Innocens and Gate2Brain, recognised by the Wild Card program at the Pediatric Innovation Day 2023
The third edition of the Pediatric Innovation Day held at Warsaw, experienced one of its most exciting moments with the final of the Wild Card programme and the announcement of this year’s winning start-ups.
This accelerator programme connects early-stage start-ups with the resources they need to validate their problem-solution to a specific healthcare challenge each year. In this edition, and for the first time in its history, EIT Health has partnered with SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital and its i4KIDS innovation hub, to accelerate paediatric innovations with the potential to have a real impact on children’s lives.
“It is essential to carry out acceleration programmes such as Wild Card, with a focus on the field of paediatrics and maternity to boost the arrival of real solutions to the market aimed at meeting the needs of this group. Collaborating with EIT Health and its team, has been a great experience for the whole team, both clinical and technical, who have participated in the different phases of the project”, as Arnau Valls, director of i4KIDS, explains.
Addressing the healthcare gap that had previously seen 3.6% of EU children with unmet medical needs in 2021, the Wild Card Programme has focused more specifically on innovations seeking to address challenges in early onset pathologies, chronic conditions and rare diseases, and acute disease management, and has relied upon the insights and advice of key opinion leaders and a group of children and teenagers who act as a Scientific Council in SJD, KIDS Barcelona.
According to Magda Krakowiak, Acceleration Manager at EIT Health, “for the past six years, the Wild Card programme has been fostering needs-driven innovation through its challenge-based approach. This year, we connected entrepreneurs with SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital and i4KIDS, one of the leading children’s hospitals in Europe. These founders have acquired invaluable skills and access to our extensive network and investors. We believe their innovations will enhance health outcomes for future generations.”
Among the more than 27 applications received, 7 startups were carefully selected during a process of validation of their business proposals by a team of clinicians and business experts from SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital and EIT Health:
- Innocens BV (Belgium) is an AI-empowered neonatal ICU support system, which regularly scans patients data for the most subtle signs of sepsis. This information is relayed to hospital staff, which allows them to have access to critical insights that help inform clinical decision-making.
- Gate2Brain SL (Spain) offers a transformative Central Nervous System (CNS) drug delivery method, promising enhanced efficacy with fewer side effects, using a radically innovative peptide-based patented technology platform.
- Aira Medtech (Spain) offers an interactive game aimed at children who suffer from a respiratory disease such as cystic fibrosis that requires respiratory physiotherapy.
- Mila4AI (Uzbekistan) is the developer of EZSpeech, a dedicated application designed to support children with speech disorders in refining their speaking capabilities. By integrating artificial intelligence, the app can suggest specific oral motor and articulation exercises.
- Rehabilia Technologies (Italy) facilitates and promotes neuromotor recovery, supporting neurorehabilitation therapies through multimedia feedback and multimodal signals (Phicube product).
- MYNDGARD Preventing Mental Health Burden (Ireland) enables Psychotherapists, Clinics and their Clients to achieve better Mental Health outcomes in a faster and more insightful manner focusing on improving Waiting List Triage by using Mobile Devices / Wearables.
- HAON Life Sciences (Ireland) is focused on developing novel stem cell therapies for newborn brain injury.
These organizations had the opportunity to showcase their work in front of a pannel of experts and investors during the Pediatric Innovation Day, giving them the chance to demonstrate their true ability to improve children’s health.
After their pitches and question time, the jury chose Innocens as the winner of the programme and Gate2Brain as runner-up for their contributions in the field of innovation in paediatrics and maternity.
“For Gate2Brain participating in EIT Health Wild Card programme has been an unforgettable journey, learning from mentors and teams, creating a strong network of stakeholders and the opportunity to travel to the Pediatric Innovation Day in Warsaw to deliver our pitch. Being selected as runner-up of the award is the recognition of a team effort that give us the energy to keep going beyond barriers to beat pediatric brain tumors with our initial product that uses our technology to cross the blood-brain barrier”, as Meritxell Teixidó, CEO of Gate2Brain states.