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Spain, Accelerator, 2019

EIT Health Spain awards Headstart support to 15 start-ups

18th July 2019

Biotech, medtech and digital health innovations backed with funding, expert advice and a powerful network

The awarded start-ups, working in the areas of biotech, medtech and digital health, are developing:

  • new tools to diagnose diseases such as skin cancer, sepsis or musculoskeletal disorders;
  • devices and therapies to treat vascular and respiratory diseases, ageing related diseases or diabetes;
  • and digital solutions to improve the quality of life of citizens and patients.

Spanish start-ups awarded 2019 EIT Health Headstart support are based in Andalusia, the Basque Country, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia.

“We are delighted to support these early stage companies in their journey to develop global health solutions,” said Irene Sánchez, Business Creation Manager at EIT Health Spain. “The high quality of the applications received this year clearly shows that innovative and entrepreneurship culture are firmly rooted and speeding up in Spain.”

The EIT Health Headstart Programme provides funding of up to €50 000 to support early stage companies and SMEs in developing new products and services. Selected companies will work on their product launch project with support from the regional managers to access local and EIT Health networks. The programme seeks to help entrepreneurs shorten time-to-market for innovative products and services; to verify the need and/or benefit of the solution for users, customers, payers, and partners; and to increase the possibility of attracting further investment.

Since 2016, EIT Health supported more than 100 Spanish start-ups through a variety of acceleration programmes designed to support healthcare entrepreneurs at every stage of their business journey. Only in 2019, EIT Health will contribute more than €1 million to the Spanish health entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The winners

The 15 awarded Spanish start-ups in the EIT Health Headstart Funding Programme in 2019 are:

Biotech category

Moirai Biodesign is a biotech start-up that develops Kloto-DX, a near-patient, end-to-end, low-cost and fast molecular diagnostics platform. This next generation diagnostic tool is built upon their Plug and Play RNA technology, a family of programmable biosensors capable of detecting low concentrations of different biomarkers from a patient’s blood sample. The first kit they are developing for the Kloto-DX diagnostics platform is focused at the determination of the aetiology of sepsis. The kit will allow identification of the most important sepsis-causing pathogens and their associated antibiotic resistances, at the point of care and directly from the patient’s blood, in just three hours.

Senolytic Therapeutics develops novel classes of medicines that target and eliminate damaged (senescent) cells. Their mission is to advance a portfolio of therapies to clinical trials and improve the lives of those affected by diseases associated with ageing. They have developed a unique technological portfolio that is based on drug therapies that eliminate senescent in age-related diseases. The development of therapies to specifically inhibit PD-L2 in damaged cells results in the improvement in the outcomes of diseases associated with these types of cells.

Medtech category

3D Surgical Technologies is a spin-off of the Miguel Hernandez University of Elche (Spain), founded in 2019 to bring to the market the result of a R&D project promoted by gynaecologists and mechanical engineers: the PACIENA prosthesis. This is a surgical device that optimises the results of neo-vagina surgery, indicated in cases of vaginal agenesis, atresia and gender reassignment, in more than 180 000 patients/year. It is anatomic, light and customisable. It overcomes the need of skin grafts, shortens the surgery, hospitalisation and recovery times, and avoids most of complications. PACIENA would improve quality of life and integration of patients, and it would lead to important savings for the health system.

Aortyx is a pioneer company founded by researchers from the IQS School of Engineering and the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona that aims at providing a new generation of endovascular devices to treat vascular diseases. Their technology focuses on tissue regeneration by mimicking the aorta biomechanical environment. It provides a suitable milieu for cell migration and proliferation in a bioresorbable platform that minimises differences with the natural dynamics of the aorta. Aortyx, aims at delivering the ultimate solution for aortic diseases, tackling clear unmet needs and generating a positive impact on society with the most advanced available technology.

Funny Friends is a respiratory exerciser to be used before or after any thoracic surgery and for the rehabilitation of specific diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis, COPD, and chronical asthma. Their innovation revolutionises the way patients do respiratory rehabilitation: by playing and interacting with different software games, i.e. the games react according to the intensity of air that the patient blows or inhales while using our respiratory exerciser.

Icaria offers patented technology, developed at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, to allow the measurement of novel cardiovascular information from which blood pressure is calculated using artificial intelligence. The non-invasive solution is vital: Some 650 million unstable patients in the world are at risk of suffering blood pressure variations that can cause organ injury and even death, so they need continuous blood pressure monitoring. The only continuous method that currently exists is an arterial line catheter, but this invasive method is harmful to about half of all patients. Using artificial intelligence, the Icaria innovation enables the first reliable continuous non-invasive blood pressure monitor.

NebulOk is a new concept of nebulizer with an innovative system of pre-loaded, single-dose and disposable capsules with a built-in vibrating mesh that solves all the problems and drawbacks associated with current nebulizers. The Lainomedical patented device avoids medication errors, does not require cleaning or disinfection and in just one simple step, the nebulizer is ready for use. The future of nebulization depends on capsules and NebulOk will be responsible for this change of mindset.

NuMat Medtech is a company involved in the development of innovative biomaterials for bone-anchored devices, like dental implants, orthopaedic prosthesis, scaffolds and bone-filling devices for reconstruction and regeneration in bone. NuMat Medtech has IP rights on four bioactive coatings based on natural molecules, targeting both dental and orthopaedic implant markets. NuMat’s coatings, which are currently in preclinical development, provide advantages over the solutions currently available in the market, including: anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and enhancement of both hard and soft tissue integration around the implant – which decreases risk of infections and increases the implant’s lifetime.

Digital Health category

ColorSensing have developed an automated colour correction method for any kind of camera, even smartphone cameras, to allow for improved skin cancer diagnosis. Every year between 2-3 million skin cancers are diagnosed, and primary care physicians only detect 59% of the melanoma cases, while dermatologists detect up to 95%. The right use of telemedicine could empower primary care physicians, increasing the survival rate and decreasing the waiting lists and the cost for dermatology, but the pictures taken with any device for that purpose suffer color distortion that makes them highly unreliable. Thanks to QR patterns full of color references and our proprietary and patented image processing algorithms, this solution can correct uncontrolled distortion in skin images, recovering the real colours.

InCity Together is a healthy living app to help users increase their physical activity via gamification techniques while at the same time providing them access to personalised diets and professional nutrition advisors. The uniqueness of InCity lies in the combination of physical activity with personalised nutrition diets and food communities, and leveraging of urban activities. The software developments of InCity Together are full property of EUROB and have been fully designed, developed and implemented in-house as well as a preliminary version made available in the market.

mDurance improves the results of the electromyographic (EMG) technique. EMG is a basic tool in the assessment and evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders, but it has two main problems that limit its use: difficulty analysing the electrical signal and time required for analysis. mDurance is a very intuitive digital tool designed for a wide market, from the most expert specialist to a general physiotherapist or a high-performance sport centre. The product provides reliable conclusions within only five minutes. It detects the root cause of a patient’s problem and targets the most effective treatment providing the highest impact therapy and shortening the recovery period. Current customers include FC Barcelona, Real Betis Balonpié and Newcastle United.

MindCare is an intelligent eHealth solution developed by the spin-off company Evidence-Based Behavior that consist of: 1) a smartphone app that gathers data on mobility, physical and social activity, sleep and emotions of the patient; and, 2) a server that analyzes the patient behaviour pattern – using the company’s own validated, personalised artificial intelligence models – and provides medical reports, app reports, notifications and event alerts for doctors, caregivers and patients. MindCare facilitates diagnostics and improves the quality of care, to accelerate recovery, reduce treatment costs and reduce hospitalisation time.

Smiletronix completes a dental health scan anytime, anywhere in under a minute with their personal handheld device and app. Dental caries is the number one untreated disease globally with the global economic burden of all dental diseases estimated at nearly €400 billion annually. This puts a huge burden on the payers, whether national healthcare, private insurance or the patient. Smiletronix is changing the way dental care is managed by bringing dental diagnosis to the home, using our patent pending intraoral imaging device and an artificial-intelligence-powered diagnostics solution for early detection and preventative action in dental care. By moving to preventative medicine instead of curative, we can achieve significant cost savings for payers and improve patients health.

Social Diabetes revolutionises how healthcare providers and payers optimise diabetes care management. Their innovative medical diabetes platform for clinicians, and diabetes patient app for patient self-management, combines smart technology with clinical proof to create access and an optimised patient outcome. SocialDiabetes is a CE Class IIb, ISO13485 and 510K certified digital therapeutic. The solution is universal (integrating with all device providers), collaborative (involving family, friends and community), data driven (offering personalised predictive insight) and provides solutions for gestational, type 1 and 2 diabetes patients.

WtsWrng? makes essential primary health care accessible to everyone, regardless of their country, language, socioeconomic or cultural background. It uses universal language (graphics and images) offering the end-users a 24/7, year-round, universal healthcare counselling on most common health concerns, helping them determine whether or not to visit a doctor. The solution is supported by professional, evidence-based triage algorithms and artificial intelligence. IP has been secured and the brand protected.

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