SA Biomedical Engineering Startup Receives Funding



March 30, 2021, 1:25 p.m.

Cape Town-based multi-medical device development startup Impulse Biomedical has secured an undisclosed amount in a venture capital investment from Futuregrowth.

Amrish Narrandes, Head of Unlisted Equity Transactions at Futuregrowth explains that Impulse Biomedical is the first pre-revenue startup that the fund 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.”

Impulse Biomedical

Founded in 2017 by engineer duo Gokul Nair and Giancarlo Beukes, the biomedical engineering startup has developed an innovative device titled the ZiBiPen.

The unique and ground-breaking device has the potential to transform the emergency treatment of life-threatening anaphylaxis.

When an individual is suffering from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction to certain substances, Adrenaline Auto-Injectors must be administered within a reported 15 minutes to avoid fatality. According to reports, the dominant AAI on the market, the EpiPen costs up to R1 800 in South Africa for a single device.

Besides, the traditional EpiPen device expires within 18 months and must be discarded and replaces, incurring more costs for patients, and for South African patients the shelf life of these life-saving devices is a mere 12 months.

With this in mind, the engineering duo developed an affordable solution for middle to lower-income groups, the ZiBiPen. The device was developed while completing their Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cape Town.

Notably, there are no alternatives to the EpiPen available in South Africa and the ZiBiPen is the first local innovation for the treatment of anaphylaxis.

The BioMed tech startup aims to broaden its offering and increase access to life-saving health technologies for South Africans.

The ZiBiPen

Addressing the challenges faced with using the traditional EpiPen available on the market, the ZiBiPen has been designed to be reloadable. This means that once the adrenaline has expired, a user must simply replace the cartridge and not the entire device.

According to reports, the ZiBiPen is currently still in the development process but the creators are hoping to ensure that the device can last up to three years.

The ZiBiPen (Supplied)

The device will cost R 1000 and includes an initial cartridge. Cartridges cost R200 to R250 and will need to be replaced annually. Also, the device can be customized for any patient, such as the needle length, dose, and more.

The startup plans to launch the device in April 2023.


Easy Squeezy

Impulse Biomedical has also developed the Easy Squeezy, a device that attaches to a standard asthma pump, enabling young children, elderly and disabled patients to easily activate the device when they are suffering from an asthma attack.

The Easy Squeezy (Supplied)

Melissa Moore, Investment Analyst at Futuregrowth explains that the investment company is focused on supporting local innovators.

“We are excited to back these local entrepreneurs. We believe their innovations will create proudly South African products and intellectual property that will disrupt both local and global markets. We are confident that, when taken to market, the ZiBiPen will revolutionize the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis, which up to now has been dominated by much less affordable options.”


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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.