10th November 2021
EIT Health and Novartis (Novartis BIOME), have announced the launch of ‘Beyond Rheum’, an open innovation programme designed to identify, validate, and implement innovative solutions which meet with the real needs of patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). This is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints of the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing pain, considerable limitation of mobility and significant impact on quality of life.
To achieve the objective of the programme, a call has been opened from 8 to 28 November 2021, intended for European start-ups developing solutions capable of improving the monitoring of people diagnosed with axSpA in collaboration with both patients and health professionals.
After the deadline, a panel of experts will select up to eight solutions that will receive business mentoring for 11 months. Start-ups will be offered the opportunity to connect with leading European providers to develop and refine their solution and may receive financing of up to €25,000 from Novartis. Pilot projects of up to four solutions will be carried out with the collaboration of leading European healthcare providers.
Axial spondyloarthritis, much more than back pain
axSpA is a chronic rheumatic inflammatory disease which affects the axial skeleton and is characterised by inflammation of various joints. The condition causes severe pain, stiffness, and fatigue, mainly in the spine and sacroiliac joints. It is usually triggered in adults at an early age and if not treated at the right time, may lead to severe and permanent damage. It is for this reason that continuous monitoring is key to patient outcomes.
“Participating in projects of this type is essential to meeting the challenges with which we are faced in axial spondyloarthritis. Only through collaboration with all the actors in the system can we explore and develop innovative solutions that help to shorten diagnostic times, facilitate the comprehensive approach to the pathology and improve, ultimately, the lives of patients living with this disease”, said Clara Cuervo, Transformation and BIOME Manager at Novartis.
Solutions aimed at patients and clinicians, with tools that allow them to take control of the evolution of their disease, optimise monitoring and potentially collect patient information, integrating it into medical records and facilitating two-way communication with the healthcare professional, will be considered.
“Promoting a project like Beyond Rheum expresses the way we understand innovation in health: open, collaborative and focussed on the person. This is the only way that we can provide answers to real health needs,” said Cristina Bescos, Managing Director of EIT Health Spain. “Beyond our extensive experience in innovative processes, our differentiator in this type of project is the capacity to facilitate connections and knowledge of our network, as well as access to our entire European ecosystem of start-ups and innovation teams”.
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