Start-ups Meet Pharma Cohort 2021 – The Takeda challenge

With the selection phase over, it is time to meet the Start-ups Meets Pharma cohort 2021. First up: Takeda’s challenge on digital and personalised health for Adult ADHD.

18 startups from Germany, Austria, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Spain, Estonia and Israel have been selected for the Start-ups 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 #1: Digital and Personalised Health for Adult ADHD by Takeda

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 2.5% of adults worldwide. The challenge was set up to identify digital solutions offering support to health care professionals in clinical decision making regarding adult ADHD. These include its complex diagnosis, personalised treatment through AI, and the setting of a baseline for outcome-based treatment monitoring.

A total of 24 applications were received for the challenge with four start-ups being shortlisted: Braingaze (Spain), Peak Profiling GmbH (Germany), Illuria Ltd (Israel), and Peili Vision Oy (Finland).

Let’s find out more about their individual solutions:


Your solution to the challenge: Our solution, BGaze Clinic is a unique patented, scientifically proven, and clinically validated biomarker-based decision support system for the early and objective diagnosis of adult and child ADHD. We are also developing BGaze Therapy, a unique approach to digital treatment with gamified interactive eye-tracking games to improve patient’s attentional problems.

What makes it a good fit? Braingaze focuses on the development and commercialisation of next-generation neurocognitive solutions for the early and accurate diagnosis and digital treatment of ADHD. The team consists of a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary mix of mathematicians, psychologists, clinical specialists, software developers, marketing experts and clinical and business development professionals with strong experience in their fields.

Major expectations from the programme: Depending on the solution and its maturity in our development pipeline, we envision a possible collaboration with Takeda in clinical trials, patient journey design & optimisation, health economics analysis, reimbursement dialogues, pilot trials in real-life clinical settings in various countries, and large scale market introduction.

The long-term vision for your startup: In addition to ADHD, our solutions have shown promise in the diagnosis of other disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, Dyslexia, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Illuria Ltd

Your solution to the challenge: Our 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 (utilising any smart wearable), using physiological data already clinically associated with ADHD and machine learning analysis.

What makes it a good fit? Our ADHD monitoring machine learning engine was validated in a clinical trial in Israel with Clalit Health Services (Israel’s largest HMO) and in an initial clinical scale up with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (Ohio, US). Although these clinical trials were with children and adolescents, using our machine learning algorithms on the ADHD adult population is in our roadmap, mainly to incorporate comorbidities and side effect analysis.

Major expectations from the programme: Participation in the program will enable us to take an active part in the EIT Health ecosystem as well as to collaborate with Takeda, a leading pharma player; give us additional tools to customise our solution for the ADHD adult population (e.g. further embedding the side effect analysis in the mathematical engine); enable us to better understand pharma’s interest and motivation with respect to ADHD management in adults, and enhance our precision medicine positioning.

The long-term vision for your startup: Alongside the immediate “personalised care”, we envision precise treatments for adult ADHD by creating patient clusters (e.g. gender, age, co-morbidity) by aggregating data with our solution. We also plan to enhance our solution to deal with other mental health disorders starting with anxiety and depression.


Peak Profiling GmbH

Your solution to the challenge: Based on strong clinical evidence, PeakProfiling is introducing voice-based diagnostics for ADHD in adults, detecting diseases from the sound of the human voice, through a short phone call.

What makes it a good fit? 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 personalised treatment and enabling thorough treatment response monitoring.

Major expectations from the programme: Generally, we would like to learn more about how digital solutions can provide value to pharmaceutical companies. Moreover, we specifically strive to assess with Takeda if there is common ground to launch our digital voice diagnostics in adult ADHD together.

The long-term vision for your startup: Becoming a “Siri for Health”: detecting hundreds of diseases early through the voice.


Peili Vision Oy

Your solution to the challenge: Our VR solution offers various measurement methods and data points (head tracking, activity, reactions to distraction) 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. We simulate real-life situations and measure the patient performance at given tasks.

What makes it a good fit? Our solution is a novel and highly innovative product that is based on top research and years of VR development in the health care sector. Besides this, almost every keyword from our product fits in this challenge: Gamification, VR, AI, support for diagnosis, personalised treatment, and treatment response monitoring.

Major expectations from the programme: To have more knowledge of how to collaborate/work with Pharma companies. We are increasing dramatically the patient number that uses our platform in the coming years and all the collected data offers unbelievable possibilities to study and develop the patient care path, including patient medication efficacy and so on.

The long-term vision for your startup: To offer more accessible treatment to people. Our solution now and in the future (digital diagnosis, rehabilitation and evaluation) offers possibilities to expand individual health care services to people who are outside of the health care system at the moment. In 2035, we want to be able to offer our services to millions of people at an accessible cost.