Whether it's AI, Health Apps, Lab Medicine or Robotics, Start-Ups are Shaking Things Up in the Health Sector and Causing a Stir at MEDICA

MEDICA 2023 13 - 16 November 2022, Düsseldorf, Germany.
For years, the internationally leading medical trade fair MEDICA in Düsseldorf has also been the global leading event for start-ups seeking to enter the health sector. Among the more than 5,000 exhibiting companies at MEDICA 2023 and the parallel suppliers' professional trade fair COMPAMED 2023, there will accordingly again be several hundred young developer teams seeking business contacts for cooperation concerning funding, production, product approval, marketing or sales of their product ideas.

Numerous programme highlights place a targeted focus on the start-up scene and offer start-ups an ideal platform to present their innovative solutions and to do business with the international world of professional health care. Among those worth mentioning are the 12th MEDICA Start-up Competition, the 15th Healthcare Innovation World Cup, the MEDICA START-UP PARK and many more start-up exhibitions at the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM.

Both for the 12th MEDICA Start-up Competition and for the 15th Healthcare Innovation World Cup, the kick-off for the registration process has already taken place. Interested start-ups will find information concerning the rules and options for participation in the competition on the programme page of the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM.

At the MEDICA Start-up COMPETITION, the focus is on the entire spectrum of innovations for the healthcare sector: from artificial intelligence (AI) to health apps, solutions for laboratory diagnostics and medical robotics. For the first time this year, "Sustainability" features as a novel category.

Previous year’s winning team continues to profit from global visibility

The Spanish start-up Idoven was the winning team in the competition of 2022 and has subsequently profited immensely from participating in the event. The young company has, in their own words, developed an AI-based platform for "cardiology-as-a-service". This proprietary AI uses electrocardiographs (ECG) of any length and by any diagnostic tool to improve the accuracy and consistency of the interpretation. Rika Christanto, COO at Idoven, is pleased with the effect of participating at MEDICA and the competition finals on the stage of the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM: "I was very surprised at how global this trade fair is!" The MEDICA Start-up COMPETITION gave her start-up an immense, global visibility, notwithstanding which Idoven also wants to enter the German market.

According to Rika Christanto, it was also helpful to share experiences with other start-ups during MEDICA, for example concerning how to overcome legal obstacles to entering the market. Currently, Idoven is strengthening the partnerships that came out of MEDICA 2022, for example with the company GE Healthcare regarding a project to reduce the necessary efforts for interpretation of ECGs in a clinical setting. "We also signed an agreement with AstraZeneca regarding a cardiac insufficiency project," says Rika Christanto. This is primarily concerned with avoiding hospitalisation of affected persons. Together with the pharmaceutical company, the star-up is therefore working on solutions to improve individual therapies. To do this, Idoven’s analytical platform uses early data from patient records to estimate the effectiveness of planned treatments and the necessity for changes.

In order to continue this growth course, Idoven is looking for further partnerships, working intensely on the performance of its proprietary AI tools and on the evaluation of the usefulness of their solutions in clinical practice. How important global visibility is for start-ups, and thus participation in internationally successful trade fair events like MEDICA, for example, is illustrated by this figure: Idoven has already managed to gain financial support amounting to almost 20 million US dollars (approximately 18.1 million euros) for the realisation of upcoming projects and further developments.

Healthcare Innovation World Cup: the next generation of intelligent medtech devices

For start-ups, scale-ups and smaller mid-level companies, participation in (and the free-of-charge application to) the 15th Healthcare Innovation World Cup could also be interesting. The focus here is on intelligent "Internet of Medical Things" (IoMT) solutions, e.g., digital biomarkers, smart band-aids or wearables with network connectivity. The 12 finalists, chosen by a renowned professional jury, are invited to present their businesses during MEDICA 2023 on the programme stage of the MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM (in Hall 12). The previous year's winner was ViewMind Inc., a company specialising in the management of neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s. Mark Edwards, CEO and co-founder of ViewMind Inc., says that while the effects of winning cannot be quantified, "I can say that winning was very helpful to make the company and its products known". This start-up, too, has completed another round of financing, which was facilitated by their success at MEDICA. The already CE-certified ViewMind product, which is already on the market, was validated in approx. 30 clinical trials on four continents with thousands of patients. Approval by the FDA is currently ongoing.

ViewMind initially addresses the pharmaceutical industry, says Mark Edwards, but also the healthcare sector in general. "We are working on clinical trials with several pharmaceutical companies in order to give them a tool with which to find suitable participants, set up cohorts precisely and measure the effects of therapy with corresponding sensitivity." The start-up sees itself as a pioneer for the development of precision drugs.

Edwards has often visited MEDICA in Düsseldorf. From his perspective, the size of the event is an advantage. He has already met with many contacts from the sales sector here in order to assess possible sales partnerships. ViewMind keeps its eyes on the prize, as Mark Edwards says: “We want to establish a sensitive marker for neurocognitive diseases and cognition which is a easy to operate and as useful as a device for measuring blood pressure or blood sugar.”

Meet-up point at MEDICA START-UP PARK

The MEDICA START-UP PARK (in Hall 12) also emphasises networking and has established itself as the central meet-up point for the start-up scene. A good 40 start-ups have already registered in a very early phase for this year - a new record.

The start-up initiative "Up To Future" from Ukraine will be there for a second time. In 2022, registration could only take place shortly before the trade fair. Among the Ukrainian start-ups promoted by the initiative was HandyUsound with its product idea for a portable ultrasound system. The product met with such a great response from the trade fair audience that the founding team wants to use the opportunity again this year to make further business contacts. Megnosis from Korea is also participating in the MEDICA START-UP PARK this year. The company has developed EEG helmets which are intended to detect dementia at an early stage and ameliorate the effects through the stimulation of brain cells and neurons.

Germany is also represented at the joint stand. One example is AssistMe. For MEDICA 2023, they will present a smart sensor system for use in underwear for incontinence. The system serves as a kind of indicator for liquids. Through a clip connected to the incontinence aid, data retrieved is transmitted to a software cloud system. This way, nursing staff in an institutional setting can better care for residents according to their needs, because with one glance at a central location, staff can determine when it seems necessary to change which person's incontinence aid.

All information about MEDICA 2023 is available online at: https://www.medica-tradefair.com

Direct link to MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM: https://www.medica-tradefair.com/mchf2

Direct link to MEDICA START-UP PARK: https://www.medica-tradefair.com/msup2

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