Innovation onboard: Six Headstart Awardees Selected on this year’s SHIP – Ship for Health Innovation Pitches 2019

On Wednesday 26th June 2019, 100+ people boarded the “Königin Silvia” for EIT Health’s annual SHIP – Ship for Health Innovation Pitches.

This annual event is a great opportunity for aspiring healthcare entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative MedTech, BioTech and Digital Health solutions to the EIT Health partnership and many regional stakeholders from Baden-Wuerttemberg – and if they deliver a convincing pitch disembark with prizes worth up to €50,000.00 each (Headstart Awards) and/or a nomination to represent the German Co-Location Centre of EIT Health at the European Semi-Finals in case of the European Healthcatapult Regional Winners.

This year, EIT Health had invited 22 companies to pitch in front of the audience comprising EIT Health Germany partners and friends, and – not to forget – an expert jury. The audience enjoyed the high-quality presentations by all the teams and the many networking opportunities throughout the day whilst cruising along the beautiful Neckar valley. At the award ceremony Dr. Katharina Ladewig, Managing Director EIT Health Germany, and Dr. Volker Lodwig, Chair of the Supervisory Board EIT Health Germany provided a Headstart Award to the following winning companies : AcryRad (ScintHealth), AUCTEQ, Earlysight, Eisbach Bio, MR Shim and RAMPmedical.

One of the aims of EIT Health is to support regional outstanding companies and enable them to develop their innovation and their business model further. For this purpose, EIT Health provides cash awards of up to €50,000.00 for each winner as well as access to its vast pan-European network of industrial, research and higher education partners. By connecting fresh ideas with expertise from within the network, all participants benefit from this opportunity.

„We are very happy and thankful for receiving the award today. We are excited for the future and what is expecting us. We founded MR Shim last year and especially for start-ups in their early stage, a strong network that opens up doors is super important. Of course the price money is a great financial support, but even more we appreciate the network of EIT health, which is absolutely priceless.“

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

The pitching start-ups had three minutes each to convince the audience and the jury of their idea followed by a Q&A session whereby the nominees where questioned on the innovativeness of their concept, their USPs and their business model. Patient-/User-centricity and access to markets/target groups also featured prominently amongst the questions of the jurors.

„While I participated as an applicant with my company in the Headstart funding programme last year, I was now part of the expert jury of this year’s SHIP event. This change of perspectives makes the program even more exciting and also is a significant example of how EIT Health cooperates with companies within their network.“

Maria Sievert, inveox

The expert jury: Simon Beuerle (AOK Baden-Württemberg), Prof. Dr. Freimut Schliess (Profil GmbH), Maria Sievert (inveox), Dr. Birgit Kerber (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL),
Dr. Nana Bit-Avragim (Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane), Rajnesh Airey (Convergence Partners AG), Jürgen Simon (Siemens Healthineers Technology Accelerator)

„I strongly believe we do need more collaborative open innovation models in healthcare – instead of working in silos. Here is the question: how to catalyze transformative innovations towards building a resilient, functional and user-oriented ecosystem? This kind of ecosystems would require a close collaboration among different players to address and cultivate various interests. Participating at the SHIP event, I have had a wonderful chance to experience a unique and multi-disciplinary ecosystem of 16 startups, academic and corporate partners built by EIT Health Germany. To me, it demonstrates a true example of transformative innovation best practices.“

Nana Bit-Avragim, Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane

EIT Health will continue to provide all finalists (not just the winners!) with ongoing support in bringing their innovation to the market through access to the network, local training opportunities and mentoring & coaching as well as access to its Living Labs and Testbeds platform for further validation efforts. Because once a start-up is part of the network it is part of the EIT Health family!

Headstart Award, Round two: Apply now until 12 September 2019!

For all German, Austrian and Swiss start-ups who couldn’t be part of the Ship event this time: Don’t despair! There is another opportunity for you to enter the programme in 2019 and take home one of the Headstart Awards. On the occasion of the Frontiers Health Conference from 13-15 November 2019 in Berlin, EIT Health will once again invite promising business ideas from the D.A.CH. region to pitch and compete for one of the Headstart Awards. Applications are open now, and you can find more information about the funding programme (incl. how to apply) here.

Detailed profiles of all SHIP 2019 winners:

AcryRad (ScintHealth)
ScintHealth develops the first minimally invasive software-based curative therapy for spinal cancer. By using a novel fluid radioactive polymer, which solidifies promptly when injected, ScintHealth’s product AcryRad 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 delivered while side-effects are strongly reduced. Moreover, ScintHealth’s therapy can be performed in a single-session (vs. up to 40 sessions in the current setup) and at a lower cost. Additionally, reduction of patient scheduling issues and radioactive transport cost are achieved through on-demand, in-hospital preparation.

AUCTEQ Biosystems develops an expandable single-use bioreactor to increase the efficiency of biopharmaceutical production processes by reducing contamination risks, working capacity and disposal costs. In biopharmaceutical processes, drug-producing cells are cultured in up to 10 000 liter-sized bioreactors. To start such a bioreactor, a specific volume of cell culture is required. In order to gain this required volume, cells are transferred from milliliter sized bioreactors stepwise to bigger bioreactors. Until a volume of 20 liters is reached, the cell has to be transferred up to eight times. These manual transfer steps induce a high contamination risk, require high working capacities and produce a lot of plastic waste. Using AUCTEQ bioreactors, all manual transfer steps are reduced to one single step. In total at least 30% of the current process costs can be saved.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the largest causes of blindness in industrialised countries. The diagnosis of AMD is usually made too late, when the patient already has some irreversible vision loss. The standard of care in ophthalmic imaging that is used to diagnose AMD is called optical coherence tomography (OCT). This technique is very efficient in showing large scale shape and deformation of the retina layers, but it is unable to obtain good images at the cellular level. Current diagnosis is thus made on large macroscopic defects that usually become visible only at an advanced and late stage of the diseases. Earlysight enables the monitoring of cellular-level details of the retina. We expect that by making yearly-routine examinations after a certain age, early signs of the retinal diseases will be detectable based on early microscopic alteration of the cellular structure and before permanent damage to the eyesight.

Eisbach Bio
Eisbach Bio is an innovative biotechnology start-up founded in 2019 as a spin-out of the Biomedical Center Munich. Eisbach Bio develops novel drugs that target the molecular vulnerabilities that arise in cancer. Some of the most devastating tumors develop so-called tumor suppressor genes. These tumors are incredibly difficult to target, since their genomes constantly evolve. Eisbach Bio can target these tumors head-on. Based on a unique screening and cellular platform, Eisbach Bio develops drugs that correct these disruptive changes within the tumor and can do so in an extremely specific manner that spares non-cancer cells.

MR Shim
MR Shim GmbH is an MRI technology and consulting company founded in 2018. MR Shim provides solutions for artifact-free MRI and improved diagnostic quality while paving the way for new MR possibilities. The main product is a plug-n-play add-on device that can be applied to any MRI device. This integrated solution improves the MRI image quality through real-time control of the magnetic field. MRI devices require a stable magnetic field to acquire clear images. Currently, 20% of all MR examinations have to be repeated. This incurs great costs for hospitals. In addition, poor quality MRI images lead to misdiagnosis and repeated treatments, which are costly and life-threatening. This add-on solution will stabilise the magnetic field in real-time, ensuring ultimate homogeneity for artifact-free images.

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