“Without the network, expert advice would have cost an arm and a leg”

BrainTrip Founders David Sakić and Jurij Dreo © BrainTrip Limited, 2020

EU Open for Business 2020 – Success stories

In the health sector, business development is not just about innovation, but also saving lives. While R&D starts at a small scale, what does it take to bring medical devices to the public?

The Maltese medical devices company BrainTrip developed a diagnostic tool capable of detecting early-onset dementia at a fraction of the cost and time of standard diagnoses. In need of guidance to scale up their business, BrainTrip turned to the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest global network supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) co-financed by the European Union.

Jurij Dreo and David Sakić bonded over their research work on dementia. In 2019, they took this shared interest and co-founded the Maltese medical devices company BrainTrip. The company developed an affordable and easy-to-use solution for early-stage dementia screening – known as an ‘EEG’ (electroencephalogram). At a small scale, this diagnostic tool was more effective and rapid than the standard dementia diagnosis. Yet, the company needed to overcome funding and regulatory hurdles to have the desired impact on the medical sector.

BrainTrip approached the Malta Council for Science & Technology, a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network located in Kalkara (Malta). The network, with its 3 000 experts from more than 600 member organisations based in 60 countries worldwide, is a valuable source of support for SMEs in accessing EU funding and partnerships.

Navigating the market

With the support of the Enterprise Europe Network, BrainTrip gained access to EU regulatory and marketing experts. Specifically, the Malta contact point for the Network organised a meeting with a medical device certification expert at the BrainTrip premises. Over a two-day period, the expert answered all of their questions about the certification process for medical devices on the EU market. Another integral component of the Network’s support was matching BrainTrip with business coaches and mentors who could provide expert insight at the national and EU level.

“Without the network, expert advice would have cost an arm and a leg. And we wanted to keep our arms and legs,” says Dreo.

Up to scale

Thanks to the Network’s guidance, BrainTrip is gearing up to enter the market with a proof of concept for a non-invasive dementia screening device, at a fraction of the time (15 minutes) and cost (€100-150) of a standard diagnosis. Prior to March 2020, BrainTrip was preparing to run clinical trials in various European health centres or hospitals. With the sustained support of the Network, BrainTrip looks forward to expanding staff and business prospects with EU funding as well as through the Rockstart Health accelerator and other partnerships with pharmaceutical and healthcare companies throughout Europe.

Find out how your local Enterprise Europe Network can support your business.