European Health Catapult: Solutions for blindness, diabetes and epilepsy take top prizes

Final contest takes place at EIT Health Summit in Paris on 2 December 2019


The winners of EIT Health's European Health Catapult were chosen after a final pitch contest at the EIT Health Summit in Paris on 2 December 2019. The top-prizes went to: SparingVision, with a treatment that can stop the progress of an inherited disease that causes blindness; PKvitality, with a smart watch for measuring blood sugar levels; and Epihunter, with an app that monitors difficult to detect "absence seizures" among epileptics.


The winner chosen by the audience for the Alex Casta Award was: Triumf Health, which offers a personalised approach to improve patient outcomes and empower ill children by delivering behavioural therapeutics through a mobile game.


Following pitches during the day, three winners and six runners up were chosen from the 21 finalists, who had been training and competing since spring 2019 to reach the finals of the European Health Catapult (EHC). The biggest pitch contest organised by EIT Health, EHC is designed to identify and accelerate promising European start-ups in the categories of Biotech, Medtech and Digital Health. The winners were announced on the evening of 2 December 2019, during the first day of the EIT Health Summit. Along with cash awards of up to €40 000 for the winners and runners up, the contest provided a high-profile audience for all of the EHC competitors.


The winners and runners up:


Biotech

1st Place – SparingVision: This biotech company is developing SPVN06, a breakthrough treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa, an orphan retinal disease that is inherited and causes blindness – impacting 2 million patients worldwide. With a single subretinal injection, SPVN06 prevents and stops degeneration of cones photoreceptors, the first step in the disease evolution, which leadsm to total blindness. The first clinical trial will begin in 2020.


2nd Place – Takis: A biotech company stemming from Merck researchers is developing a cancer vaccination. TK-NEO is a patient-specific DNA-based Neoantigen Cancer Vaccine (NCV) for therapeutic vaccination in patients with advanced/metastatic solid cancers. TK-NEO was proven at pre-clinical stage to completely heal a lung cancer in humanized mice in two months. The target is to realize a GMP DNA facility and run a Phase I Clinical Trial before licensing to pharma for a market value of €1.5 billion, based solely on the first application to melanoma.


3rd Place – uFraction8: Developers of a new type of biomass filtration technology that offers significant benefits over the incumbent technologies of pore-based filters and energy intensive centrifuges. This technology can be useful in applications such as biomanufacturing the new breed of cutting-edge medicines. uFraction8 is targeting the biomanufacturing and bio-research markets, where biological cell processing is particularly underserved by existing solutions.


Medtech

1st Place – PKvitality: An advanced bio-wearable company developing K’Watch, a Continuous Glucose Monitoring device in a smartwatch. It measures glucose (blood sugar) levels from the interstitial fluid using microneedles and biosensors.


2nd Place – Gasgon Medical: Develops novel devices to reduce potential for harm and optimise clinical efficiency during delivery of intravenous (IV) medicine. The company is currently engaged in pre-clinical studies for a patent-pending disposable device that is effective in reducing incidence of Vascular Air Embolism (VAE).


3rd Place – Advitos: Developing the only therapy worldwide offering multi-organ support in one single device. ADVOS (Advanced Organ Support), is a truly disruptive technology for highly significant improved survival rates of patients in intensive care units (from an expected 10% to actual 35-50%). It allows combined extracorporeal removal of water-soluble toxins (kidney), protein-bound toxins (liver and kidney) and CO2 (lung).


Digital Health

1st Place – Epihunter: Creates digital solutions that decrease the impact of epilepsy on daily life, while providing real time data and value to users, caregivers and neurologists. Their solution helps identify "absence seizures" which can be confusing for teachers, carers and family. The company recently launched a ground-breaking automated video function and obtained CE Class I medical device marking.


2nd Place – Triumf Health: Offers a personalised approach to improve patient outcomes and empower ill children by delivering behavioural therapeutics through a mobile game. The big data from the game is analysed by the care team; the visual dashboard helps with treatment monitoring, and improves medical visit effectiveness and communication.


3rd Place – inHEART: A cloud-based service leveraging AI to transform medical images into a digital 3D map of the patient's heart. This map contains key information to identify abnormal tissue that is at the origin of electrical disorders. As opposed to current invasive intra-operative electrical diagnostics, the technology enables non-invasive structural diagnostics from pre-operative imaging, saving procedure time and the cost of expensive catheters.


Alex Casta award, based on the audience vote

The winner chosen in this category was Triumf Health, which was the 2nd place winner in the Digital Health category. See above for details.


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