You have successfully logged out.

Hello !

Many paths to innovation

Many paths to innovation

Innovations and creative ideas are essential for progress in medical care. For companies, it is more important than ever to create a climate in which new things can be discovered and flourish. Three international examples show the different approaches B. Braun is taking to overcome this challenge.

“However, every process logically begins with an idea. For example, we work with start-ups and can take on the role of an experienced senior partner here, since we have a great deal of experience with patenting and registration. For us, however, it’s more common for the innovation idea to arise directly from one of our usability studies.”

Dr. Giuliana Gavioli, Senior Vice President Research & Development at B. Braun Avitum.

One of B. Braun Avitum’s most important innovations in recent years was in dialysis. In addition to the widely known hemodialysis for people with chronic kidney disease, acute dialysis is for intensive care patients who are suffering from multiple organ failure. While hemodialysis must be performed several times a week for a few hours, acute dialysis runs continuously – for up to 100 hours. And in the cases where patients receive intensive care for a longer period of time, this takes place several times in a row.

“In particularly severe cases, however, dialysis isn't the only treatment needed. If lung failure is also involved, the blood must also be externally oxygenated,” explains Gavioli. “In conversations with critical care physicians and nurses, we came to understand that both procedures can be done well individually, but that the necessary combination often leads to stress and is an unnecessary burden on the patient.” 

Experience and speed

An innovation that could significantly improve the situation of patients is also being worked on in Freiburg – but under different conditions than in Mirandola. Neuroloop GmbH is based in Freiburg. At first glance, neuroloop might seem like a typical start-up – a spin-off from the University of Freiburg. A small team of neurophysiologists, neurosurgeons, and microsystem engineers have been performing research about the vagus nerve and its stimulation for a long time.

The CEO of neuroloop, Dr. Michael Lauk, explains: “The whole idea goes back to research that was conducted here at the University of Freiburg in the microsystems engineering and neurosurgery PhD departments. The vagus nerve is, in very simplified terms, a kind of data highway that runs through the entire body. Quite a few autonomic body functions – heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, digestion – are controlled by the vagus nerve. By stimulating the vagus nerve, it might be possible to treat diseases such as high blood pressure very precisely, without pharmaceutical intervention."

The problem here is that because the vagus nerve controls such different processes, targeted stimulation of a single function has been impossible until now – for example, by influencing blood pressure, the heartbeat or digestion would also have been manipulated in some patients, or side effects such as a change in voice could occur. However, the research from Freiburg provided a remedy. A type of sleeve with a very large number of contacts to sheath the nerve was developed, and it can then be precisely controlled. Neuroloop was founded in 2016, the plan was to develop just such a device. Dr. Michael Lauk, who previously worked at another medical technology start-up in the U.S., returned to his hometown of Freiburg to do it.

“Together with researchers from the University of Technology, who we’ve been collaborating with for years, we discussed possible applications for this technology. It was a mutual give and take, our respective expertise and experience complemented each other ideally.”

Dr. Christine Weis, Head of Strategic Research Line Meshes & Biologics at B. Braun Surgical in Rubi near Barcelona.

What emerged is a truly astonishing innovation. The nanoparticle-coated surfaces activated by the laser radiation can be used for more than sterilization in the operating room, for example. These materials can also be used in or on implants, because laser activation also works through living tissue to a certain extent. “There will be a great deal of conceivable uses that directly relate to OR safety or the health of those being treated,” Dr. Weis says. Here, too, B. Braun’s innovative spirit is visible: thinking in all directions; it’s a question of always being open and alert and taking every possible innovation seriously. After all, every innovation directly serves the well-being of patients.

Your Benefits

We use various cooperation models to drive your innovative solutions and lead them to success.

Submit your innovation here!