Six health tech startup ideas from top health tech investors
Europe has seen transformative innovation in health technologies over the past decade. The pandemic has only pushed the boundaries of digital health. And more founders are building insurance and operating software for industry.
But what have the European founders of health technologies not yet built?
Sifted asked six of the leading healthcare tech VCs operating in Europe to share what they don’t see on their healthcare tech presentations.
Here are their bright ideas.
Pierre Socha, partner at Amadeus Capital Partners
Amadeus Capital Partners is a Cambridge-based venture capital firm that invests in early to late stage fundraising in Europe and Latin America. Its portfolio includes the radiology AI platform Quibim, cell and gene manufacturing startup Ori Biotech, and oxygen wound therapy company Natrox.
Vast opportunities with human-machine interfaces
The way we interact with machines is changing rapidly. Touch may still dominate, but voice – and increasingly vision – promises more ubiquitous and transparent interfaces for communicating with devices.
We believe that the next generation of human-machine interfaces (HMIs) will have a profound impact on society. We go from improving the way we communicate with machines to physically augmenting them. In healthcare, the approach is not new – hearing aids and pacemakers have been used for decades – but the field of applications is expanding with new detection technologies, data processing capabilities. and mechanisms for delivering treatment.
Things move fast. Two years ago, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University made a breakthrough in the field of controlling non-invasive robotic devices. Using a brain-computer interface (BCI), he developed the very first mind-controlled robotic arm capable of continuously tracking and tracking a computer cursor. This alone has wide applications, benefiting the lives of paralyzed patients and those with movement disorders.
The scope of applications and the size of the market will increase as we live longer and age-related diseases become more prevalent. Expect waves of minimally to non-invasive therapies (a treatment strategy that combines therapy and diagnosis) to hit the market in the near future. Some will be designed to counter cognitive and motor decline, and others will address the management of pain and inflammation by changing the way the brain modulates the immune response. Looking at the space from a logistical perspective, patients and payers will benefit from technology that enables greater autonomy and mobility – the key to healthy aging. We are only scratching the surface.
Lee Cooper, Senior Director of Venture Capital Investments at Leaps by Bayer
Leaps by Bayer is the corporate investment arm of German life sciences giant Bayer. It mainly focuses on investing in early and late stage healthcare companies. Cooper’s investment portfolio includes therapeutics company Senti Bio, digital healthcare startup Ada Health, and biotech startup Dewpoint Therapeutics.
Mitigate Failures in Clinical Trials
Only 1 in 10 drugs in clinical studies in the United States are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Failure is often due to imperfect preclinical models, which tend to be animals or simple cell lines.
Given the biological nuance of human metabolic and immune systems, testing drugs on animals will never be perfect. I would like to see more stem cell and patient-derived organoid technologies that improve the translation of innovative drugs into clinical studies. We could safely test drugs on more personalized human biology earlier in the research process, resulting in a higher probability of success, fewer animals involved, and improved data sets for long-term comparison of drugs. products.
Stem cell and organoid technologies derived from patients could improve our ability to treat or cure many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and neurodegeneration. These technologies could facilitate better medicines with less costly failure, benefiting countless patients and their communities.
Anne Osdoit, partner at Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a European investment company specializing in life sciences and health technologies. Osdoit’s investment portfolio includes medical insole startup FeetMe and non-invasive robotic surgery startup Moon Medical.
Digital tools to treat pain faster
Pain is an unpleasant function that tells our brain that something bad is happening to our body – it is estimated that around 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain worldwide. Although there are medicines to treat pain, these medicines can be ineffective or harmful if patients become dependent on them.
As a result, I would like to see more entrepreneurs tackle this problem. There are some very interesting first projects that focus on different types of pain, for example pain in children and pain related to women’s health caused by menstruation or endometriosis. These are based on a digital assessment tool and then the treatment is delivered through a digital platform. I think there is a significant opportunity to treat pain with these new technologies – it would provide patients with a simpler and faster method of treating their pain.
Søren Fryland Møller, partner at Crista Galli Ventures
Crista Galli Ventures is a London-based venture capital firm focused on pan-European early stage and Series A health technologies. Møller’s portfolio includes French radiology startup Gleamer, the German healthcare app digital for women Keleya and British personalized medicine startup Sanome.
Democratize clinical information for patients to improve patient outcomes
Knee replacement is a common surgery where there are multiple points of contact to improve transmission of clinical information to patients. Today, preoperative patients benefit from a short surgical appointment and a leaflet about the surgery. Postoperatively, they stabilize in hospital and released with physiotherapy and a follow-up appointment.
What if there was a mobile app to guide patients through knee surgery? Downloaded on the first appointment at the orthopedic clinic, the app would contain the clinical details of a patient’s surgery written by your surgical team, videos of what to expect on the day of surgery at your hospital, and tips for improving health and nutrition before surgery, including guided health coaching.
After the surgery, the app would provide information on pain relief, a timeline on healing, key hospital contact details and guided physiotherapy exercises. This idea would have beenin the public and private health sector in a wide range of surgical fields procedures.
In addition, letters and reports from clinics today are written by physicians for physicians. The patient is an afterthought. There is an open market for the democratization of letters and reports from clinics (e.g. CT scans). Translating them from “clinical” language to “layman” language could be done via natural language processing, offering startups the possibility of working with electronics health record providers (EHRs).
Instead of patients Google searching for the complex results they received (but did not fully understand) in their appointment at the clinic, future health systems could provide written clinical documents for both physicians and patients. These patient-centered reports could be distributed electronically on a patient’s phone via a secure portal.
Jérôme Zois, director at Uniqa Ventures
Uniqa Ventures is the strategic investment arm of Austrian insurance giant Uniqa.
A fertility application combined with an insurance service
A good idea for a health startup would be an insurance model that covers the fertility aspect in combination with an app that helps you get pregnant and monitor your fertility in general. The target group would be the parents who would insure their child, as supplementary medical insurance. Insurance could then be transferred to the child himself once he reaches legal adulthood. In the event that the child is not able to reproduce, he will receive a certain sum which can also be used for special treatments around reproduction measures.
We believe that there is a significant market gap regarding this issue, as it is an aspect that is not really covered by insurance companies, and the subject of fertility is often overlooked. It is a problem that more and more people – women and men – are facing reproductive issues that are most likely related to lifestyle choices or subsequent family planning, so there will certainly be more. calls for solutions that tackle this problem.
Jan-Hendrik Bürk, director at btov partners
Btov partners is a European venture capital firm focused on early stage investments in digital and industrial technology companies. Bürk’s portfolio includes the Happify mental health platform, digital health startups Vantis and Heartbeat Medical.
Building a Shopify for digital therapy solutions
Looking at the rise of digital therapy (DTx) solutions now covering just about all major indications, I think it’s time to put in place holistic middleware solutions that allow DTx gamers more.
Relevant, but increasingly important, ancillary tool sets for DTx solutions include clinical trial management, patient support, reimbursement as a service, or drug ordering and delivery, for no. to name a few.
This access to fully specialized and intelligent middleware would allow DTx solutions to deliver end-to-end (virtual) care without having to build everything from scratch.
Connor Bilboe is Sifted’s editorial assistant. He tweets from @connorbilboe and is the co-author of our sustainability-focused newsletter, Sustain. You can register here.