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Cast off for innovation and new impulses in healthcare

The startups Scinthealth, AUCTEQ, EarlySight, Eisbach Bio, MR Shim and RAMPmedical are the winners of the EIT Health Headstart Award 2019.

Heidelberg, 27.6.2019. Six times yesterday at this year’s EIT Health SHIP – Ship for Health Innovation Pitches in Heidelberg, the jury presented the ‘Headstart Award’ and prize money of €50,000 each to selected healthcare start-ups from the DACH region.

Around 30 healthcare startups presented their healthcare innovations to a selected jury of experts (Simon Beuerle – AOK Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Dr. Jürgen H. H. H., AOK Baden-Württemberg, Dr. H. H. H. H.) on board the ‘Queen Silvia’ during a leisurely ship tour on the Neckar at hot temperatures. Nana Bit-Avragim – Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Dr. Birgit Kerber – European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL, Prof. Dr. Freimut Schliess – Profil GmbH, Maria Sievert – Founder and Managing Director inveox, Jürgen Simon – Siemens Healthineers Technology Accelerator, Rajnesh Airey – Convergence Partners AG). The start-ups each had three minutes to convince the jury of their idea. The consistently crisp presentations focused not only on the innovative power of the business idea but also on its user-friendliness and monetization strategy in terms of rapid market implementation.

The winner teams of the SHIP event 2019.

The grants went to:

ScintHealth develops the first minimally invasive software-based curative therapy for spinal cancer.  By using a novel liquid radioactive polymer that solidifies immediately upon injection, ScintHealth’s AcryRad product can be used for metastases and primary tumors in the spine. Since the radioactivity remains at the injection site, high local radiation doses can be emitted while side effects are greatly reduced.  In addition, ScintHealth therapy can be performed in a single session (compared to up to 40 sessions in the current setup) at a lower cost.

AUCTEQ Biosystems is developing an expandable disposable bioreactor to increase the efficiency of biopharmaceutical production processes by reducing contamination risks, labor capacity and disposal costs. In biopharmaceutical processes, drug manufacturing cells are cultured in bioreactors of up to 10,000 liters. In order to start such a bioreactor, a certain volume of cell culture is required. The manual transfer steps required for this involve a high risk of contamination, require high work capacities and produce a lot of plastic waste. The Aucteq bioreactors reduce all manual transfer steps to a single step. Overall, at least 30% of current process costs can be saved. lower costs can be achieved.

We are very happy about the award and especially about what is waiting for us now. We founded last year and especially for start-ups in the early stage a strong network that connects to the right people is very important. Of course the €50,000 is a great financial injection for us, but the network that EIT Health offers us is priceless”.

Dr. Sahar Nassirpour, CEO & Co-Founder, MR Shim

The diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is usually made too late if the patient already has irreversible vision loss. The standard of care in ophthalmologic imaging used to diagnose AMD is very efficient in visualizing the extensive shape and deformation of retinal layers, but it is unable to generate good images at the cellular level. Currently, large macroscopic defects are diagnosed, which usually only become visible in the advanced and late stages of the disease. Earlysight makes it possible to monitor the retina at the cellular level. During annual routine examinations, for example, the first signs of retinal disease may be visible through early microscopic changes in the cell structure in order to prevent permanent damage to vision.

“We really didn’t expect a placement, especially because the competition was very strong. EIT Health has already made a strict pre-selection. What impressed me, however, was that all participating start-ups supported each other in the pitch training of EIT Health, which we had the days before the SHIP event, and gave each other tips. EIT Health really has a great concept.”

Valentin Kramer, CEO, AUCTEQ

Eisbach Bio is an innovative biotechnology startup that was founded in 2019 as a spin-out of the Biomedical Centre Munich. Eisbach Bio develops novel drugs targeting the molecular vulnerabilities of cancer. Some of the most devastating tumors develop tumor suppressor genes. These tumors are difficult to detect because their genome is constantly evolving. Eisbach Bio is able to attack these tumours directly and, on the basis of a unique screening and cell platform, is developing drugs that correct these disturbing changes in the tumour in a very specific way that protects non-cancer cells.

MR Shim is an MR technology and consulting company founded in 2018 that offers solutions for artifact-free MRT and improved diagnostic quality, paving the way for new MR opportunities. The main product is a plug-and-play add-on device that can be applied to any MRI device. This integrated solution improves MRI image quality by real-time control of the magnetic field. So far, 20% of all MRI examinations have to be repeated. In addition, poor-quality MRI images lead to misdiagnosis and repeated treatments that are costly and life-threatening. This additional solution stabilizes the magnetic field in real time and ensures maximum homogeneity for artifact-free images.

RAMPmedical is a therapy decision support tool that helps physicians find the right treatment for the patient and stay up to date with the latest research and drug information. This software brings transparency to treatment decisions and can fully evaluate the possible options to select the best available therapy based on the patient’s diagnosis and vital parameters. Rampmedical analyzes current treatment guidelines and medical research and presents the results in an accessible format so physicians can understand the information and avoid mistakes.

Good news to all German, Austrian and Swiss healthcare startups who could not participate yesterday: The EIT Health Headstart Awards will enter their second round this year: On the occasion of the Frontiers Health Conference from 13 to 15 November in Berlin, EIT Health Germany will present further Headstart Awards, for which young entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector can now apply with their innovative ideas. Bewerbungsschluss ist der 12. September 2019. More information on the programme can be found here.