Ireland-UK, Innovation, 2018

Wild Card: 12 finalists to pitch healthcare innovations after wild week in Galway

16th July 2019

AT THE EDGE tournament identifies transformative ideas for EIT Health support

Thirty contestants from Europe and beyond – including medical professionals, entrepreneurs, technologists and data experts – competed for EIT Health support in tackling some of Europe’s biggest healthcare challenges in the first Wild Card: AT THE EDGE tournament, held 16-20 April 2018 in Galway, Ireland. In the end, 12 competitors working in four different teams were chosen to receive more than two months of training before entering a final pitch contest.

Set for July, that contest will determine who will be supported through the EIT Health Wild Card programme to encourage transformative healthcare innovation.

The Wild Card: AT THE EDGE tournament was co-hosted by EIT Health partners BioExel and BioInnovate.

“Hosting the Wild Card tournament, with our EIT Health partners, was a unique opportunity to co-create the next generation of healthcare innovators. It was a privilege for Galway to be involved as an internationally-recognised Medtech hub, in which the city’s University, NUI Galway, plays a significant role” said Dr. Sandra Ganly, Medtech Lead BioExel & Co-founder BioInnovate.

During the tournament, participants were also given the chance to work on developing their ideas with top domain experts in AI/Big Data and Antibiotic Resistance from across Europe, and with excellent business mentors from i360medical, who helped our challengers shape their business models for their proposed solutions.

“Our intensive week-long programme presented some real challenges for our participants and experts”, said Jorge Fernandez Garcia, EIT Health Director of Innovation. “But this was always the objective of Wild Card: AT THE EDGE. Everyone involved found the week was equally a rewarding learning experience, both professionally and personally.”

Finalists and next steps

The week closed with teams pitching their projects to the Judging Panel on Friday 20 April 2018. As a result, the EIT Health Selection Committee invited four teams working in two challenge areas to progress to the third and final phase of the Wild Card initiative:

In the Smart Health challenge:

1. Dr. Hans Maria Heyn, Dr. Malte Dancker, Dr. Yannick Timo Boege
2. Vanessa Gurie, Dr. Jorge Da Silva, Walter Schmid
3. Gabriel De Maeztu, Javier de Oca, Ray G. Butler

The Fight Back challenge:

4. Dr. Cristina Correia, Helder Soares, Umar Naeem Ahmad

These remaining teams will now embark on a nine-week Business Model Validation programme, to test their hypotheses, validate and develop value propositions and identify appropriate business models. Teams will receive mentoring and coaching from experienced commercialisation experts and investors, as well as regular feedback on their progress. The programme will challenge the teams to better understand their stakeholders’ needs, the problems to be solved and buying dynamics.

By the end of this phase, in July 2018, our teams will pitch their refined ideas to the EIT Health Selection Committee for Wild Card funding and support.

About the Wild Card Projects

Wild Card Projects identify and support truly ground-breaking ideas and projects, focusing on applied research, entrepreneurial ideas and innovative thinking to address healthcare challenges and improve health outcomes for Europe’s citizens.

The challenges are based on proposals from all EIT Health Partners, who were solicited for their ideas. This process was conducted in 2017 to develop the challenges that are expected shape the Wild Card Projects proposals in 2018:

Smart Health: Personalised patient data can revolutionise diagnosis and treatment – but the real problem is capturing, storing and making sense of it. The Smart Health challenge sets entrepreneurs the task of building new solutions that use Artificial Intelligence to quickly interpret large, unstructured data sets within existing regulatory frame works, allowing healthcare professionals across the EU to improve patient care.

Fight Back: Left unchecked, antibiotic resistance could become Europe’s biggest health crisis. Simple hospital procedures will carry risk again, while old, dangerous diseases could become widespread. The Fight Back challenge tasks entrepreneurs with building innovative solutions to take on antibiotic resistance. The most effective solution must raise awareness of the problem, while also enabling new processes and methodologies to manage it across the EU healthcare landscape.

Find out more about the Wild Card Projects here.

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