Start-ups Meet Pharma Cohort 2021 – The AstraZeneca challenge

Integrated care for chronic kidney disease is challenge #2 for this year’s Start-ups Meet Pharma programme set by AstraZeneca.

18 startups from Germany, Austria, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Spain, Estonia and Israel have been selected for the Startups Meet Pharma 2021 cohort. This year, five challenges have been released in collaboration with five EIT Health Partners: Abbott, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Merck and Takeda.

Let’s take a closer look at Challenge #2: Integrated care for chronic kidney disease by AstraZeneca

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 key focus of the challenge is to find either a digital solution for patients and healthcare personnel to improve early-stage CKD diagnosis and monitoring, or technology that interconnects all specialities involved in CKD Diagnosis, treatment management and monitoring.

A total of 14 applications were received for the challenge, with the following two start-ups being selected to participate in the programme: Binnovate Digital Health BV (Netherlands) and Tucuvi Care S.L. (Spain).

Let’s find out more about their individual solutions:

Binnovate Digital Health BV

Your solution to the challenge: Stage appropriate digital training, asynchronous coaching & education programs using targeted patient acquisition, data science and cognitive behaviour therapy to generate novel Nephrology digital insights and help PCP’s better manage patients in-between doctor’s visits.

What makes it a good fit? RenalTracker is already generating data by acquiring an average of 300 CKD patients on a weekly basis. We help patients to self-manage their condition based on their CKD stage and psychological barriers. Through RenalTracker, patients are much more engaged, adherent, and proactive with their health. AstraZeneca benefits since it’s been shown in numerous studies that an engaged patient is much more likely to take the right medications at the right dosages thereby improving their health outcomes for the long term.

Major expectations from the programme: Going through a paid pilot with AstraZeneca through a mutually beneficial KPI.

The long-term vision for your startup: To be the global nephrology industry leader in pre-dialysis intervention care based on the novel digital data RenalTracker gathers in-between doctor’s visits. After the pilot and commercialisation in the US, our goal is to take RenalTracker globally, starting with the EU where our HQ is located.


Tucuvi Care S.L.

Your solution to the challenge: 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, analyses them in real-time, and shares the analysis, trends and alerts with the HCPs.

What makes it a good fit? Our virtual care platform is already validated for other diseases, and it is very easy to create new care transversal protocols for other pathologies (different stages of CKD, diabetes, hypertension, etc). The fact that the virtual caregiver communicates with patients via phone calls makes it easy to use, deploy and scale. It gives patients a voice in their disease management, recollects real-world data, and helps HCP make better interventions.

Major expectations from the programme: Our expectation is to work with experts from AZ and find together the best way to improve CKD patient’s care. From tech development, to go to market strategy and reimbursement. We think that having the best partner in creating and delivering each protocol is key to achieve the best results, and we believe AZ  is a great partner for this challenge.

The long-term vision for your startup: We see Tucuvi as part of the standard of care of patients at home so that gaps of care are identified, addressed, and eliminated. We want to not only be able to monitor every patient that needs it but also use all the data to analyse which interventions produce better health outcomes and share this information with providers and the industry so that together we can reinvent the way we care.