Health Venture Lab, powered by GE Healthcare, believes that Europe has the potential to become the world’s most desirable location to launch new medtech products, with its Reactor programme playing a crucial part in driving forward key healthcare start-ups.
The integration of digital health solutions into medtech is becoming ever more important as the future pathway of the industry develops. Dominated by the US and the EU, the value of the medtech sector globally is forecast to reach 595 billion US dollars by 2024.
In terms of sales, the US currently leads with a 39 per cent global share, followed by the EU on 26 per cent. However, with the Asia-Pacific region expected overtake the EU and rise to second place by 2023, there is an urgent need for digital health innovation in Europe and key players recognise the importance of creating innovative new solutions to make healthcare systems more resilient, accessible and effective.
One of the initiatives driving this effort is Health Venture Lab’s (HVL) Reactor Accelerator, powered by GE Healthcare, which recently graduated its fifth cohort of start-ups at the programme’s annual Demo Day at GE Healthcare’s HQ in Budapest, Hungary, in June.
“Innovation is key for the dynamic growth of healthcare companies that flourish best with cooperation and partnerships in academia, industry and entrepreneurial sectors,” according to Kostas Deligiannis, general manager Eastern Europe at GE Healthcare.
“GE Healthcare is proudly supporting initiatives like Health Venture Lab, that bring together brilliant ideas, the right partners and disruptive innovators accelerating the advancement of European healthcare.”
HVL once again attracted the most auspicious disruptors in the industry to provide them with and inspiring environment, and development opportunities to boost their business growth.
From dozens of applicants from across Europe, HVL selected the most promising projects who presented their progress at the Demo Day event. The Reactor’22 cohort of 17 teams took part in four intensive remote sprints, making it flexible enough for MVP-stage start-ups from across Europe to participate.
The start-ups got unique access and hands-on support from global leaders and top healthcare experts in emerging technologies from the programme’s main partners, the University of Debrecen (UD), Medical University of Lodz (MUL), GE Healthcare, EIT Health and IESE Business School.
“The medtech transformation is a process that involves all industry participants to engage: from governments, patients and medical community to major corporations of leading medical technologies like GE Healthcare and inevitably the innovators of novel digital solutions in healthcare,” says Jan Beger, senior director, digital ecosystem at GE Healthcare.
“That is why I strongly believe in the collaboration and supportive ecosystem that GE Healthcare established with the HVL’s Reactor, the Edison Accelerator and Developer programme becoming the engines driving digital innovation and enabling great solutions for precision health.”
HVL Reactor’s Demo Day did not feature the standard pitching sessions from each start-up team, but instead concentrated on thought provoking success stories from selected alumni, as well as from this year’s cohort team, in the form of in-depth panel discussions curated by business coach and mentor David Trayford.
Additionally, it brought networking to the next level with dedicated one-to-one sessions in a “speed dating” format with a seven-minute rotation of each start-up and a pool of investors, decision-makers and industry leaders.
Getting fundraising right
These sessions were a valuable instrument in providing support on testing and validation of new ideas, giving insight into the medtech field, solving pain points teams couldn’t seem to move past and discussing potential collaborations.
“Fundraising from the right actors at the right time is one of the key challenges entrepreneurs and young companies face,” says Isaac Middlemann, VCoE programme director, EIT Health.
“There is huge interest in Europe and amongst the EIT Health-EIF Venture Centre of Excellence (VCoE) investor members in European start-ups, who would like to continue to grow in Europe and for whom our programme can help to connect them with the right partners. This, in turn, helps ensure that European Life Science innovation is successfully translated from earlier-stage companies to later-stage ones; and ultimately to citizens, patients, and European markets.”
Of this year’s cohort, three teams were highlighted for their unique solutions and potential to attract business customers.
AI Minded from Romania accelerates cancer treatment by using artificial intelligence in radiotherapy hospitals by reducing analysis time by more than 95 per cent, while Acorai from Sweden produces a medical device for non-invasive monitoring of intracardiac pressure aiming to reduce re-hospitalisations and mortality rates due to heart failure.
The winner however was AIGEA Medical from Italy, which focuses on an AI application in radiology workflows and digital imaging with DeepMammo for the early detection of breast cancer.
A diverse and innovative sector
The event was a vivid indication that the medical industry continues to be one of the most diverse and innovative sectors. This can be seen in the large number of patents filed by medical companies and trade flow data as well as employment statistics.
Digital health oriented transformation of medtech is not aimed to replace doctors and medical staff with robots but to use tech advances to enhance their productiveness, streamline processes and improve the quality of services, in order to deliver better outcomes for patients, and potentially reducing overall costs.
Therefore, the further development of digital health solutions is inextricably linked with medtech
HVL believes that Europe has high potential to become the most desirable region in the world to launch new medtech products, with the Reactor programme playing a crucial part in driving forward key healthcare start-ups and thus the industry.
This content has been produced in collaboration with an Emerging Europe partner organisation.