Warsaw Health Innovation Hub launch. Photo: Krystian Maj/ KPRM
The Warsaw Health Innovation Hub (WHIH) has been launched by the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, at the Medical Research Agency in Poland
The joint initiative between the Medical Research Agency, EIT Health and leading industry players – AstraZeneca, Microsoft, Polpharma, Roche - was unveiled at a ceremony at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland. This is the first initiative of this type in Central Europe, which will see the public and private sector work together to create innovative medical, technological and legal solutions to improve patient health and increase the efficiency of the Polish health care system. At the invitation of the Prime Minister and acting President of the Medical Research Agency Dr. hab. Radosław Sierpiński, the meeting was attended by the leading representatives of the first four companies that will join the project: Iskra Reic (AstraZeneca), Mark Loughran (Microsoft), Markus Sieger (Polpharma),Irma Veberič (Roche) and Jan-Philipp Beck (EIT Health). During the meeting at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub was inaugurated, and company representatives signed a cooperation agreement. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the most important issues, common expectations and tasks for the near future.
“This is a huge event on a European scale. We managed to interest the business sector in cooperation, enough to make them want to support Polish science, start-ups and innovations to improve the quality of therapy and solutions for Polish patients. Thank you very much for your involvement in the creation of this project and for the common willingness to carry out the tasks that lie ahead of us. This is just the beginning of our activity” said Radosław Sierpiński, p.o. president of ABM.
The unique concept of WHIH will create conditions allowing for a quick transformation of ideas into products, processes and services, taking into account the development interests of the Polish biomedical sector and the need for Poland's independence in the field of innovative drugs and medical products. It is also an opportunity to invest in Polish technologies and the best research teams from the country.
“I would like to thank President Sierpiński for creating this very interesting initiative, which is the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub project, supported by the Polish government. Our responsibility is to build strategic partnerships in the field of health in the public and private sectors. This is the lesson we learn from the pandemic. WHIH is the first platform of this type not only in Poland, but also in Central Europe. The potential of our researchers and companies, as well as the experience of the global biotech sector, will allow us to provide benefits to Polish patients. By supporting such initiatives, we want to create good conditions for the development of the health care system in our country. We have more and more start-ups and research projects in Poland. This is a potential that cannot be wasted, said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“No field is developing as dynamically as medicine. There are new treatment options, new molecules, medical devices, and diagnostic tests that make it possible for us to more effectively treat patients. We believe that cooperation with the business sector under WHIH will accelerate the implementation of many solutions in the health care sector in Poland, and that the potential of our researchers and young start-ups will be noticed and properly implemented for the benefit of patients” emphasised Adam Niedzielski, Polish Minister of Health.
An element of the WHIH concept will be programs created and financed by business partners focused on the creation of medical and technological innovations for the development of the Polish biomedical sector and the pragmatic use of innovations for the purpose of raising the standards of health services provided. The operator of the strategic partners who will be responsible for the cooperation platform between the companies is EIT Health.
Comments of the Strategic Partners of Warsaw Health Innovation Hub:
"The Warsaw Health Innovation Hub is an example of how, thanks to the open innovation formula, we can respond to key health challenges common to all of Europe, especially in the post-pandemic period. So far, EIT Health, together with over 150 partners has implemented 118 innovative projects. Therefore, we see great value in projects where business works hand in hand with the government to strengthen the health care system. As part of WHIH, EIT Health will support strategic partners in coordinating pilot projects, in close cooperation with the Medical Research Agency and government institutions” said Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of EIT Health.
“AstraZeneca is proud to be a founding partner and participate in the inauguration of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub, which will undoubtedly contribute to ensuring the highest possible quality of healthcare services. This initiative marks a new chapter in the field of public-private cooperation in healthcare in Poland, and will set a pioneering example for the region of Central and Eastern Europe. The launch of WHIH is an important milestone in AstraZeneca's collective efforts with the World Economic Forum and the London School of Economics to create the Healthcare System Sustainability and Resilience Partnership (PHSSR) to improve health among the world's population, both in connection with the COVID pandemic -19, but also after its termination. I am very glad that Poland was among the first eight countries that participated in this international cooperation. AstraZeneca will be actively involved in the innovative projects initiated by the Hub for people all over Poland and in building a sustainable and resilient healthcare system” says Iskra Reic, Executive Vice-President Europe & Canada at AstraZeneca.
“Thank you for inviting Polpharma to co-create this initiative and continue working as a strategic partner of WHIH. I am convinced that Hub will play an important role in the development of the Polish medical sector, responding to current and future challenges in the health sector, such as the aging of the population, the spread of infectious and chronic diseases, and rising costs compared to limited resources. Polpharma, with over 85 years of experience in building successful business cooperation, is ready to share its know-how and support initiatives integrating scientific knowledge with business and public institutions. As a leader of the domestic industry, we can effectively support the needs of Polish patients, building added value for the health care system, especially in terms of increasing drug safety and achieving goals in accordance with the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. Our vision and strategy for building an effective healthcare system includes: prevention, patient-centeredness, and collaboration across the entire value chain: from prevention to effective treatment. I am glad that we will co-create this initiative” underlines Markus Sieger, President of the Management Board of Polpharma
“The establishment of the Warsaw Healthcare Innovation Hub is a new, innovative approach to the development of healthcare in Poland. It is a combination of technology and human ingenuity that will result in innovation that serves us all. Microsoft's aspiration is to support the development of the Polish Digital Valley, and the digital transformation of the sector, being one of its key pillars, will bring benefits not only to selected, but also to all participants of the health care system in the country” explains Mark Loughran, CEO of Microsoft in Poland.
“Roche Polska has invested nearly PLN 4 billion in Poland in the last 6 years. Every year, we increase the scale of investments, which in 2020 reached over PLN 1 billion. We are constantly increasing the variety increasing the number of clinical trials in Poland, only in 2019 it was an investment of PLN 108 million, thanks to which almost 1100 patients gained access to the most modern therapies. Together with the Oncology Centre in Warsaw, we opened the first early phase research centre in Poland. We believe that Warsaw Health Innovation Hub will be another important element, promoting the most innovative activities and pro-innovative changes in the health system. We believe that the innovative solutions developed together will improve the health and quality of life of Polish patients” says Irma Veberič, General Manager Roche Polska.
The next step in the development of WHIH will be the first meeting of the WHIH Council, appointed by the President of ABM. The WHIH Council has an opinion-making and advisory character, meets at regular meetings and determines the most important issues regarding the functioning of WHIH. At the first meeting of the Council, priorities will be developed and adopted under which projects prepared by WHIH Strategic Partners will be implemented.
This article was first published on June 10 by EIT Health.