse program, from the Fundació La Caixa, and the Xartec Salut valorization program, which has given us a lot of support.” “Now what we would need is help to overcome what is known in the entrepreneurial world as the valley of death”, that is, the difficult period of any new company before its products generate real income with customers, specifies Dani Tost.
The company is born with its own capital and seeks new sources of financing
The signing ceremony for the creation of the company took place on September 16 with the presence of the rector of the UPC, Daniel Crespo, and the director of the Fundació Bosch i Gimpera, the center for the transfer of knowledge and technology of the UB, Carmen Verdaguer. In addition to these two institutional founding partners, the new company also has as co-founders the CREB researchers at UPC Dani Tost Pardell (now also CEO of the company), Núria Bonet Codina (COO) and Ariel von Barnekow (CTO; Carmen Gomar , senior consultant for the anesthesia and resuscitation service at Hospital Clínic and professor at the UB, and Maite Mata, care coordinator for the cardiovascular perfusion unit at Hospital Clínic.
The company was created with its own capital and “is working very actively to attract new sources of financing”, explains Dani Tost.
The first objective is to put on the market this month of October virCPB, a training program in the technique of bypass cardiopulmonary With this simulator, students and health professionals can act as they would in an operating room and operate the extracorporeal circulation pump, following the protocols and making the necessary decisions not only in routine interventions but also in critical situations.
“Gamified virtual training based on scientifically validated models is the educational paradigm of the next generation”, says Dani Tost.
Virmedex’s work schedule includes the market launch at the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024 of the virECMO platform or program, in this case training in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, “a medical aid that is widely used in cases such as covid when respiratory failure or severe cardiology occurs.
The company also works on projects related to cancer and hemodialysis and “in a line that we call The Atelier, which offers customers the development of customized products, for example for pharmaceutical laboratories” that want to offer courses or specific training to their workers With the Virmedex gamification system, Dani Tost advances.