- The interactive pelvic floor rehabilitation device, designed by the Canadian startup Hyivy Health, wins the Open Accelerator Distinction Award promoted by Zcube, Zambon Research Venture
- The best innovative project out of the eight international startups shortlisted for the program is announced
- In the fourth edition of Open Accelerator, the startups BreatheCore and WEARnCARE also received the Special Support Program Award that provides up to 12 months of management coaching
Milan, 17th of December 2020. Over 400 million women worldwide, including around 4 million in Italy, suffer from some kind of pelvic floor disorder. These include cases of incontinence and prolapse that affect women during menopause, women who have experienced postpartum or postoperative complications, women suffering from gynaecological conditions or cervical cancer, as well as those who have undergone gender confirmation surgery. In Europe alone this is a “business” worth $48 billion a year in healthcare costs for inadequately treated pelvic disorders. This is the sector in which the Canadian startup Hyivy Health seeks to gain a foothold with its pelvic floor rehabilitation device that won the Open Accelerator Distinction Award and funding of up to €100,000 from the startup accelerator program created by Zcube, Zambon Research Venture. This is a smart device that can be conveniently used at home. Its electrical and mechanical functions enable the patient to perform a series of exercises. An app connected to the device monitors progress and sends data to the doctors, who can decide whether to continue with the treatment or adjust it based on the outcomes.
The idea springs from the very personal experience of the company's CEO Rachel Bartholomew. In 2019, at just 28 years old, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Since then, after 25 cycles of radiotherapy, she has worked incessantly to turn her idea into reality. Today her “team” has 29 people, including several young graduates and 15 medical consultants, is over 60% female and, thanks to Open Accelerator, has won a prestigious international award.
“The 2020 edition reaffirms the great potential of Digital Health and I am delighted to present the award to a Canadian entrepreneur who, through her great courage and determination, has turned her own difficult experience into a concrete innovation to benefit many other women, with a global approach. It will be a pleasure to support Hyivy Health through its next steps, with the aim of opening its European base soon in Milan” – said Elena Zambon, President of Zambon and creator of Open Accelerator.
“We are truly excited to have received the Zcube Distinction Award. We are honoured to have the opportunity of working with Europe's leading healthcare providers, especially considering that ours is a Canadian-based company. Thanks to Open Accelerator, we have been able to understand the healthcare and femtech needs of the European market, helping us set strategic targets for this sector. This partnership brings us even closer to achieving our goal of helping women worldwide” – stated Rachel Bartholomew, CEO of Hyivy Health.
Open Accelerator, now in its fourth edition, is the international accelerator program dedicated to startups in the Life Sciences created by Zcube – Zambon Research Venture which identifies and finances the best solutions that will define the future of health. The Call for Solutions 2020 was very strongly focused on digital technologies. In July 2020, once the Call was closed, the Open Accelerator team, in collaboration with a panel of experts, selected the eight startups that participated in the four-week intensive accelerator programme in November, during which they had access to a vast international network of entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, Venture Capitalists and Life Sciences professionals.
In the course of the prize-giving ceremony held online, Zcube also presented the Special Support Program Award that provides one year of management coaching to help startups raise the funds to enable them to become a concrete reality. The recipients were the American startup BreatheCore, which has invented a chest drainage monitoring system that offers real-time data analysis, and WEARnCARE, a Pisa-based startup whose product supports decision-making in the assessment of early symptoms of Parkinson's disease and helps monitor variations due to changes in treatment.
“Open Accelerator has once again met some very interesting startups and entrepreneurs. All their ideas are conceived to meet the needs of patients and individuals. All the initiatives involve a strong commitment by their creators and are based on scientific data. Open Accelerator has sought to fast-track the transition of these ideas to a new phase of growth by making them more attractive to investors and partners, and by helping them find operational solutions to issues relating to development” – concluded Fabrizio Conicella, General Manager of Zcube and OpenZone.
“If you want to push the boundaries of innovation, you have to shine the light on the right path. The Open Accelerator 2020 Special Support Program Award addresses our need for concrete guidance, reflecting years of hard work and providing continuity to our mission” – stated Alberto Antonicelli, CEO of BreatheCore.
The Open Accelerator program is delivered in partnership with Deloitte Officine Innovazione and is supported by high-value partners who contributed as mentors, coaches or trainers, including: Portolano Cavallo, Unicredit Start Lab, TIM, NINA Capital, LifeSeeder, Bird & Bird, HUMA, Evoleen, IQVIA, Italian Angels for Biotech and Innogest.
It was actually the partners, notably Deloitte Officine Innovazione and the legal firms Bird & Bird and Portolano Cavallo, who awarded further prizes that help innovative startups to get off the ground and to establish their business. The award recipients were: WEARnCARE, Nevaro (which is working on a personalized gaming with biofeedback to improve mental health, helping people who suffer from burnouts, anxiety and depression), BreatheCore, VoiceMed (whose AI- based software screens people from respiratory diseases), Hyivy Health and Oxifing Health Sport (which has developed a wearable pulse oximeter for continuous monitoring of peripheral oxygen saturation levels).
“We would like to thank the Zcube team and our mentors for their invaluable suggestions and the lessons we learned from them. We would also like to thank Bird & Bird for the support they gave us during the subsequent phases. Today marks the opening of a new point of departure for us” – stated Erika Rovini, CEO of WEARnCARE.
Zcube, Zambon's Research Venture company, is actively engaged in innovation and scouting for modern solutions in the Life Sciences, such as drug administration systems, medical devices, biomarkers, diagnostic technologies, digital health and solutions for managing big data. Over the years, Zcube has invested in a number of Venture Capital funds in the Life Sciences sector that develop new business models with a focus on research, rare diseases and the sharing of innovation-driven initiatives. It has also forged partnerships with some of the world's leading universities.
As part of its activities, Zcube has created Open Accelerator, its fast-track accelerator program specialising in Life Sciences, and Zcare, its division dedicated to the development of innovative solutions inspired by the principles of Value Based Healthcare, designed to meet the needs of all the stakeholders involved in the healthcare ecosystem, particularly patients and caregivers. Over the years, the importance of this division has steadily grown, leading to the establishment of the newco CareApt.
Recognising the importance of innovative technologies and digitalisation in Healthcare, through the activities of Zcube, Zambon complements its pharmaceutical drug offering with modern therapeutic solutions, in order to improve patients' lives.
 Data from Centro Diagnostico Italiano (Italian Diagnostic Centre), https://www.cdi.it/news/patologie-del-pavimento-pelvico-e-biofeedback/
 Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, Journal of Gynecologic Oncology