O P E N A C C E L E R A T O R

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- Coming from Italy and around the world, the eight start-ups will start their full-time Digital Health acceleration programme on 29th of October

- Two deep-dive interactive experts’ panel sessions have been added to the fourth edition of the programme: the first one on fundraising and the second one on collaboration opportunities for digital health start-ups with insurance companies

- The OA 2020 acceleration programme will end in December with the possibility of allocation of a €100,000 seed award to the most promising businesses (up to a maximum of three)

 

Milan, 27 October 2020 – An interactive device for pelvic floor rehabilitation; artificial intelligence software that calculates the probability of a person having a respiratory disease; a negotiation platform between the healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies to speed up access to innovative treatments; and a custom video game that provides therapeutic content to improve mental health.

There is also a wearable pulse oximeter for the continuous monitoring of oxygen saturation; a wearable technology to assess the motor skills of Parkinson’s disease sufferers; a monitoring system for chest drainage for the prevention of post-operative complications; and a smartwatch to remotely monitor people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

These are the eight innovative ideas in the field of Digital Health that Zcube, Zambon Group’s Research Venture company, has chosen for its start-up acceleration programme.

“The launch of Open Accelerator is a look to the future, which we always need. Never before, however, have the significant challenges that lie ahead for the world of health and sustainability of the system, as well as the important role that start-ups can play, been so clear” commented Elena Zambon, President of the pharmaceutical company of the same name and creator of the accelerator programme. “We are increasingly convinced that our responsibility is also to promote high-value entrepreneurship, in an attempt to stay ahead of the future”.

The OA has selected eight most innovative teams, both emerging and established, coming from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, the USA and Canada, following a complex selection process to participate in the programme. A four-week acceleration track, held exclusively online, will start on the 29th of October.

It will be a particularly intense period, where the more “traditional” training course will be complemented with individual mentoring and coaching sessions by high-level experts, adapted to the specific phase of the start-up’s life cycle. The programme also provides support to the start-ups on more complex issues such as the protection of intellectual property, go-to-market strategies, regulatory insights and CE certification - how to fundraise and report financial data - and other essential areas for newly established companies.

“The impact of the pandemic has highlighted how we can only manage the unexpected through preparation. That is why working on innovation processes, 'institutionalising' them, and making them a permanent feature of our company is fundamental. With Open Accelerator, we are trying to balance the need to ethically and sustainably satisfy a basic need, i.e. the protection of human health, with the need to create sustainable and effective business growth paths. We are proud of the proposals we’ve received this year, and we can’t wait to reward the technologically innovative ideas, which will also have a significant impact in terms of progress and improving the quality of life of individuals” stated Fabrizio Conicella, General Manager and Board Member of OpenZone and Zcube.

The 2020 edition of Open Accelerator, the fourth since the launch of the programme, will also include special sessions with two in-depth interactive sessions with industry experts: the first dedicated to fundraising thanks to the presence of Venture Capitals and Business Angels, and the second on collaboration opportunities for digital health start-ups with insurance companies. The estimated value of this acceleration programme that guarantees participants high-level training is around € 25,000 per participant.

Open Accelerator programme is going to be delivered in collaboration with Deloitte Officine Innovazione and is supported by high-value partners, which participated in the selection stage and contribute to the programme 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. 

At the end of the program, in December the startups will get an opportunity to meet investors, and will undergo the selection for the Distinction award, inviting them for the due-diligence process where Zcube will assess the actual investment opportunity of a seed award of up to € 100 000 per project (up to a maximum of three).

 

THE EIGHT PROJECTS TAKING PART IN THE PROGRAMME

The 2020 edition of Open Accelerator is dedicated to the most advanced and practical digital solutions for improving patients’ lives, mainly in the therapeutic areas of the central nervous and respiratory systems, and  a special category dedicated to COVID-19 and new ways of interaction between healthcare professionals, industry and communities. What are the ideas that were considered as the most innovative? They are the following:

1 - INTERACTIVE DEVICE FOR PELVIC FLOOR REHABILITATION

Originating from Canada, the Hyivy Health start-up focuses on women’s health through a device for pelvic floor rehabilitation. It is a clinically approved smart device that can be conveniently used in the patient’s home. Their product, designed for post-operative and post-partum rehabilitation, includes electrical and mechanical functions, as well as an app to display data, educational videos, and to monitor progress. The aim is to create a device that monitors, tracks and prevents various problems experienced by women to understand if and how to respond.

2 - SOFTWARE THAT CALCULATES THE PROBABILITY OF HAVING RESPIRATORY DISEASES

The Luxembourg start-up VoiceMed used artificial intelligence to develop a software that calculates the probability that a person is suffering from a respiratory disease through the analysis of voice biomarkers collected through coughing, breathing and language. An innovative idea, useful in dealing with the health emergency related to COVID-19, which is intended to simplify access to healthcare through rapid, accurate and remote screening.

3 - NEGOTIATION PLATFORM TO SPEED UP ACCESS TO INNOVATIVE TREATMENTS

Axess4You is the Milan-based start-up working on a transparent price negotiation platform between the healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies, with the aim of speeding up access to innovative treatments. Axess4You aims to create the first integrated and certified data archive for a number of therapeutic areas in order to improve market access negotiations and speed up approval procedures.

4 - WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY TO ASSESS MOTOR SKILLS OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE SUFFERERS

Pisa-based start-up WEARnCARE draws on a combination of wearable technology, artificial intelligence and standardised protocols to provide neurologists with an accurate and reliable system to assess the motor skills of Parkinson’s disease sufferers, to provide an objective clinical diagnosis, and monitor the progression of the disease. The product supports decision-making in the assessment of the early symptoms and monitors variations due to changes in drug therapy.

5 - CUSTOM VIDEO GAME TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH

The Portuguese company Nevaro uses serious games, or rather video games that go beyond entertainment and become a real educational tool, to improve mental health, in particular helping those suffering from nervous exhaustion. Through a series of physiological and behavioural biomarkers and a headset, the video game analyses the mood of players, adapts to the mood, and provides therapeutic content in real time able to alleviate stress and ease anxiety.

6 - SYSTEM FOR MONITORING AND PREVENTING POST-OPERATIVE COMPLICATIONS

The BreatheCore Adaptive Autopilot is an Italian-American start-up that is involved with Open Accelerator through a project on diseases of the respiratory system. In particular, the international team has devised a chest drainage monitoring system that offers real-time data analysis so that clinical results can be improved, foreseeable and potentially fatal complications can be avoided, and the intrapleural functional status can be regulated.

7 - WEARABLE PULSE OXIMETER FOR CONTINUOUS MONITORING OF SATURATION LEVEL

The Spanish company Oxifing has also taken to the field, providing its contribution to supporting COVID-19 patients. In particular, the Spanish team has developed a pulse oximeter, which can be used to continuously monitor peripheral oxygen saturation and heart rate. The patented solution is particularly accurate, customised according to the physiological parameters of the patient, and can also be used during sporting activities and for home physiotherapy.

8 - SMARTWATCH FOR PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

NeMO LAB, an Italian hub for the development of technological innovations in neuromuscular diseases, supported by Centro Clinico NeMO, is proposing an effective solution to remotely monitor patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases or that have genetic markers indicating a predisposition to them. The service is the result of a combination of three elements: a smartwatch which collects patient data, an app which validates the data collected by the device and proposes cognitive tests, and a website where all the data collected from patients is integrated.