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Start arrow Agenda arrow 22@Breakfast arrow Past Events arrow Summary of the March 2010 22@Update Breakfast
Summary of the March 2010 22@Update Breakfast
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"Innovative aplications and business oportunities in the Medical Technologies Sector"

Medical Technology is one of the so-called innovation-driving sectors. Catalonia is currently a benchmark in developing this kind of technology. This month’s 22@Update Breakfast focused on this innovative sector and the business opportunities it can offer, both in our area and on an international level.

The March 22@Update Breakfast took place at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), a perfect location to discuss innovation in the Medical Technology sector. Dr. Pau Pla Illa, general manager of the Blood and Tissue Bank, and Joan Xiol, CEO of Aifos Solutions, gave an overview of the current situation, focusing on the business opportunities that companies from other sectors can participate in.

The first presentation was given by Dr. Ramon Pau Pla, a specialist in hematology and hemotherapy and, since 2002, general manager of the Blood and Tissue Bank (BST), a public company under the Health Department that aims to manage and administrate blood and plasma donations, transfusions and analysis. This center is also working to obtain and process tissue and develop other lines of action as a center specializing in selective immunobiology; molecular analysis, diagnostics and research; cell therapy and regenerative medicine. In short, the Blood and Tissue Bank is a unique, innovative organization that aims to provide a coherent network of hemotherapeutic services to guarantee our blood reserves. In order to continue their work in R&D, the BST headquarters will move to 22@ in 2010, where medical technology is one of the innovation-driving sectors. This new headquarters will bring together 600 professionals from different hospitals in a 16,600-m2 premises. 

"The Blood and Tissue Bank is a unique, innovative organization that aims to provide a coherent network of hemotherapeutic services"

Although the BST is a public company, it has always looked to the market in order to provide differential value. They have adapted their offer to new demands, always taking into consideration what is best for their clients. The BST offers integral management of the entire blood-transfusion chain, a unique model that guarantees quality and safety throughout the process.

Lack of blood is a fact and, thus, the Blood and Tissue Bank carries out a number of campaigns to promote donations. They work in schools, with educational programs, and in hospitals, fostering rational use of blood. The BST also drives other initiatives like the Concordia Program for umbilical cord donations, in collaboration with other Spanish regions like Aragon, Balearic Islands, Navarra, Cantabria and Extremadura. This program allows them to have biologic reserves to guarantee the needs of the population. They currently have the largest inventory in all of Spain.

Furthermore, the main objective of the BST is traceability, in order to have absolute control of the blood from donation to its arrival at the bank. One of the breakthroughs in this more complete vigilance will take place on 14 June, World Blood Donation Day. A digital chip will be inserted in some donors’ healthcare cards, giving them fast, comfortable and safe access to their information.

"The BST has absolute control of the blood from donation to its arrival at the bank"

Innovator of the month was Joan Xiol, a telecommunications engineer and CEO of Aifos Solutions, a start-up created in 2006 that works with radio-frequency identification technology. This technology is also known as RFID and is applied in a number of sectors, including logistics, food and pharmaceuticals.

Xiol spoke about how a small company can collaborate to develop innovation in large businesses. There are many differences between small and large companies, but that doesn’t mean that the former have nothing to contribute to the latter. Small companies can contribute new values, not competing but collaborating with large companies.

"Small companies can contribute new values, not competing but collaborating with large companies"

Joan Xiol used his own company, Aifos Solutions, as an example of this. At a turning point more than a year ago, they stopped working on general solutions to focus on developing solutions for the healthcare sector, specifically the world of blood. Aifos Solutions developed a solution that controls blood bags in a blood bank, which was chosen among many other proposals by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) to be presented at the annual Blood Bank Congress in New Orleans.

Dr. Manel Balcells, president of the Biocat Executive Committee, closed the March session. Biocat is the organization that promotes, dynamizes and coordinates biotechnology and biomedicine in Catalonia, so it can drive the economy and improve quality of life for the general population. This organization is driven by the Government of Catalonia and the Barcelona City Council and has members from companies and organizations in the sector. Dr. Balcells highlighted the role Catalonia plays in the field of scientific research and medical technology development. He also reminded participants that “Barcelona eHealth week 2010”, the most important event with the highest level of participation in the healthcare sector, was being held in Barcelona, making it a good time to see this sector as a business opportunity.

Key ideas

"The Blood and Tissue Bank is a benchmark in the hemotherapeutic services sector on a national level. It is a unique and innovative organization."

"The main objective of the Blood and Tissue Bank is to have absolute control of the entire blood process, from donation to its arrival at the bank."

"The BST carries out a number of campaigns to promote blood donations. Likewise, they also promote rational use of blood in hospitals."

"Small companies can contribute value to large companies by collaborating with them, not competing. We must work together to achieve our goals."

Attendees speak

“Even though this session was very specific, I think we can take away ideas that apply to different sectors.”

“These conferences are always interesting because they are given by true experts in the field, although they sometimes focus too closely on the same sector.”

“We have a small company and we often come to get new ideas and learn about what is going on in different sectors.”

Documents linked:
  • Presentation of  Aifos Solutions.
  • Presentation of Banc de sang i Teixits.

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