MEDTECH: THROWN INTO THE FRONTLINE AT COLLISION 2021
By Rob Babos
THE ENTIRE WORLD HAS SPENT THE LAST YEAR SPECIALIZING IN VIROLOGY AND EPIDEMIOLOGY. IT’S NO SURPRISE, THEN, THAT MEDTECH STARTUPS HAVE BEEN THRUST INTO THE SPOTLIGHT. HEALTHCARE VENTURE FUNDRAISING SOARED IN 2020, TOTALING US$17 BILLION IN THE US ALONE, BUT WITH AN END TO COVID-19 IN SIGHT, WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE INDUSTRY IN 2021?
At the beginning of the pandemic, non-medical startups all over the world pivoted to making protective equipment, hand sanitizer, ventilators and anything else they could to support the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. In Toronto, the MaRS Covid-19 Coalition was founded, which saw companies focus their resources on producing equipment and protective gear, and offer services ranging from telehealth to food delivery platforms.
As the priorities have shifted a year on, we’ve invited doctors, researchers, investors and founders to Collision to discuss personal health, healthcare, and how tech fits into it all. Here are a few of the HealthConf talks you can catch at Collision.
The future of cancer detection, brought to you by biotech giant Grail. As the company prepares to roll out its early detection blood test, capable of finding and tracing 50 cancers back to their tissue source, CEO Hans Bishop explains how cancer care is poised to change for the better, forever.
A leading voice on healthtech innovation unpacks addiction, trauma, toxicity and broken thinking. Esther Dyson, founder of Wellville, asks if there's a cure for the 'global sickening' of compulsive behaviour, and whether technology is more cure or cause.
Did Covid-19 catch us out? What lessons have we learned? How would – and should – we do things differently next time? Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, will be joined by Sarah Krevans, CEO of Sutter Health, and Slavea Chankova, healthcare correspondent for the Economist, to discuss everything from innovation in immunology to how best to prep the world's hospitals for crises of the future.
2020 was a horrific year for global health, as Covid-19 swept the planet. But even the biggest, darkest cloud has a silver lining. Healthcare and health-tech, in particular, have enjoyed an investment explosion. Three top investors in this space consider the year ahead and where the big bucks are going to go.
MEDTECH STARTUPS IN ATTENDANCE
Here are some of the medtech startups that our team has highlighted as “ones to watch” at this year’s Collision. You can check them all out on our Impact startups page.
Bios Health is a UK-based medtech company developing a neural interface to help doctors and patients understand what is going on in the body. This system uses AI to decode signals between the brain and the body, translating indicators of health issues into actionable insights.
With a better understanding of how our body communicates, Bios Health hopes to improve how early and how effectively physicians detect and treat chronic health conditions, such as heart disease or cancer. This industry-redefining tech has even been recognized by Forbes – the business magazine listed Bios Health as one of the top 15 machine learning companies to watch in Europe, and included the startup’s founders – Emil Hewage and Oliver Armitage – on its prestigious 30 Under 30 list.
Lalibela Global-Networks at Web Summit 2020 (Image: Web Summit)
The Ethiopian startup is undoubtedly going places under CEO Dr Wuleta Lemma. Lalibela Global-Networks offers healthcare software to automate hospital management and reduce day-to-day stationery resources. Streamlining administrative tasks and reducing time spent finding patient files improves the functionality of medical centres while making healthcare more affordable for patients.
These patients rely on their physician’s medical records to speak for them. If that record is lost or inaccurate, that makes providing timely and effective care that much harder. This issue goes beyond just healthcare, too – it’s a question of equitable human rights.
Lalibela Global-Networks joined us at our European event, Web Summit, last December and were crowned the winners of our startup competition PITCH. We’re delighted to welcome Dr Wuleta and her team back to our events.
Medical innovation is slow and costly. It can take several billion dollars and more than a decade to get one new molecule approved. This is the result of a high rate of delays and failures, many of which can be avoided by making better decisions.
Biotech Square is building AI-powered technology to help development teams make the right decisions at the right time. By reducing risks, teams can encourage innovation and help bring patients more options sooner. The startup uses AI technology to help prevent drug development delays and failure, aiming to build AI systems that learn from historical development programs to evaluate options, calculate risks, and make recommendations.
More than two million people worldwide currently receive life-saving dialysis as a bridge to kidney transplant. Nephrodite’s mission is to deliver to the market a fully implantable continuous hemodialysis unit that mitigates the need for time-intensive hemo- and peritoneal dialysis, improves patient quality of life, and reduces per-patient healthcare costs.
The team is developing a fully implantable, mechanical, continuous hemodialysis device designed to be a bridge to transplant for eligible patients and a destination therapy for transplant ineligible patients.
All infectious microbes have a common, essential and irreplaceable need for iron. This is their Achilles’ heel. Pathogenic microbes need additional iron to grow rapidly, reproduce and cause infection. As antibiotic resistant microbes are rendering traditional classes of antibiotics obsolete, Chelation Partners' technology holds promise to attack pathogens through a novel alternative mechanism: iron deprivation.
Chelation Partners has developed a chemical “magnet” that denies the iron access needed by all pathogenic microbes for their growth during infection.
Sponsored content: The views expressed in the post are those of the author