Jun 21, 2018

Trinity Hosts EU Digital Health Startup Programme

The programme will offer support and training to 10 digital health startups from around Europe.

Edward O'LoughlinEntrepreneurship Correspondent
Edward O'Loughlin for The University Times

A new European programme supporting the development of technologies that promote health has been launched in Trinity’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub.

For the next six weeks, 10 digital health startups from across Ireland and Europe will participate in the programme, hosted by Trinity, in collaboration with the European Commission’s Institute for Innovation and Technology.

The programme aims to identify and support new technologies that promote healthy living, support active ageing and improve health care systems. These early-stage digital health startups will be given guidance on their overall business plan and the suitable markets for their products.

The 10 chosen startups are from Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Poland and Latvia. The companies will participate in six weeks of intensive training and mentoring activities at Trinity before going on a two-week tour of four health technology hubs across Europe: Delft University of Technology, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Imperial College London and Newcastle University. This tour is intended to help the startups to quickly access the potential of their product or idea in a number of markets.

In a press statement ahead of the programme’s launch, the CEO of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub in Trinity, Fionnuala Healy, praised Dublin for having an ideal ecosystem for health technology startups, with nine out of the top 10 medical technology companies based in Ireland and almost 200 funded health technology companies. Healy added that: “Trinity College Dublin is delighted to be working in partnership with the EU’s European Institute of Technology to welcome digital health entrepreneurs from across Europe to participate in this new European health tech incubator programme.”

Speaking at the launch, Prof Martin Curley, the Chief Information Officer at the HSE, said: “There is a need globally to focus on technologies and innovations that can keep healthy people well, enhance quality of care and quality of life at the most efficient cost. It is exciting to see and learn about the new technologies that have been developed by these new European startups to improve healthcare systems across the world.”

Among the teams participating in the programme is Finnish company Adamant, which has developed a wearable smart sensor to improve our understanding of Parkinson’s disease, and how best to treat it. Pauli Turunen from Adamant, speaking to The University Times, said: “We intend to work hard over the next two months as we see this as a really important opportunity to validate our product, explore commercialisation and to check for any weaknesses.”

“We also intend investigating if James’s Hospital could participate in our clinical trials, as we are aware of the particular interest in James’s concerning Parkinson’s disease”, Turunen said.

The teams are composed of professionals and researchers working in the medical and technology sector across Europe. They include health and science researchers, medical professionals, software engineers, digital innovators, pharma specialists, medical device experts and business developers.

Chris Kelly from Pinpoint Innovations Ireland also spoke to The University Times about the company’s patient-tracking system. This Irish startup has developed a wearable tracking device, which monitors the amount of time patients spend in each stage of their care in the hospital setting, with the ultimate aim of increasing patient flow and hospital efficiency. He said: “We have already tested our system with a six month pilot at University Hospital Limerick, and have two more sites in Ireland lined up and one in the UK. We see this incubator programme as a wonderful opportunity to develop a ‘go to market strategy’.”

Among the other innovative startups in the programme is Praxagoras, from the Netherlands, which is developing an easy-to-use monitoring system to help GPs prevent stroke by the early detection of difficulties. Another Irish startup in the programme is WaytoB, which has developed a smartphone and smartwatch solution to assist people with intellectual disabilities to make journeys by themselves more independently. Families or carers are also able to monitor or check that the journey progresses safely.

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