- Tuesday, 7 January, 2020

Health innovation start-ups

Innovative projects can address the health challenges of an aging society, said Mónika Tóth, program manager at EIT Health, to Világgazdaság (World Economy). The Budapest-based organization has supported more than 600 health start-ups in 31 countries so far.

EIT Health covers the countries of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe with 144 partners including many universities and hospitals, large companies, research and development centres. Its network includes 7 of Europe's top 10 universities, such as the University of Cambridge and Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, the Delft, the Munich Technical University and the ETH Zurich.

On the corporate side, nine of the world's top ten medtech companies are partners, with an annual research and development budget of approximately 30 billion euros.

The institution works on joint projects in Hungary with the University of Debrecen and Semmelweis University, and the Institute for Transdisciplinary Discoveries at the University of Pécs operates as an innovation centre and EIT Health hub.

Last year, EIT Health InnoStars mentored, trained and supported more than 50 startups, including prominent Hungarian ones who Mónika Tóth thinks will be worth to monitor in the future. The latter includes Sineko, which is preparing for a software revolution in international teleradiology because its solution may facilitate the creation and translation of radiological findings.

The InSimu team would make it available to medical students to practice diagnosis in patients simulated with the application. The program manager called our area a true gold mine of innovative health care ideas due to the wealth of talent but pointed out that there are more barriers to validating good ideas and turning them into profitable businesses compared to other more developed regions. Such a problem is that it takes more time for start-ups to reach an advanced stage (scale up) than in Western Europe, which is why regional cooperation is important.

Start-ups in Eastern and Southern Europe also have to overcome prejudices about the countries of origin and some of them face major language barriers. Validation of their products or services is also difficult due to the burden of healthcare providers and the lack of testing opportunities. Another difficulty is that the level of development of private health care has not reached the level of Western Europe yet, therefore the opportunities for testing innovative solutions are also more moderate.

The EIT Health Regional Innovation Scheme helps you find, incubate, validate and scale ideas in 13 countries: Portugal, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Start-ups can access various types of support through EIT Health's various acceleration programs. In the InnoStars Awards program managed by EIT Health InnoStars, the winning team receives 25,000 euros, the second team 15,000 euros and the third team 10,000 euros.



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