Startups Meet Pharma 2021

Startups Meet Pharma 2021

Startups Meet Pharma brings together in one frame (i) big pharma companies posing specific problems in their area of interest and (ii) start-ups developing innovative technologies and services representing potential solutions for the selected challenges.

In 2021 we have partnered with five pharma companies, Takeda, Merck, Amgen, AstraZeneca, and Abbott, and we now invite start-ups to jointly address the challenges they face with operational products and services.

If you are developing innovative technologies and services representing potential solutions for the selected challenges for 2021, submit your application now!

Programme structure

  • Module 1 (17-21/05/2021, Online/Heidelberg): 5 days “Entrepreneurship training”. Startups will receive tailored workshops on different tools and methods to successfully build their business.
  • Module 2 (07-11/06/2021, Online/Heidelberg): 5 days workshops by pharma partners involved in the programme on how to collaborate with big players in the market.
  • Module 3 (2-23/07/2021, Online/pharma companies´premises): Startups will visit selected pharma companies involved in the programme to discuss collaboration opportunities.
  • Module 4 (November 2021): Demo Day. Startups pitch in front of pharma company representatives, investors, EIT Health partners, stakeholders.


What will you get?

  • You will collaborate with top experts in your field and obtain development support from a major pharmaceutical company.
  • You will receive a tailored training programme designed to help your start-up achieve success.
  • You will gain one-on-one access to your pharma sponsors, allowing you to develop relationships with key stakeholders and industry leaders.

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Challenge #1

Healthcare personnel perceive diagnosing adult ADHD as a complex and time-consuming task. Digital solutions can offer help for clinical decision making, support for diagnosis, personalised treatment, and treatment response monitoring. Solutions for this challenge may include but are not limited to: gamification, AR/VR, ML/AI, wearables, sensors, IoT, etc.

Selected start-ups Takeda-Challenge

Die Lösung von Braingaze, die BGaze Clinic, ist ein einzigartiges patentiertes, wissenschaftlich erprobtes und klinisch validiertes Entscheidungsunterstützungssystem auf Basis von Biomarkern für die frühzeitige und objektive Diagnose von ADHS bei Erwachsenen und Kindern. Das Unternehmen entwickelt außerdem die BGaze-Therapie, einen einzigartigen Ansatz für die digitale Behandlung mit gamifizierten interaktiven Eye-Tracking-Spielen, um die Aufmerksamkeitsprobleme der Patienten zu verbessern.


Based on strong clinical evidence, PeakProfiling is introducing voice-based diagnostics for ADHD in adults. The solution can solve the major shortcomings in today’s ADHD diagnostics: providing an accurate diagnosis for everyone, speeding up the diagnostic process to 1 Minute, allowing for personalized treatment and enabling thorough treatment response monitoring.


Iluria develops clinically validated monitoring software, providing support to caregivers and families for ADHD management & treatment decisions support. Their solution will enhance the existing ‘trial and error’ based treatment monitoring currently administered to ADHD patients by offering a comprehensive software solution that provides continuous and passive monitoring (utilizing any smart wearable), using physiological data already clinically associated with ADHD and machine learning analysis.

Iluria Ltd

Peili Vision has created a platform that combines three practices: VR technology, data and gamification. For the challenge, they are offering a VR solution that offers various measurement methods and data points that are the most precise way to measure a patient’s activities in a real-life simulative environment and those novel measurement methods can be used as a part of the ADHD diagnosis.

Peili Vision

Challenge #2

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is under-diagnosed and under-recognised by healthcare providers. There is a need for a holistic approach, starting with an understanding of risk factors and adequate treatment and disease monitoring. The ideal solution for this challenge should be: (a) a digital solution for patients and healthcare personnel to improve early-stage CKD diagnosis and monitoring; or (b) solution/technology to inter-connect all specialities involved in CKD Diagnosis, treatment management and monitoring.

Selected start-ups AstraZeneca-Challenge

RenalTracker is a digitally delivered kidney lifestyle change program to help delay dialysis. There are three components in the program: stage-appropriate digital training, asynchronous coaching & education programs using targeted patient acquisition, data science and cognitive behaviour therapy. The aim: generate novel Nephrology digital insights and help PCP’s better manage patients in-between doctor’s visits.

Binnovate Digital Health BV

Tucuvi is an AI-based virtual care platform that augments the care capacities of HCPs and ensures that every patient has continuous care at home via our voice-based device-free virtual caregiver. Tucuvi’s virtual caregiver maintains intelligent health-related conversations via phone calls with the patients, analyzes them in real-time, and shares the analysis, trends and alerts with the HCPs.

Tucuvi Care S.L. – Tucuvi Health Manager

Challenge #3

The key focus of the challenge is about digital remote monitoring and support solutions for patients with MS. The solutions would be used for monitoring disease evolution and/or monitoring of the patient’s quality of life and/or support patients to manage symptoms and maintain high adherence to therapies based on orals medication. These solutions would be used for marketed drugs in real-world environment & during clinical trials. 


Selected start-ups Merck-Challenge

The company builds privacy-focused applications that empower people living with chronic disease to track their health, discover potential triggers, and meaningfully contribute to research. One such application is Emilyn, a multiple sclerosis companion that empowers people living with multiple sclerosis to track and understand their condition better, and have more meaningful conversations with their doctors.

BreakthroughX Health GmbH

Icometrix offers a portfolio of AI solutions to assist healthcare with various challenges. For the challenge, they offer icompanion, a digital companion for PwMS that offers day-to-day health monitoring. The app allows patients with MS to track their symptoms, diary notes, mood, treatments, and QoL PROs focused on cognition and fatigue. The app also offers treatment reminders to improve adherence and curated educational content to educate and empower patients with MS.


ExactCure can build personalised PK/PD models of MS drugs that can be used to tailor medication treatments, depending on the personal characteristics of patients. Healthcare professionals will be given a web-based simulator to personalise drug regimens specifically to their patients. Patients, on the other hand, will use their mobile app or a novel white-label app, to keep track of their treatment, to improve their adherence, and to monitor disease progression.


FIMO is developing a solution for MS-related fatigue that uses smartphone and smartwatch sensor technology to collect various vital and environmental factors from patients. Their solution is based on Big Data and modern scientific methods and is supported by state-of-the-art design, gamification and elements of cognitive-behavioural therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.


Challenge #4

Clinical trials are becoming more and more complex. Patient identification based on specific criteria and profile is a key element of site feasibility. Current solutions do not allow to estimate recruitment potential in a timely manner and there is a need of innovative solutions to manage the identification and triaging of patients in clinical trials. The ideal solution should allow better patient identification, higher recruitment and support for data management.

Selected start-ups Amgen-Challenge

Collective Thinking has developed a disrupting AI software called Intelligence For Health (i4H for short) that can analyze in real-time all unstructured textual content from clinical reports from the hospital EHR database to accurately screen for all eligible patients for clinical trials, increasing the reliability of feasibility studies and speeding up patient enrollment in open trial centres.

Collective Thinking

IMAGEENS has developed a clinically validated research platform for cardiovascular imaging data, allowing physicians to collaboratively build clinical decision AI. For the challenge, they have built AI to automatically identify and triage patients with specific imaging characteristics in routine care and in Europe’s largest medical database.


CTMA strives to continuously provide sponsors and clinical trial sites the best digital pre-screening solutions to facilitate patients’ detection and inclusion in clinical studies. Their innovative technology CT-SCOUT™ supports investigators by boosting patient recruitment in clinical trials. CT-SCOUT™ is a web platform allowing all physicians to become real-time recruiters by increasing the early recognition of potentially eligible patients in any centre.

Clinical Trials Mobile Application

The French-based company is building open-source data analytics and data warehousing solutions to help hospitals provide better care to patients. Their solution for the challenge includes an end-to-end platform enabling hospitals to generate RWE (real world evidence) and valorise it towards life science companies.


Challenge #5

Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength leads to loss of physical function and consequently, it presents major health and economic burden to society. Currently, there is low awareness of age-related muscle and strength loss due to a lack of easy screening/ diagnostic tools. The key focus of the challenge is easy screening/ diagnostic tools that identify people at risk of muscle mass/ strength/ physical function loss that can be easily integrated into a digital system tied to recommendations for treatment/ management to prevent progression to mobility-disability. 

Selected start-ups Abbott-Challenge

Gripwise is a visionary solution comprising a digital and smart load cell to measure the strength profile of different muscular groups by means of several accessories and software applications. The Bluetooth communication and a dedicated APP with a database allows a real-time screening, compare previous measurements and assess the physical and nutritional frailty of people.


Qolware is developing a platform for the assessment of frailty in intervention studies using wearable sensors. The patient management platform integrates sensor and clinical data for the automatic assessment of physical decline and loss of muscle. By using wearable sensors in the activities of daily living, screening for sarcopenia becomes more accurate and easier, for the patient as well as for the clinician.


Walk with path develops Path Feel, gait-analysing smart insoles, aimed to prevent serious injuries and death in elderly people by detecting sarcopenia, encouraging activity, and providing haptic (vibrational) feedback. Data collected is analysed with AI and displayed in a smartphone app and downstream dashboard, while Path Insight (PIn), allows patients and their selected healthcare professionals (HCPs) to track their health status.

Walk with Path

Trak has developed an artificial vision algorithm, more specifically pose estimation, which detects the patient’s movements, corrects them in real-time and transmits data to the physiotherapist on how the patient has been rehabilitated. With that in mind, Trak has developed physical exercise programs for older adults that help prevent and treat: sarcopenia, cardiovascular disease (hypertension), frailty, sedentary lifestyle, obesity or diabetes.

Trak Health

Looking back at Startups Meet Pharma 2020: 5 challenges | 4 partners | 16 start-ups

In 2020, five challenges were released in collaboration with four EIT Health Partners: Amgen, Bayer, Beiersdorf and Boehringer Ingelheim. Over the course of 6 months, 16 start-ups from 15 different countries worked intensely with our key pharma partners over workshops, trainings, and 1-on-1 meetings. The results: 3 signed NDAs, 4 pilots currently in the planning phase, with their kick-off foreseen for early 2021, 2 applications to the EIT Health investor network and an open invitation for further engagement.

Startups Meet Pharma 2019 | 5 challenges | 5 partners | 14 start-ups

In the 2019 edition of the Startups Meet Pharma programme, startups that were developing digital solutions with an impact on both the pharmaceutical industry and patients were invited to tackle five challenges by Bayer, UCB, Johnson & Johnson, Amgen and Ferrer. Find out more about the programme and read more about Pilloxa’s experience in SMP 2019 in the interview with the founder and CEO, Francesco Mazzotta.


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“We are now engaged in discussions with UCB. The discussions and training had a very high quality. It was very valuable to us. We learned and improved a lot and definitely changed our perspective about our own business and the strategy we want to follow.”

Nélson Oliveira, BestHealth4U

“We had close discussions not only with senior pharma employees, but also with experts with deep functional & industry expertise! I especially want to mention our very helpful exchange with the EIT Health team and also the close collaboration with our mentor from the MCN.”

Jeremy Henrichs,

“The program has been really good for us. It was great for us to build some collaborations with other startups and not just with Amgen, but with other pharmaceutical companies. We really enjoyed the process”.

Mark Rogers, BioXplor

We are delighted to go through the whole SMP program. We got the chance to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise meet, we got dedicated time with the pharma companies to explore the technology and spoke to other pharma companies beyond our challenge.

Marko Topalovic, ArtiQ


Barbara Costa

Business Creation Manager - SMP2021
+49 621 764 461-15