22nd September 2023
BEAT Therapeutics, a semi-finalist of this year’s edition of the InnoStars Award by EIT Health, secured the top position in the highly competitive Bio/Pharmatech category at the Startup Olé pitching event. Startup Olé, recognised as a cornerstone of Europe’s technological landscape, took place from September 4th to 7th in Salamanca, Spain.
BEAT Therapeutics, a healthcare startup headquartered in Porto, Portugal, was co-founded by Ângela Carvalho, Hugo Prazeres, Lucília Saraiva, Maria José Umbelino and Lúcio Lara Santos. The company’s mission is to pioneer more effective therapeutic options for patients facing hard-to-treat, aggressive cancers. Their first drug candidate, a groundbreaking first-in-class therapy, holds great promise against the BRCA1/BARD1 interaction, a highly validated target in cancer treatment.
“We are honoured to be the first among so many excellent competitors who pitched their promising solutions in the Bio/Pharmatech category. Our mission is to transform cancer patients’ standard care. We’ve harnessed the potential of nature’s most potent compounds to deliver a precise, safe and resistance-defying therapeutic against cancers with high resistance to conventional treatments and low survival rates,“ said Ângela Carvalho following her winning pitch. “If you think of cancer cells as Superman, our therapy is akin to kryptonite. As a recently founded company taking our initial steps, we find it rewarding that others recognise the value in our therapeutic solution,” added co-founder Hugo Prazeres.
The 10th edition of the Startup Olé event brought together over 500 prominent speakers and more than 200 founders, highlighting its status as the largest innovation and entrepreneurship fair in Europe.
EIT Health InnoStars played a significant role in the event with a total of 18 semifinalists from the InnoStars Awards programme (including BEAT Therapeutics) and 10 teams from the RIS Innovation Call. These founders presented a diverse range of solutions in therapeutics, medical technology, digital technology, and biotechnology during the Pitch Competition and the Startup Fair.
Participation in the Startup Ole event was a crucial component of the second training phase for both programmes, offering invaluable opportunities for expert mentoring and networking within the vibrant business and investor ecosystem gathered in Salamanca. The initial round of the programme bootcamps, organised in collaboration with the InnoStars partner, Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN), was held in Portuguese Coimbra, at the end of July. These bootcamps are designed to provide the teams with the essential knowledge and tools needed for their entrepreneurial journey.
“The recognition of BEAT Therapeutic is a significant validation of the work we do at EIT Health. Southern, Central and Eastern Europe has a lot of promising innovations in various fields from therapeutics to cutting-edge biotechnology, and InnoStars accelerator programmes provide these innovators with the opportunity to transform their ideas into reality. The success of the current semi-finalist among competitors from all over Europe underscores the strength of the InnoStars Awards, which has firmly established itself as the continent’s leading accelerator programme in healthcare innovation. I am pleased that Institute Pedro Nunes can be part of this community and support young innovators by imparting the knowledge and skills necessary for them to thrive and succeed on their entrepreneurial journeys,” said Jorge Pimenta, the head of Instituto Pedro Nunes.
Following the completion of the ‘Mentoring and Boothcamping’ phase, the ten selected start-ups from the InnoStars Awards Programme and all the RIS Innovation Call teams will be invited to the final pitch at the InnoStars Grand Finals, scheduled for November 2023 in Milan. They will have a chance to win up to €25 000 and the European recognition that will help them to launch their product or service.
InnoStars Awards Programme
The EIT Health InnoStars Awards is a key acceleration programme for early-stage start-ups, primarily from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe, where the pace of innovation is more moderate.
The programme helps transform prototypes into healthcare solutions or products and bring them to the market. Over the last seven years, more than 100 start-ups have been trained, and more than half have been successful in the market.
RIS Innovation Call Programme
EIT Health RIS Innovation Call aims to fund the Proof-of-Concept phase of high-quality, strong, balanced projects, targeting EIT Health’s focus areas to be developed by local actors, including both business and academic/research/healthcare institutions.
Each partner must be established in the same country. Eligible RIS countries are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia.
The program offers access to financial support, mentoring, bootcamping, and networking opportunities. 68 teams have been supported since 2019 till this year.