Cape Town-based biomedical engineering startup Impulse Biomedical has raised funding from the Futuregrowth Development Equity Fund (DEF) to speed development and release of its flagship device.
The Impulse device, the ZiBiPen, was designed by engineering graduates Gokul Nair and Giancarlo Beukes while completing their Masters’ Degrees in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The ZiBiPen aims to revolutionise the emergency treatment of life-threatening anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that occurs when a patient is exposed to a foreign substance such as an insect bite or certain foods.
Without immediate treatment, it can be fatal in as few as 15 minutes, unless a dose of adrenaline is administered. Adrenaline Auto-Injectors (AAIs) such as the ZiBiPen are the safest, quickest, and most efficient way to do this, yet middle- to lower-income groups often cannot afford this technology and the adrenaline in the available devices expires within 18 months.
The ZiBiPen has an innovative design that extends the life of an unused AAI. The device is reloadable, meaning that when the adrenaline expires, the user only replaces the cartridge rather than the whole device. The Impulse team is aiming for a useful life of three years. This is a global first, as there are currently no reusable AAIs on the market.
The ZiBiPen is in the second phase of development, to ensure that the device is both effective and safe for use by all patients. It is expected to be launched into the market by April 2023, and will do this with the support of Futuregrowth. The firm has previously backed the likes of SweepSouth and hearX, but Impulse is the first pre-revenue startup it has invested in.
“While our focus is normally on late-stage venture capital investments, Impulse Biomedical is an exception. We love Impulse’s ground-breaking technology and products, which, when coupled with the strong founding team, give us confidence that this investment will grow from strength to strength,” said Amrish Narrandes, head of unlisted equity transactions at Futuregrowth.
“The successes that the founders have achieved so far demonstrate the ability of the management team to take this business to new heights.”
Impulse has other products in its pipeline, including the Easy Squeezy, a device that attaches to a standard asthma pump, making it easier for young children, elderly and disabled patients to activate the device when they are struggling to breathe during an asthma attack.