Four European start-ups join Beyond Rheum

10th January 2022

Four promising European health start-ups have secured their place on Beyond Rheum, where they will work on solutions to help patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). After successful presentations to a jury panel, ABATON and Midaia from Germany, Promptly from Portugal, and Tucuvi from Spain were invited to join the programme.

Beyond Rheum is an 11-month open innovation programme led by EIT Health Spain, with the support of Novartis, through Novartis BIOME. The programme aims to identify, validate, and pilot viable innovative solutions that respond to the real needs of patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) during their care process, ready for market access and scale-up.

AxSpA is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints of the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing pain, significant limitation of mobility and a major impact on the patient’s quality of life, both physically and psychologically.[1]

Beyond Rheum challenges participants to improve the monitoring of diagnosed patients with axSpA by implementing solutions that involve healthcare professionals and patients, to ensure an adequate control and management.

Inspired by this challenge, 23 start-ups applied to join the programme. Last month, they presented to a jury panel who evaluated whether they fit the challenge criteria. To select four participants to join the programme, our panel of experts assessed the following:

  • Innovativeness of the idea
  • Team and management capability
  • Market opportunity and traction
  • Business model and development strategy
  • Project excellence and quality
  • Impact and strategic fit
  • Scalability.

Meet our four selected start-ups

ABATON (Germany)

Abaton seeks to advance the digitalisation of rheumatology care, so that doctors can offer their patients the best possible therapy. They have developed a digital health application for patients with rheumatism that digitally integrates patients and doctors into therapy: ABATON AxSpA.

Doctors and patients can collect information on the course of therapy and monitor it together. This promises to improve doctor-patient relationships, foster patient empowerment, and allow personalised therapy.

Promptly (Portugal)

Promptly is a real-world data analytics company, collecting and analysing data on the outcomes of care. They are proposing a digital therapeutic solution that helps patients to cope with axSpA and supports clinical teams to monitor patient progress at home.

The solution uses standardised data processing from patient progress questionnaires and connected devices (IoT) and is tailored to each patient’s problems. For example, exercise, sleep, nutrition, medication adherence.

The tool delivers therapeutic adherence nudges through personalised electronic cognitive behavioural therapy (eCBT) adapted to AxSpA. Plus, it enables remote communication and data sharing with doctors.

Tucuvi (Spain)

Tucuvi is a digital health startup which aims to make healthcare more accessible and efficient. Their solution is a conversational AI home care platform to monitor patients. It allows the doctor to anticipate decisions by monitoring patients with a voice-based virtual nurse and aims to accelerate hospital discharge.

The technology offers a virtual caregiver interface, based on voice technology and natural language processing (NLP), and a clinical dashboard for healthcare professionals with personalised and structured patient information.

For axSpA patients, the platform can support in monitoring symptoms like inflammation or pain, promoting healthy habits, or identifying a need for the intervention of specific professionals, for example, psychiatric.

Midaia (Germany)

Midaia develops a digital disease management tool for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases, to personalise non-drug therapies and improve the collaboration between patients and doctors.

They recommend personalised treatment plans to improve outcomes and teach patients about the factors that influence their well-being and disease, while allowing physicians to track and reach patients.

What happens next?

Our four selected start-ups will now enter the ‘deep dive’ stage of the programme. They will complete their teams and, with support of business and domain mentors, fine-tune their proposal. This will prepare them to pitch at the Jury Day in February and secure their place in the next stage of the programme.

Those that get through to the next stage will then focus on ideas validation. Shortlisted teams begin a 6-week training led by industry, technical, market, legal, funding, and regulatory experts. They will work towards the implementation, piloting, and scalability of solutions in a real-world scenario. Participants will present their final solution to be piloted within a Demo Day in March 2022.

We are excited to see how our selected teams progress and are hopeful about their potential to make a significant, positive impact on the lives of those living with axSpA. Learn more about Beyond Rheum.

  1. Strand, V. and Singh, J., 2022. Patient Burden of Axial Spondyloarthritis.

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