EIT Health: Paediatric health innovators win Wild Card 2023 award

06 Nov 2023 | Network Updates | Update from EIT Health
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

  • EIT Health Wild Card announces Innocens’ AI-empowered neonatal ICU support system as winner, with Gate2Brain's Central Nervous System drug delivery earning runner-up.  
  • The EIT Health Wild Card Programme has partnered this year with Sant Joan de Deu Hospital (SJD) Barcelona Children’s Hospital and its innovation hub i4KIDS to accelerate paediatric--centric innovations that make a substantial and positive impact in children’s health

The EIT Health Wild Card Programme has crowned Innocens, an AI-empowered neonatal ICU support system, as this year's victor. Following closely, runner-up Gate2Brain offers a transformative Central Nervous System (CNS) drug delivery method, promising enhanced efficacy with fewer side effects.

Addressing the healthcare gap that had previously seen 3.6% of EU children with unmet medical needs in 2021[i], the Wild Card Programme shines a spotlight on groundbreaking paediatric healthcare innovations. This initiative gains importance against the backdrop of the European Commission’s recent launch on 26 April 2023 to revise the EU's pharmaceutical legislation, which aims to further integrate scientific and technological advances into the development of medicines tailored for children and rare diseases[ii].

With the aim to reduce this gap, Wild Card, a programme of EIT Health, part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, has partnered with Sant Joan de Deu Hospital (SJD) Barcelona Children’s Hospital and its innovation hub i4KIDS, to accelerate paediatric centric innovations with the potential to make a real impact on children’s lives. The programme, which celebrates its 6th edition, pairs early-stage start-ups with the resources they need to validate their problem-solution for a specific health challenge each year, with this year’s challenge being children’s health. 

The programme has focused more specifically on innovations seeking to address challenges in early onset pathologies, chronic conditions and rare diseases, and acute disease management, and has relied upon the insights and advice of key opinion leaders and a group of children and teenagers who act as a Scientific Council in SJD.

Magda Krakowiak, Director, Accelerator said: “For the past six years, the Wild Card programme has been fostering needs-driven innovation through its challenge-based approach. This year, we connected entrepreneurs with Sant Joan de Deu, one of the leading children's hospitals in Europe. These founders have acquired invaluable skills and access to our extensive network and investors. We believe their innovations will enhance health outcomes for future generations.”

The Wild Card programme invites talented EU innovators to respond to health challenges through their innovative ideas. By fostering a supportive and collaborative environment, Wild Card encourages participants to think outside the box and challenge conventional thinking. With the guidance and support of experts and investors, teams have the opportunity to take on the challenge and bring innovative products and services to the healthcare industry.

[i] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/w/DDN-20230526-1

[ii] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2023/747440/EPRS_BRI(2023)747440_EN.pdf

 This article was first published on 06 November by EIT Health.

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