Introduction to Mindable Health, Nagi Bioscience, Refit Systems and Vicron, finalists of the second round of Headstart Awards

Mindable Health, Nagi Bioscience, Refit Systems and Vicron are the last four finalists for the EIT Health Germany Headstart Awards. Let’s check out their ideas.


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Product/service idea in 50 words or less.
Mindable is a therapeutic app that helps people face their fears and so overcome anxiety. Patients currently face 5 months of waiting time to start psychotherapeutic treatment. With Mindable, patients can begin their treatment immediately.

Origins of the idea:
As Psychologist and Designer Linda always had one goal in mind: leveraging technology to bring psychotherapy closer to the people in need. After watching the movie “Her” Linda got the idea for a voice companion that could help during therapy – just like Samantha helped Joaquin Phoenix through his loneliness. This idea slumbered in her head for a while, until she found the missing piece: her co-founder Eddie, a mobile developer who was just as passionate about psychotherapy and design as she was. It soon became clear that they were the perfect co-founding team.

Key differentiating features of the product:
Currently, there are a handful of apps for anxiety disorders that are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, these solutions fail to provide the necessary guidance and support needed for psychotherapeutic treatment. This is why we designed Nya, an empathic companion, who guides users through the treatment and makes sure they feel emotionally supported.

Reasons for applying at Headstart:
Participating in the Headstart Funding program would enable us to reach the next technology readiness level, certify as a medical device under MDR, and conduct a clinical trial.

What’s next?
Next, we will conduct a clinical study, and get certified as a medical device under MDR. Then we plan to get into the DVG Fast Track to get reimbursed by insurance companies. After launching the app for waitlist patients we plan to adapt the concept so that it can also be used as a homework tool for therapists. Through pilot projects with psychotherapist, we will further iterate on our voice-companion.


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Product/service idea in 50 words or less: The first worm-on-chip technology for drug/chemical screening.

Origins of the idea.
Nagi Bioscience originates from a 5-year long scientific collaboration between the two company founders, Matteo and Laurent, and from a real need in EPFL life-science laboratories: automate C. elegans research and testing. Although the micro-worm C. elegans is one of the most used model organisms in biology, in fact, C. elegans studies are still strongly limited today by the use of old manual research protocols. Nagi Bioscience was born to create a paradigm-shift: fully automated culture, treatment and high-content analysis of C. elegans in a single device, aiming to open new avenues for replacing animal testing in biomedical research and industrial R&D applications.

Key differentiated features of product/service.
Drug/chemical screening still strongly relies on in vivo animal testing, e.g. on mice (100+ million animals/year worldwide), which is increasingly resource-consuming and subjected to growing ethical and legal concerns. However, alternative in vitro cellular models allowing studies at the whole-organism level do not exist yet. Our solution is the “worm-on-chip” technology, first all-in-one device for fully automated high-content screening of drugs/cosmetics/chemicals on micro-worms (the validated biological model Caenorhabditis elegans), within disposable microfluidic chips. Finally we allow “in vivo testing at the in vitro scale”.

Reasons for applying to Headstart.
Or pilot prototype is now fully operational and the validation of relevant bioassays on it, in collaboration with potential customers, is a key priority towards the commercialization of the technology itself. As such, the EIT Health Headstart Funding Programme would have a tremendous impact in helping us to reach the market. In fact, not only the EIT Health funding would support the core of our bioassay development process, but also the program would expose us to its broad network of top players in the pharmaceutical field, which is exactly our target for pilots/co-development programs and our largest future marketplace.

Future plans and ambitions. What’s next?
Nagi Bioscience’s vision is to unleash the whole potential of “small model organisms” in drug/chemical testing and pharma research. Starting from our first worm-on-chip device, in fact, we aim to expand our product portfolio and target multiple applications in predictive toxicology and drug discovery, with a focus on age-related (e.g. neurodegenerative) diseases. The startup aims then at acquisition by a larger group, to make the technology largely and globally accessible. We strongly believe that this will not only help to push medical science forward, but also promote new sustainable ways of testing chemicals and doing drug discovery.


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Product/service idea in 50 words or less
reFit Systems developed reFit Gamo – the first digital therapy system for individual rehabilitation. Our system combines motion-controlled video games with software technology that enables digital therapy monitoring, biofeedback, and automated medical analysis, and creates this way a completely new approach for inpatient, outpatient and home therapy.

Origins of the idea.
The idea of creating a digital rehabilitation platform arose when Dr. Alejandro Mendoza worked as a research fellow at the German Heart Center and the Department of “Robotics and Embedded Systems” at the Faculty of Computer Science at the TUM. During that time, he was developing an interactive rehabilitation system for children with heart diseases and supervised Valentin Koller’s master thesis on computer-assisted biofeedback system for individual rehabilitation. Both, witnessing current challenges of therapy processes, and recognizing the potential of gamification in the rehabilitation, decided to work together on an innovative solution that would keep up patients’ motivation for regular exercising and would provide therapists with digital tools for more effective and efficient rehabilitation.

Key differentiated features of product/service.
reFit Gamo is the first digital therapy system developed for pediatric rehabilitation. It enables a constant monitoring of therapy progress, biofeedback and advanced medical analysis. It integrates several modules, such as balance and coordination, hand therapy, which together create a new approach for clinics and patients. By providing challenging game scenarios, our platform increases patients’ motivation for further exercising and engagement in own treatment process. This in turn, improves patients’ therapy adherence and leads to much better therapy outcomes. At the same time, reFit Gamo allows therapists to optimize therapy workflows and patients’ supervision, and to monitor therapy progress in real-time – anytime and anywhere.

Reasons for applying to Headstart Awards.
Participation in the programme will allow us to further develop our therapy platform. Thanks to the support of EIT Health, we will be able to develop our platform more efficiently and create additional features supporting therapists and patients in achieving optimal therapy results. Participation in the programme will allow us to gain access to a wide EIT Health newtork and key partners for us, such as clinics, insurance companies and investors. Cooperation with leading European clinics would support us in improving our product and in creating an optimal user experience; with insurance companies we would like to work on a sustainable reimbursement model. Also, this programme would give us a unique opportunity for product promotion across different European countries.

Future plans and ambitions. What’s next?
We want to shape the future of healthcare by digitizing therapy processes and bringing rehabilitation to the next level. We want patients to enjoy the exercising, and doctors and therapists to have more time to focus on treating patients and their problems. Our next step is to finish product validation with our partners in the DACH-region. We are currently preparing our product launch of “Gamo Pro” for clinics and physio-pediatric centers in Germany. Next, we will continue the development of the “Gamo Home” to offer our solution for individual patients and also launch our product line in Austria and Switzerland. In the upcoming weeks, you can watch our product demo during the DIA Munich – the Insurtech Festival in Munich.


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Product/service idea in 50 words or less.
Vicron develops the decision support system Pandar to reduce complications during surgery, such as bleeding and stroke in patients taking Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOACs). Pandar is based on a comparison of current with past, similar patients and their treatment results (Big Data Approach).

Origins of the idea.
Doctors use Pandar to identify the optimal treatment for patients as compared to similar patients and their treatment outcomes (cluster analysis).The objective is to reduce complications during surgery for patients on DOACs. Existing medical guidelines are incomplete and often cannot provide treatment recommendations. The timing of DOACs is critical to avoid complications, i.e. longer hospital stays and serious health damage: When the medication is stopped too early vs. too late and re-started too late vs. too early, patients may suffer from a stroke vs. severe bleeding.)

Key differentiated features of product/service.
Vicron seamlessly integrates into hospital information systems (HIS). Pandar therefore seamlessly indicates to doctors the risk of treatment strategies for individual patients on DOACs around surgery. Further, Pandar will automatically document treatment decisions to release resources for doctors. To achieve automation, vicron follows the strategy to integrate with specialised IT providers running interfaces into HIS. These cooperations will accelerate the collection of patient data to find new correlations and patentable algorithms.)

Reasons for applying to Headstart.
After the development of a prototype, vicron intends to start the clinical validation to develop a medical device. The EIT Health funding will be used to partly finance this study. Support from the EIT Health Network will accelerate a novel approach followed with Health Technology Assessment bodies like the G-BA/IQWIG to obtain reimbursement. In addition, vicron will benefit from EIT Health expertise and mentors to develop and market the product as a medical device. Furthermore, vicron expects to gain higher market traction of its web-based solution through EIT Health participation.)

Future plans and ambitions. What’s next?
Vicron will gradually develop Pandar from a medical device of class IIa for DOAC patients to class III for patients treated in hospital. In the mid-term, data are examined for predictors of further postoperative complications (e.g. venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, kidney failure). In case of future complications, doctors receive warnings on their mobile devices. In the long run, vicron will send highly specific treatment recommendations on the prevention of these complications to doctors (with CE certification class III from Year 5). This may include a patient front-end to manage the medication for these treatment recommendations.