Enrique Hernández: “Thanks to d·HEALTH Barcelona, I identified a clinical need that gave rise to my own start-up”
Enrique Hernández studied Biotechnology and obtained his PhD at Hospital La Paz in Madrid, analyzing immune response in several diseases. During his time as a biomedical researcher, he published more than 25 papers, but in 2017 decided to pivot his career by joining the fourth edition of Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona), promoted by Biocat, a postgraduate program to develop innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector. During the program, Enrique did a clinical immersion at Institut Guttmann to detect unmet clinical needs, along with other peers from such a wide range of fields as design, business, and the sciences. During the program, Enrique came up with the idea that has led to his start-up, Loop Dx, targeted at diagnosing sepsis.
You are a d·HEALTH Barcelona alumnus. What role did the program play in creating your own company, Loop Dx?
Thanks to the clinical immersion during d·HEALTH Barcelona, we held interviews with doctors and emergency room professionals which enabled us to identify the clinical need and explore in-depth the status of the diagnostics market for bacterial diseases. After the end of the program, the team I had spent the year working with dissolved for various reasons. This gave me the freedom to take another shot at the idea behind the project. And Loop Dx was born.
What is Loop Dx based on?
Loop Dx is developing a fast test for early detection of blood bacterial infections. The goal is to help ERs diagnose patients that are developing sepsis (the body’s inflammatory response to a serious infection, often deadly) so they can quickly be administered intravenous antibiotics.
What is its innovation?
Early diagnosis of sepsis is crucial because it is related to patient mortality. Now only 50% of patients suspected of having sepsis that come into the emergency room have been diagnosed in the first 6 hours.
What stage is the project in now?
Right now the project is in the initial stage. Thanks to a partnership with the Hospital de Bellvitge, we are testing whether the test’s biomarkers are specific enough to screen patients with blood bacterial infections. Plus, we are participating in other Biocat initiatives, such as The Investment Readiness Series, to put us in touch with investors.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
After participating in several accelerators and programs for entrepreneurs, we’ve got a lot of advice…. But the best was right at the beginning, when then director of Moebio told us that it takes as much work to get a big project off the ground as it does a small one. And I didn’t really understand what he meant until a year ago.
If you have background in Life Sciences, Engineering, Business and Design and you want to follow Enrique Hernández’steps, Biocat has open the selection for students of its 7th Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) edition, a postgraduate program to develop innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, with starting date in January, 2020. The 95% of the previous editions participants have found a job in the healthcare sector and 30% of them started their own business project. Following the Stanford biodesign methodology, participants experience a full cycle of innovation. The fellows divide into multidisciplinary teams and do a two-month clinical immersion in top hospitals in Barcelona to detect real unmet clinical needs on site that can be the basis for creating new products or services. More info: http://dhealthbcn.moebio.org