Following elimination rounds in all of EIT Health’s Regions, 42 start-ups have been named to compete in the semifinals of EIT Health’s prestigious European Health Catapult competition. The start-ups described below, offering innovative solutions for challenges ranging from cancer and chronic disease to medical imaging and precision diagnosis, must survive one more competition for a chance to go to the finals at the EIT Health Summit in Paris in December.
The European Health Catapult, which has been called one of the top competitions for biotech start-ups in Europe, is designed to identify and accelerate promising European start-ups in the categories of biotech, medtech and digital health. The regional candidate start-ups were screened by EIT Health regional representations – the EIT Co-location Centres (CLCs) and EIT Health InnoStars.
The 42 start-ups will receive intensive coaching on their value proposition and investor pitch, and then pitch competitively during the following semi-final events:
Biotech: Delft, Netherlands, 24-26 September 2019
Medtech: San Sebastian, Spain, 30 September-2 October 2019
Digital Health: London, UK, 8-10 October 2019
A jury will judge their presentations, their market readiness and the anticipated impact of their healthcare innovations, and half of them will be chosen to carry on in the competition. The 21 finalists will compete in the European Health Catapult Final in Paris, during the 2-3 December 2019 EIT Health Summit. The finalists will pitch their innovations to compete for recognition, the attention of investors and prizes worth a total of €210 000.
The following are brief descriptions of the healthcare innovations promoted by the 42 semi-finalists in the European Health Catapult:
LiGalli (EIT Health Belgium/Netherlands): LiGalli MedRings aim at exploiting the intersection of drug delivery, diagnostics and digital technology. The MedRing is a miniaturised electronic intra-vaginal device, which takes advantage of the vaginal wall’s ideal anatomical profile for uptake of medication and diagnostic monitoring. The flexible, disposable, self-insertable MedRing is in contact with the vaginal wall without violating tissue integrity. Through wireless communication, the MedRing is connected to a smart phone application for data readout and drug release control.
Yesse Technologies (formerly MOUsensor) (EIT Health Belgium/Netherlands): Yesse Technologies, Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology start-up building a human nose-on-a-chip to decode every single smell on this planet. The company’s bold vision is to establish a digital database of scent by indexing all odours ranging from the unique smells associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s to the fragrances in a perfumer’s palette.
MukoCell GmbH (EIT Health Germany): MukoCell GmbH is a pharmaceutical company based in Germany that has developed an innovative and gentle method for the minimally invasive surgical repair of urethral strictures. Urethral stricture, mainly caused by injury and infection, is a common disease and an unmet medical need with about 92 000 cases per year in Europe and about 835 000 cases worldwide. The company’s tissue-engineered transplant, MukoCell, will be the new state-of-the-art standard treatment for urethral stricture, resulting in high success rates, no side-effects and a high quality of life for the patient.
PerioTrap Pharmaceutcials GmbH (EIT Health Germany) PerioTrap develops an innovative anti-infective drug for targeted treatment of periodontitis that is more efficient than a general antibiotic. Although this is a widespread infectious disease affecting around 30% of the global population, the current therapy consists of the removal of plaque within the dental pockets, followed by cleansing using either antiseptic solutions or broad spectrum antibiotics. This approach has various side effects, including the destruction of the protective biofilm. PerioTrap develops locally applied small molecule inhibitors against a new target, which is only present within the pathogenic bacteria, but it does not affect commensals.
Sinnovial (EIT Health France): Sinnovial provides its expertise and SinnoTest® technology to allow rheumatologists to use a personalised medicine approach to contribute to the improvement of living conditions of people with Chronic Inflammatory Disease (CID). The technology is based on the analysis of a patients’ individual proteomic profile and the calculation of treatment response probabilities.
Sparing Vision (EIT Health France): SparingVision, with its drug SPVN06, will tailor gene therapy tools to be used as a neuroprotection approach to Retinitis Pigmentosa, an inherited disease that can cause severe loss of sight. SPVN06 introduced DNA coding for RdCVF (Rod-derived Cone-Viability Factor), which can protect cones from degeneration. With our approach, 100% of RP patients are eligible, and cone degeneration is stopped, with the potential renewal of lost cones.
Takis srl (EIT Health InnoStars): Takis has developed TK-NEO, a DNA-based patient-specific Neoantigen Cancer Vaccine (NCV) for use as a therapeutic vaccination for locally advanced or metastatic solid cancers. TK-NEO stimulates the immune system to fight the specific cancer. The proprietary method is based on a six-week process, including: sequencing the cancer DNA, synthesis of the right neoantigens, fusion of neoantigens with a proprietary plasmid vaccine, and delivery through a specific Electroporation device to make the transfer of vaccine much more efficient.
OACP (EIT Health InnoStars): OACP has the objective to provide oncology diagnostics laboratories and research institutions with solutions that will greatly reduce cancer diagnosis time while also reducing cost. The genetic characterisation of cancer is now considered mandatory for correct diagnosis and therapy assignment. Unfortunately, the current gold standard for this procedure is an in-situ hybridisation technique that takes at least three working days, causing anxiety for patients and delaying treatment. OACP’s solution can reduce the total test time (from the slide to the diagnosis) to only 160 minutes – and reduce the total cost of the test by up to 50% – while maintaining the quality of the test.
Cartana (EIT Health Scandinavia): CARTANA is a Swedish Biotechnology company that equips researchers with innovative spatial sequencing technology, so they can decipher both functions and diseases of the brain – and investigate tumours and other organs to much greater depth than previously possible. CARTANA’s Neuro Kit uses In Situ Sequencing (ISS) technology to provide brain mapping. ISS is an unprecedented technique of analysing tissue samples, generating 100 times more data than other commercial techniques. The solution is transversal to neuroscience, oncology and immunology, and promotes advancements on cellular and molecular biology, disease diagnostics and treatment development.
Emplicure (EIT Health Scandinavia): Emplicure’s vision is to make pain treatment safer by improving the way opioids are administered. While patients with severe chronic pain can benefit from continuous long-term opioid administration, there is a high risk of abuse, misuse and diversion associated with these products. Relying on experience and competence within materials and pharmaceutical sciences, Emplicure has created products, based on ceramic patented technologies, that make it possible to achieve abuse-deterrent properties for pain relief drugs.
Iproteos S.L. (EIT Health Spain): Iproteos applies its proprietary AI-based technology platform IPROTech to identify and develop innovative compounds that can tackle intra-cellular and brain targets. Iproteos’ most advanced programmes are a treatment for cognitive impairment associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, and a disease-modifying treatment for epilepsy. Based on a combination of in silico methodology and posterior experimental application, Iproteos’ know-how has allowed the development of a robust pipeline of compounds to address unmet medical needs in the central nervous system field and cancer treatment.
DestiNA Genomics Ltd (EIT Health Spain) DestiNA Genomics develops novel molecular diagnostics that promise error-free routine clinical detection of microRNA biomarkers, which are valuable as biomarkers for toxicology, illness and disease. Their patented SMART Nucleobase technology showed 100% accuracy in detecting mutations in blind testing of Cystic Fibrosis patient blood samples. DestiNA aims to become a leading manufacturer and supplier of custom chemical reagents for biomarker assays.
OmniSpirant Limited (EIT Health UK-Ireland): Omnispirant has created a bold new approach to treat currently incurable respiratory diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Their planned pipeline of advanced therapies unite regenerative medicine and gene therapy. The technology is based on inhaled bioengineered stem cell exosomes, which are capable of efficient intracellular delivery of a variety of therapeutic cargoes to effectively treat lung diseases at the required level of complexity. The engineered stem cell exosomes will initially be used to develop a first in class regenerative gene therapy for Cystic Fibrosis, and the mucus penetrating exosomes have similar transformative potential for treating many other respiratory diseases.
uFraction8 (EIT Health UK-Ireland): uFraction8 provides scalable bioprocessing technology enabling biomass filtration, separation and dewatering, used with a wide range of microbes, like micro algae, yeast and bacteria. The technique sorts biomass from culture medium with no harm and no flocculants, unlike centrifuges, filters and membranes. This technology is useful for a range of applications, including the selective concentration of pathogens for detection and separation of stem cells from blood/plasma.
Digital Health category
Bingli (EIT Health Belgium/Netherlands): Bingli is an artificial-intelligence-driven chatbot connecting patients and doctors and offering solutions and processes throughout the whole patient-doctor interaction. Bingli collects personal medical data, gauges complaints and symptoms, asks relevant questions and transmits this information to the doctor, while also providing information for patients. This will allow patients to be prepared and doctors to be better informed at the consultation, so doctors can spend more time on personal interaction with patients.
Epihunter (EIT Health Belgium/Netherlands): Epihunter creates digital, connected solutions to make epilepsy matter less. Their first solution helps people with absence seizures: It uses wearable EEG devices to detect, log and signal silent, difficult-to-notice epileptic absence seizures. The device simply turns on a light or makes a sound when the brain switches off. This allows people with absence seizures to interact more naturally with the people around them.
inHEART (EIT Health France): inHEART provides a “Google Maps for cardiologists”, transforming cardiac images into a personalised digital 3D map of the patient’s heart. The inHEART image contains the localisation of abnormal tissues, so that cardiologists can better plan and guide interventions.
Life Plus (EIT Health France): Life Plus has created an autonomous medical smart watch that measures precise physiological parameters and can transmit alerts to caregivers or a call centre when there is a sign of a problem. The system also involves a machine-learning algorithm for automatic data analysis. The watch, which does not require a home internet connection or smartphone, targets patients over 65 who have been treated with outpatient or extensive surgery and have returned home after hospitalisation.
Ares Genetics GmbH (EIT Health Germany): Ares Genetics, a digital diagnostics start-up, is revolutionising infectious disease diagnostics and therapeutics with artificial-intelligence-based DNA testing. Their innovation helps to combat antimicrobial resistance by preventing the indiscriminate use of antibiotics that can occur when prescribing doctors lack diagnostic information on an infection’s causative pathogens and associated resistance patterns. The solution allows for more precise diagnosis thanks to Next Gen Sequencing (NGS) technology in combination with a proprietary reference database of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance, ARESdb.
Portabiles HealthCare Technologies (EIT Health Germany): Portabiles HealthCare Technologies will offer clinical gait analysis of people while they undertake daily living activities in their homes. Patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s may suffer fluctuations in their condition, and treatment involves individual care that often requires hospitalisation. This solution makes it possible to treat these patients at home: doctors and telenurses receive remote daily reports about the health condition of their patients, so they can adjust medication quickly and in a personalised manner.
Arcon (EIT Health InnoStars): Arcon’s SONE devices digitise the sounds detected by any classic stethoscope, allowing for amplification and filtering that makes the sound clearer. Their innovation makes it possible to record and share auscultation among specialists, improve diagnosis and perform remote patient monitoring services. The system is integrated with a predictive algorithm for sound recognition, and it promises significant cost reductions. Among the benefits of the patented SONE Pro and SONE Remote products is the possibility to allow better diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
TeiaCare (formerly HeartWatch) (EIT Health InnoStars): TeiaCare seeks to address the problem of inefficient monitoring in nursing homes and post-acute hospitals. TeiaCare provides a revolutionary system for Contact-Free Continuous Monitoring (CFCM) of multiple vital signs and activity parameters. Using a combination of advanced facial recognition, signal processing and intelligent deep-learning analytics, TeiaCare detects early signs of cardiac and respiratory problems, identifying the risk of falls and preventing the incidence of bedsores.
Triumf Health (EIT Health Scandinavia): Triumf Health creates a healthier future for ill children through a personalised and fun game that helps them relieve stress and understand their illness. Findings from the company’s multi-site clinical study among paediatric cancer patients showed that the Triumf game is effective as a digital intervention that can improve mental well-being and health-related quality of life. Children playing the game need to save the Triumfland city from the Disease Monster. The game delivers research-based content to educate, monitor and support patients in a personalised manner. Different versions are geared toward children with cancer, diabetes, asthma and/or obesity.
Alex Health (EIT Health Scandinavia): Alex takes a new approach to breaking bad habits, thereby helping people to take back control of their bodies. Alex combines Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with artificial intelligence to provide a personalised service based on individual environmental and emotional triggers. Research has shown that quitting smoking with CBT is 10 times more effective than trying to quit alone. With software that uses an evidence-based approach, paired with data-driven, step-by-step supports, Alex provides a one-of-a-kind plan for long-term smokers, first time quitters, and those who have tried it all.
Braingaze S.L. (EIT Health Spain): Braingaze develops mind-tracking solutions that follow small eye movements – known as Cognitive Vergence – to predict and identify personal behaviour for clinical and commercial applications. Braingaze uses these small eye movements as a marker for cognitive visual processing. The Braingaze method is non-invasive, fast and robust, and does not require expensive hardware. As a first commercial application, Braingaze has clinically validated a unique solution to more objectively diagnose ADHD in children and adults.
Insulcloud S.L. (EIT Health Spain): Insulcloud makes Insulclock, a system that monitors the treatment of diabetes with an insulin pen, and helps people adhere to a healthy regimen. Insulclock uses a device attached to insulin pens, converting them into intelligent pens that communicate with a mobile application, which is also integrated with multiple glucometers. This system makes a person’s glucose levels and insulin doses appear in the app. Diabetics will be able to know if they have already taken their insulin, if it is time to take more insulin, if their pen has been exposed to suboptimal temperatures and much more.
Atturos Limited (EIT Health UK-Ireland): Atturos develops new molecular diagnostic solutions and is currently seeking to commercialise the OCProDx test, a simple blood test to determine whether diagnosed prostate cancer is confined to the prostate. With this information, patients can take an informed role in their choice of treatment. The goal is to prevent unnecessary over treatment of a disease that most patients will not die from. The test itself is performed on a robust clinical platform using advanced proteomics methods and state-of-the-art equipment.
myPatientSpace Ltd. (EIT Health UK-Ireland): myPatientSpace provides a digital platform that improves the healthcare experience of patients and their families with engagement throughout a patient’s journey. The system gives timely updates to patients and families about the patient’s condition and treatment. It also offers specific educational tools, with micro-learning delivered when the patient needs it, for improved decision making. The system leads to creation of smart, automated and personalised care plans that help keep patients, families and extended care teams engaged with care, no matter where they are – at home or in a hospital.
SurGuide (EIT Health Belgium/Netherlands): SurGuide is developing a device that will support surgeons in removing tumours by inspecting resected tissue to determine whether the tumour has been completely removed – while the patient is still in the operating room. Incomplete tumor removal negatively affects patient outcome and necessitates additional treatment, but current techniques only give results of the operation after a few days. By providing feedback in real time, SurGuide lets the surgeon decide whether they need to perform additional resection, at the indicated locations, while the initial tumour removal procedure is still underway.
Idris Oncology (EIT Health Belgium/Netherlands): Idris Oncology is developing a diagnostic device that captures cancer cells circulating in the blood. The product will enable doctors to know exactly how a cancer is changing, allowing treatment to be adjusted accordingly. The product lets doctors track and refine targeted cancer therapies – without taking a painful biopsy. Using Idris Oncology’s product, doctors can see exactly what they are fighting, ensuring that cancer patients get the right chemotherapy every time, all the time.
Hepa Wash GmbH (EIT Health Germany): Hepa Wash has developed the CE-marked and worldwide patented ADVOS technology (ADVanced Organ Support) - the only therapy worldwide offering multi organ support integrated in one single device. ADVOS improves survival of ICU patients by up to 150% by simultaneously supporting all three main detoxification organs: the liver, the kidney and the lungs. The solution allows fluid-based elimination of: water-soluble toxins from the kidney, protein-bound toxins from the liver and kidney, and CO2 from the lungs. It also restores acid-base balance by correcting metabolic and respiratory acidosis.
Munevo GmbH (EIT Health Germany): Munevo DRIVE is a smart glass application for hands-free control of electric wheelchairs. The application uses built-in sensors to translate head movements into control signals. These signals are then transmitted to the wheelchair control unit via an innovative adapter. Along with allowing hands-free control of the wheelchair, Munevo DRIVE also lets users navigate through the menu with head movements.
LumediX (EIT Health France): Lumidex is developing functionalised luminescent nanoparticles for bioanalytical and in vitro diagnostic applications. The proprietary nanoparticles provide users with the capacity to radically increase immunoassay sensitivity. They can be easily adapted and integrated into assays to increase the sensitivity up to 1 000 times.
PKvitality (EIT Health France): PK has developed and patented K'Watch Glucose, a minimally invasive glucose self-monitoring system in the shape of a smartwatch. The innovative technology measures glucose levels in the skin’s interstitial fluid, without painful blood-sampling. Glucose levels are measured with just a press, with high accuracy, and the watch can constantly monitor the user and use discreet vibrations to alert them to glucose highs or lows throughout the day.
PeekMed (EIT Health InnoStars): PeekMed® is a rigorous and effective preoperative planning system for orthopedic surgeries based on the creation of 2D/3D models of a patient’s medical imaging and interaction with 2D/3D models of prosthetic materials of different implant manufacturers. PeekMed® provides surgeons an ecosystem that helps them develop proper preoperative planning by fully understanding the patient’s problem, helping them select surgical materials and dimensions and warning them of anatomical corrections required. The system basically tells orthopaedic surgeons everything they need to know about the intervention within a couple of minutes.
NU-RISE (EIT Health InnoStars): The NU-RISE system provides the first real-time radiation dose monitoring system, making radiotherapy truly adaptive so that doctors can better target the cancer while protecting patients from unnecessary radiation and preventing severe secondary effects. Radiotherapy is an efficient tool against cancer, but over-irradiation has negative side effects on patients and creates unneeded healthcare costs. With the NU-RISE system, radiotherapy is more effective against the cancer and less harmful to the patient, resulting in better health outcomes and quality of life for patients – and lower healthcare costs.
IPDx (EIT Health Scandinavia): IPDx has developed a proprietary biomarker discovery platform, called Mimotope Variation Analysis (MVA), that identifies antibody signatures for a variety of diseases, through a combination of phage display screening, next-generation sequencing and big data analytics. IPDx applies MVA to develop diagnostics, and collaborates with industry partners interested in biomarker discovery, vaccine development, and multiplex diagnostic panel development. The first test of the platform is a breast cancer treatment test to identify those patients with the highest risk of cancer reoccurring after the initial treatment. This allows physicians to treat these patients aggressively with chemotherapy, while also identifying the 30% who undergo unnecessary chemotherapy.
Innovosens (EIT Health Scandinavia): Innovosens are developing a wearable sensor called SMASH (Sweat Metabolite Ananlysis for Sports and Health). SMASH is the first truly non-invasive, multiparametric wearable sensor for continuous monitoring of glucose and lactate levels. It allows diabetics and athletes to measure their glucose, lactate, ketone and cortisol levels continuously and in real-time, through data wirelessly transmitted from the device to a mobile app.
Gogoa mobility robots S.L. (EIT Health Spain): Gogoa is a start-up devoted to the rehabilitation of gait through robotic devices that support human movement. Their HANK exoskeleton is the first EU designed and manufactured device for lower limbs with CE certification. It has been used in clinical studies to help speed up recovery time for stroke patients. HANK encourages a subject’s active participation and preserves movement variability while they are walking. This year, Gogoa also plans to roll out a new device, the BELK robotic knee, which is focused on improving the rehab of knee injuries and is designed to combine treatment in the clinical and home environment.
BIEL GLASSES S.L. (EIT Health Spain): BIEL GLASSES designs digital glasses for people with low-vision, a visual disability seven times more common than blindness. Decreased mobility is the most disabling impact of low vision, according to patient surveys. These glasses seek to increase mobility for people with low vision, using 3D vision, AI and mixed reality to detect and signal obstacles, traffic lights and other risks. The glasses also include other complementary functions, like zoom vision, contrast improvement, etc., providing a complete solution that increases personal autonomy of people with low vision.
Gasgon Medical (EIT Health UK-Ireland): Gasgon Medical is developing novel devices that reduce the potential for harm and optimise clinical efficiency during intra-venous (IV) medicine delivery. They are currently engaged in pre-clinical studies for a patent-pending disposable device that is affordable and effective in reducing incidence of Vascular Air Embolism (VAE), a serious risk factor of every IV infusion. VAE adverse events burden healthcare with more than €8.5 billion in direct additional costs annually, and this innovation can help prevent them.
Sutrue Limited (EIT Health UK-Ireland): Sutrue Limited has created the world’s first automated medical stitching (suturing) devices that use industry-standard needles. The company’s Handheld devices revolutionise the process of wound closure, which has been the same since Ancient Egyptian times, while the Robotic/Endoscopic device enables keyhole surgery that has not been possible in the past. With Sutrue, the suturing process is safer, quicker and more efficient; potentially saving hospitals millions through better use of surgeons’ time, in addition to reducing accidental “needlestick” injuries of healthcare professionals.
This communication was first published 21 June 2019 by EIT Health.