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Dipneo is a spin-off from Eurecat created to develop an autonomous resuscitator device capable of providing controlled and optimized ventilation to unconscious patients or those unable to breathe independently. It serves as support for both professional and non-professional individuals providing first aid for resuscitation in emergency situations involving cardiopulmonary arrest.

62 remaining days
34 investors
Investment achieved
194.855€
Target
300.000€
Invested
65.0%
65.0% INVESTED
Maturity

Premarket/clinical phase

Premoney valuation

2.400.000

Estimated exit

2027-2029

Sector

Medical devices

Equity offered

10.7%

Minimum investment

1.000

Equity L
Tax deduction L
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Overview: Dipneo

Valuation 2.400.000
Estimated return x8
% Offered 10.7%
Estimated exit 2027-2029
The company

Dipneo is a Deep Tech-based startup created in early 2023 dedicated to creating portable and autonomous resuscitation medical devices that enable the digitalization of emergency medical care, ultimately aiming to save lives.

The business project was launched in February 2023 by entrepreneurs Xavier Castells (CEO), Julio Díaz (CTO), and Ferrán Soldevila (investor and advisor), with Mobile World Capital and the Eurecat Foundation as investors. The project was initially developed at the Eurecat Foundation in collaboration with Mobile World Capital’s acceleration program, The Collider, which allowed the formation of an entrepreneurial team with extensive technological and business experience, supported by top-tier advisors.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) maneuvers are a set of techniques designed to maintain blood flow and oxygenation in the body of a person who has suffered cardiac arrest. Having good tools to provide a response to cardiac arrest is crucial to survival rates; every minute counts in this type of medical emergency, as in the event of a cardiopulmonary arrest, the survival rate decreases by 10% for every minute that the patient does not receive care. Additionally, the annual incidence of cardiopulmonary arrest in Europe is 67 to 170 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the average survival rates are only about 10%.

A critical aspect of managing cardiac arrest is ensuring adequate oxygenation and ventilation. In this regard, a medical ventilation device plays a crucial role in providing respiratory assistance to patients with cardiopulmonary arrest. Dipneo has developed a first prototype of an autonomous ventilation system that has been successfully validated by resuscitation and emergency medical professionals using an advanced simulator mannequin at the Hospital de Sant Pau. This prototype forms the technological foundation of the Air2Life project. This base technology, to be developed in this project, holds an international patent owned by Eurecat and exclusively licensed to Dipneo (WO 2022023595 A1).

The main objective of the project is to develop an autonomous resuscitator device capable of providing controlled and optimized ventilation to unconscious patients or those unable to breathe independently. It serves as support for both professional and non-professional individuals performing first aid for resuscitation in emergency situations involving cardiopulmonary arrest. Advanced and cutting-edge technologies will be used in the design and development of the device: such as technology for the tricuspid collapse of the resuscitator, automation systems, communication systems for teleassistance, and augmented reality technologies.

As a result of the project, we expect to obtain a new, lightweight, and compact device that can be integrated into the emergency kits used by emergency and rescue personnel. Air2Life will be an IoT device capable of bidirectional communication with medical centers and a cloud platform. 

The device will include hardware and a mobile device for its control. Our device will provide a better user experience, adequate ventilation in volume and cadence, monitoring, and control of the pressure of the flow to the patient, making ventilation safer and synchronized with cardiac massage. Additionally, this project will enable the collection and storage of important data derived from the device’s use to be utilized as functional indicators, along with an infrastructure that supports it and a digital platform that allows monitoring and control of these indicators and devices, as well as regulating communication with the mobile device.

Why is Capital Cell investing in this company?

In cases of cardiorespiratory arrest, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) maneuvers are vital. Although automatic defibrillators are becoming increasingly common in public places such as subways, schools, and hospitals, they address only part of the problem. The Dipneo device is the perfect complement to these defibrillators, ensuring the necessary oxygenation and blood flow until professional medical assistance arrives, filling an important gap in initial emergency care.

Dipneo aims to become the ideal complement to automatic defibrillators, which have a rapidly growing market valued at $3.061 billion in 2021, with expectations to reach $15.81 billion by 2031. For instance, in Spain, the number of defibrillators has significantly increased from 10,239 units in 2019 to 33,145 in 2021, demonstrating a robust and expanding market. It is now estimated that there may be more than 50,000 defibrillators, and Dipneo would be a potential product to accompany them.

Dipneo has developed a prototype to validate its technology and meet regulatory requirements, and it has already received several Letters of Intent (LOIs) from distributors for market expansion. Its team, with extensive experience in startups and life sciences, combines skills in business management and technological development, ensuring that Dipneo offers innovative and effective medical solutions for emergencies.

Minimum investment: 1.000
Type of exit expected: Sale to a large medical device company, or alternatively an initial public offering (IPO).
Drag-along rights
Tag-along rights
Tax deductions
Main risks

Dipneo faces key challenges such as dependence on external manufacturing and the need for regulatory approvals, which can delay its launch. Convincing institutions and healthcare professionals to adopt a new product can also be a market challenge.

Additionally, managing financial, technological, and intellectual property risks is crucial, especially in a competitive and globalized market where cultural barriers vary widely.

More information

First ventilation device for CPR suitable for both expert and inexperienced users.

Ideal complement to external defibrillators, significantly improving resuscitation operations in the field of ventilation and CPR support for non-expert users.

Autonomous ventilation system in emergency situations that frees up both hands for other tasks in the resuscitation process.

Autonomous and lightweight ventilation device that enables a quick and effective response in case of cardiopulmonary arrest.

Our experts say

The technology seems very feasible, valuable and cost-effective.

Albert Jané Font

CEO & Co-Founder at Vytrus Biotech

The team brings experience and expertise in both technology and business development.

Carlos Estevez

MOLECULAR CEO

In my opinion, the product has great potential because it offers a solution to a problem (cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed by non-experts) and because it provides greater operational capability to emergency professionals during an intervention. In both cases, I am confident that this device could improve the survival rate in cardiopulmonary emergencies.

Pau Calvet Llach

Business Development Director

The final rating

APPROVED: This company has successfully passed a rigorous legal and financial analysis.

Approved by
The BioExpert Network is an independent and exclusive network of experts in the life science industry and investment. Only proposals that receive positive evaluations in innovation, science, finance... make it successfully through to the funding campaign stage of Capital Cell.
Team
72%
Science
73%
Innovation
72%
Business
66%
Approved by
Alira Health is an international consultancy that provides a suite of integrated services designed to help companies in the healthcare and life sciences sectors.
Market access
65%
Regulatory
70%
Approved by
Elion is an intellectual property (IP) agency, which helps biotech and medtech start-ups with their protection strategies, patent drafting and prosecution, as well as freedom-to-operate studies.
Intellectual Property
70%

The project

The first CPR ventilation device suitable for all types of users in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest situations.

Dipneo is developing a portable and autonomous external ventilation device to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of ventilation maneuvers in healthcare emergencies.

The achievement of this objective is contingent upon the attainment of a series of specific technical and business objectives, which are crucial for both the uniqueness of the device and the success of the company’s commercialization efforts:

Technical Objectives (OT):

  1. Portability and Usability Anywhere: Develop an autonomous RCP ventilation device with a design that facilitates portability, ensuring accessibility and availability in any environment, whether medical or non-medical.
  2. Autonomy: Optimize the ergonomics and efficiency of the device for automation. This eliminates the need for manual operation by the operator, allowing them to focus on other tasks and removing limitations based on the operator’s physical capabilities (strength, endurance, hand size). While the device will allow manual use as a redundancy and safety measure, it will primarily be intended for automatic and autonomous operation.
  3. Non-Professional Use: The device will not require any pre-configuration to determine ventilation parameters, thus relieving the user of decision-making responsibilities, facilitating its use, and reducing stress during high-pressure situations like out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. Additionally, integration with a support and monitoring platform will assist the operator during device use, guiding them to execute proper CPR maneuvers. This platform will also ensure traceability, tracking, and effective monitoring of the device’s status. Initially, this assistance will be provided through video conferencing with a medical professional and will progress towards the inclusion of Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for operator guidance.

In addition to these technical objectives, the following business objectives (OE) are crucial:

Business Objectives (OE):

  1. Ensure Regulatory Compliance: Ensure compliance with various standards to enable the commercialization of the device in diverse markets. This includes conducting clinical trials and necessary tests to obtain the CE mark and obtaining the medical device manufacturer’s license.
  2. Execute an Effective Market Approach Strategy: Start by targeting segments considered more receptive and gradually expand into a wider range of usage environments and customer types, ensuring a comprehensive market penetration strategy.

The Dipneo device is a hands-free autonomous resuscitator intended for both professional and non-professional use. It consists of a sealed chamber containing an air bag, which is activated by a small compressed air tank that also supplies air to the patient. Equipment control is carried out through a limited mobile phone, which handles both internal device management and communication with emergency services for user assistance.

To facilitate understanding of the entire solution, a diagram of the different blocks that compose it is included below

Figure 1. Components of Dipneo

Breaking down, the system consists of:

1- Medical air or O2 bottle: This component not only provides compressed air or oxygen to the patient but also drives the contraction of the bag to inflate air through the mask. This avoids the need for additional power sources or connecting the equipment to the grid.

2- Sensor and valve hardware: These components regulate the entry of air into the capsule and its administration to the patient by controlling a valve regulated by a PLC.

Additionally, the system allows for pressure monitoring through the air inlet and outlet circuit, as well as chamber pressure, providing key information about lung capacity, coordination of cardiac resuscitation maneuvers, and potential airway obstructions.

The hardware receives parameters from the mobile device’s data controller, such as ventilation frequency (breaths per minute), which is crucial for opening and closing times.

Figure 2. Hardware Diagram

Based on the needs of the situation, the type of ventilation generated can be chosen:

  • Continuous: Providing constant ventilation. This ventilation mode is set as the default mode as it provides greater oxygenation for a patient in cardiac arrest. CPR: 
  • In CPR mode, the device audibly indicates 30 compressions/100-120 seconds and two breaths, acting in a situation of cardiac arrest with chest compressions. This alternative ventilation mode requires active selection and is recommended in more specific situations that require optimization of air or O2 consumption. 

3- Capsule: This rigid element contains an AMBU-type bag inside, as well as a tubular membrane with two non-return valves that allow airflow in one direction. The capsule chamber has a topology of strategically placed protrusions with differentiated thicknesses to overcome resistance to bag compression uniformly, achieving total tricuspid collapse.

Figure 3. Device Diagram: A) Sealed chamber. B) Control panel. C) Innovative valve. D) Tricuspid valve collapse sequence.

Additionally, the capsule has a fine-tuning unidirectional regulator and two additional quick-release valves to facilitate pressure release and recovery of the membrane’s original shape.

4- Mobile control device (smartphone) limited for device use and attached to it, serves several key functions:

  • Acts as a controller for sensor and valve hardware 
  • Assists the operator in the resuscitation process and device use. This includes not only auditory and visual alerts for chest compressions but also an automated call to emergency services (112), via phone call/video call, to support the person conducting resuscitation. 
  • Sends data to the medical platform about the patient’s condition until the emergency services (ambulance) arrive. 

To fulfill these functions, the controller device has Wi-Fi, 4G/5G connectivity, as well as a highly limited and user-friendly interface, to be used in a critical situation without any training.

5- Server for data storage and processing, including maintenance alerts, dates and times of use, important data during use (configured and monitored parameters), and communication with the control device (APP updates, permission changes in the APP, device location and movement, dates and times of use).

The collected data includes device usage frequency, geolocation, maintenance (for repair or replacement of parts), and patient parameters.

Based on this technology, DIPNEO has been able to carry out initial tests with a Laerdal mannequin simulator, demonstrating the effectiveness of the prototype and ensuring proper air delivery to the patient, monitoring parameters such as intrapulmonary pressure, delivered volume, and other vital signs important in the patient during CPR.

Therefore, the project is in a TRL-4 state, initiating the design and development of a second version of the prototype. This prototype will serve as a commercial prototype with which tests and trials will be conducted to obtain the CE certification required for subsequent sale in the European Union.

Figure 4. Dipneo Prototype Rendering

Technological Challenge and Innovation

Identification of the Technical Challenge:

Despite significant advancements from its early prototypes, the device is still considered to be in the development stage. To achieve a commercial device, Dipneo must address a series of technical challenges across its three key characteristics: portability, autonomy, and non-professional use.

  • Portability: Material Engineering and Geometries for the Device:

The current prototype features a rigid capsule housing the AMBU, ensuring a consistent operating environment for automated bag opening and closing. However, to enhance the current device, several aspects need addressing:

To improve chamber efficiency, studies will explore engineering the bag’s geometry by adjusting its length and constituent materials. This aims to improve collapsibility, durability, and resistance, especially in areas under greater compression.

Furthermore, considering that Air2Life is an emergency device, DIPNEO considers it important for it to have redundancy measures in its use. This is materialized in the redesign of the compression chamber, so that in the event of electronic failure or input pressure issues, the chamber housing can be removed to manually ventilate directly with the bag.

Incorporating extraction mechanisms to maintain chamber airtightness during automatic use poses a significant engineering challenge.

Additionally, ongoing prototype development will focus on reducing device weight through careful evaluation of suitable lightweight materials, directly contributing to portability and ease of use.

  • Autonomy: Precision of Automatic Control Systems:

Sensor systems and valve control are pivotal for device functionality, necessitating solutions for the following challenges:

Ensuring precise air delivery tailored to each patient’s specific needs. This entails developing pressure control to monitor lung capacity, compatibility, chest compression frequency, airway obstruction, and gastroesophageal reflux. Advanced control algorithms continuously monitor patient conditions for precise adjustments, regulating electrovalve operation accordingly.

Given the device’s emergency context, optimizing energy consumption is essential. This involves implementing technologies and strategies to minimize power usage, ensuring optimal efficiency and prolonging the lifespan of both electrical and gas pressure energy sources.

  • Non-Professional Use: Assistance for Non-Professional Operators:

While the current prototype provides operator guidance through visual and auditory alerts, further improvements are expected in the following areas:

  • Level 1: Auditory and visual alerts (already achieved).
  • Level 2: Calling/video calling emergency personnel, to be included in the 2024 prototype.
  • Level 3: AR glasses with integrated calling for «in-situ» operator guidance, expected development by 2026.

The latter requires advanced AR algorithms for virtual information overlaying on the patient’s physical environment. Integrating these technologies effectively poses a challenge, ensuring usability and accuracy in a dynamic clinical setting.

Additionally, to ensure that the operator can receive quick assistance from emergency teams, it is necessary to ensure robust communication between the device and qualified professionals. This involves developing robust connectivity between the mobile device and the medical device. Furthermore, a protocol for connection and queue determination must be established to prioritize Dipneo calls over others, thus ensuring a quick and effective response in critical situations.

The difficulty lies, on one hand, in the need to implement robust wireless technologies, develop secure communication protocols, and establish communication methods that allow for both assistance and continuous transmission of the patient’s vital signs during the operation of Air2Life.

Advantages and Technological Innovations:

Thanks to the results obtained in the initial prototypes testing and especially after solving the technological challenges outlined in the previous section, DIPNEO will achieve that the device possesses multiple technological advantages.

For easier understanding, the following innovations have been established:

Innovation 1 – Portable and versatile device for use in any environment: Current manual ventilation systems require a qualified medical operator, while mechanical ventilation systems also require electrical connection and mechanized environments. Thanks to its simple, lightweight, and low-cost design, it is perfect for assisting people in both professional and non-professional environments, serving as a perfect complement to an AED.

Innovation 2 – Effective and precise ventilation in emergency situations: Existing solutions in the market for emergency use have limitations due to manual handling, limiting the precision and effectiveness of ventilation to the operator’s physical characteristics and knowledge. Additionally, there is no real control over the supplied volume, nor is it possible to know the patient’s lung capacity, which can lead to medical problems such as gastroesophageal reflux. In contrast, Dipneo, through the use of air pressure sensors at various points, allows for the identification of possible respiratory obstructions, as well as adjusting the amount of air supplied according to the patient’s lung capacity.

Innovation 3 – Automatic usage to free the operator’s hands: In an emergency situation, freeing the hands and attention of the operator from something as important as ventilation is invaluable. This innovation becomes even more important considering that the operator is often a person close to the patient, who, in a moment of maximum tension, can be reassured that their loved one is receiving the optimal amount of air. This situation is not addressed by any device on the market, as both manual and automatic ventilators are focused on hospital environments and emergency equipment (ambulances, firefighters).

Innovation 4 – Device safety and robustness: To increase the safety and robustness of the product and the person handling it, as well as the patient, the device does not have gears to lubricate, bearings, follower rollers, shafts, spindles, or moving parts to protect, nor electric motors that heat up and warm the surrounding environment or produce interference in adjacent electronic equipment. Its design, carried out by medical professionals, aims to be safe and useful in any environment, incorporating additional redundancy and security measures such as the extraction of the capsule in case of electrical failure.

Innovation 6 – Early alert to emergency services: During emergency situations, people attending to patients must also alert emergency services (112). The device automates this alert to 112, establishing a priority communication channel that not only alerts the need for an ambulance but also enables medical services to monitor the patient’s vital signs.

Innovation 7 – Professional assistance during the resuscitation process: The high level of training required to effectively perform CPR limits the correct application of devices by untrained individuals, increasing the risks associated with a cardiac arrest in non-hospital environments. 

In response to this issue, the device guides the operator during the resuscitation process, both through the incorporation of auditory and visual signals and through direct contact with a medical professional who is aware of the patient’s situation. 

These assistance methods will be complemented in the near future by the incorporation of AR glasses that allow for instructions on how to place the device and how to correctly perform chest compressions, so that anyone can perform them optimally while maintaining contact with the emergency medical professional.

Our team

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Josep Magallón and Rafael Sánchez, two retired engineers, decided to conduct a validation test for the use of an automatic ventilation device from their garage. After transferring the technology to Eurecat, and with the assistance of The Collider, a startup is created. Xavier Castells joins as CEO, bringing extensive experience in sector startups, while Julio Diaz joins as CTO/COO, an engineer with proven experience in emergency devices.

Management team

Xavier Castells , CEO
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Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Management, with an MBA from ESADE and a Master of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona State University).

With an outstanding career, Xavier possesses extensive knowledge in the realm of startups and life sciences. Apart from being a founder of various technological and life science startups, he has served roles as a business angel, investor, and advisor in several startups within the sector.

He holds extensive managerial experience spanning from the financial sector, with roles in business product management, as well as experience as CFO and investor relations of a publicly traded life science company.

Additionally, he has led the strategic investment management in the publicly traded company: due diligences, investment structures, monitoring, exit strategy, etc., with experience in mergers and acquisitions, as well as managing various financial resources available in the research and development and life sciences sector.

He has actively worked on 2 IPOs and collaborates with 2 venture capital funds in the healthcare sector, as well as with financial services companies specializing in the healthcare sector.

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Julio Díaz , CTO / COO
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He holds a solid academic background, having graduated in Biomedical Electronics Engineering, with a Master's in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Barcelona, and a specialization in Process Engineering Applied to Medical Units from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara.

His extensive knowledge in medical devices encompasses key areas such as preventive and corrective maintenance, management of evaluation and acquisition of medical technologies. With experience as a product specialist, he has provided training to medical device users, leading campaigns and exhibitions, as well as supporting sales forces, covering emergency ventilation and ICU, advanced and basic monitoring, as well as optical devices for diagnosis and surgery.

In his role as a distributor and supplier in public tenders in Mexico, he has been involved in design and development, especially in project management for the development of devices for infusion pumps, among other medical devices. Demonstrating outstanding skills in process management for sanitary registration and public procurement processes of medical devices and equipment.

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Key team members

Ferran Soldevila
Business advisor
Irene Ràfols
Technology advisor

Advisors

Marc Bausili
Expert Committee
David Osorio
Expert Committee

The problem

Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) is a medical emergency that endangers life if not managed quickly and effectively. With an annual incidence in Europe ranging from 67 to 170 per 100,000 inhabitants, the survival rate is only 10.8%.

OHCA is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Survival decreases by 10% every minute our brain goes without oxygen.

Therefore, a critical aspect of managing cardiac arrest is ensuring adequate oxygenation and ventilation from the first minute.

The solution

Our device is designed to deliver a controlled flow of air into the patient’s lungs. It can be used in conjunction with other interventions such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation to help restore the patient’s cardiac and respiratory function.

A ventilation device suitable for use by all types of users (current devices require expert knowledge) must be easy to use, compact, and portable. To address these challenges, Dipneo has designed an autonomous, portable, easy-to-use, and hands-free resuscitator for medical emergencies.

Our differentiation

A critical aspect of managing cardiac arrest is ensuring adequate oxygenation and ventilation. Currently, oxygenation is achieved using one of the following techniques or tools:

  1. Mouth-to-Mouth Ventilation: This traditional first aid technique involves the rescuer blowing air into the victim’s airways. It is becoming increasingly obsolete due to the difficulty of coordinating with proper compressions and the safety and hygiene issues it poses.
  2. Manual Ventilation with Device: This includes devices such as Ambu, the first self-inflating portable manual respirator with a non-rebreathing valve. In its use, the rescuer operates an air bag with their hands, delivering air to the patient through a mask.
  3. Mechanical Ventilation with Device: This involves using large-volume devices in mechanized environments (medical centers or ambulances) that allow for controlled airflow.

Each of these methods has its advantages and limitations, but all aim to ensure the patient receives sufficient oxygenation and ventilation during a cardiac arrest event.

Dipneo aims to combine the best of existing solutions by developing a portable device that incorporates technological elements proven to enhance patient survival. Among the benefits provided are:

  1. Enhanced Mobility and Versatile Care: Its lightweight and portable design facilitate unrestricted mobility, enabling assistance in various environments, from public spaces (cardioprotected areas) to settings such as nursing homes, dental clinics, or hospitals. This ensures a quick and effective response to emergency situations.
  2. Hands-Free Operation: By combining autonomy and device automation, the operator’s hands are freed, maximizing efficiency in care. This strategic approach is crucial in situations where every second counts, necessitating a coordinated and agile response under the pressure of a health emergency.
  3. Democratization of Resuscitation: Dipneo reduces reliance on specific healthcare training, allowing the device to be used without any CPR training. It enables real-time calls or video calls with medical personnel who guide the correct execution of CPR by untrained personnel. Additionally, the potential implementation of augmented reality glasses in future developments will provide much more realistic and effective environments and instructions.
  4. Operator Independence: Automation and optimization of air intake by the device ensure an optimal flow for each patient, regardless of the operator’s physical abilities. This eliminates the need for manual manipulation and ensures consistent ventilation regardless of the operator’s size, strength, or endurance.
  5. Rapid Alert to Emergency Services: The device itself alerts emergency medical services to assist the patient as quickly as possible, aiding the operator in performing this task efficiently.
  6. Cost-Effectiveness: Dipneo’s device is generally 2 to 25 times cheaper than advanced portable ventilators, with sufficient control of variables for proper ventilation in any circumstance, and priced equivalent to external automatic defibrillators (AEDs).
  7. Optimized Patient and Equipment Monitoring: Through a comprehensive support platform, the device’s location, usage, key operational parameters, and maintenance can be monitored in real-time. This improves management in clinical and emergency environments, allowing remote adjustments and actions to ensure optimal performance.

This makes it the first emergency ventilation device that does not require expert knowledge for its use and makes it the perfect complement to existing External Defibrillators.

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