Medical technology for Brussels’ well-being
The closing party for the fifth edition of hub.brussels’ MedTech Accelerator® took place on Thursday 24 September. Since its creation in 2016, this accelerator programme specifically dedicated to the development of medical devices has assisted 43 projects focused on improving the health and well-being of Brussels residents.
How can the medical sector be made more innovative? How can Brussels become an e-health leader? Where do you start to bring a medical device to market that will improve the quality of doctor’s work and patient health? These are all urgent questions hub.brussels addresses with the MedTech Accelerator® via its lifetech.brussels cluster.
“The health sector is facing many challenges. This year, more than ever, events have proven the usefulness and importance of these businesses and the pressing need to search, understand, innovate and share”, said Isabelle Grippa, CEO of hub.brussels, in her introduction.
Two winners for the fifth edition
The MedTech Accelerator® 2020’s first prize went to the SMARCOS start-up, which specialises in building exoskeletons. The project leader, Victor Grosu, was able to develop his network in the MedTech industry thanks to the accelerator. “We made many excellent contacts in the sector. My time at the accelerator gave me a 360° view of the process and I was able to see my project from different angles and perspectives”.
This year, a special prize was exceptionally awarded to DORI (Diagnostic Ocular Regression Interface), which is revolutionising the method used to diagnose Alzheimer’s and memory problems. “The programme enabled us to investigate aspects we weren’t familiar with as scientists. Particularly, the economic aspects related to the development of a new medical device: funding, how to present and sell a project”, explains project leader Arno Libert.
Supporting candidates doesn’t stop with the end of the programme; the cluster continues to support each project leader individually.
A positive social impact
“The current health crisis has severely tested the healthcare sector and highlighted its crucial importance”, emphasises Barbara Trachte, Secretary of State for Economic Transition. “Over the past months, the MedTech Accelerator has demonstrated that Brussels is very innovative, has advanced technology know-how and noble goals. This is what we need, even more now than in previous years”.
One of the MedTech Accelerator’s ultimate aims is to support its candidates in building a more resilient world and a society which is more respectful of the environment, with human beings at its centre, and an economy relocated to where it is needed and flexible enough to adapt quickly in case of emergency.
“To build this new world, we need innovators, people who have ideas and implement them; people who dare. The finalists and winners of this fifth edition of the MedTech Accelerator see beyond technology. They give it meaning by putting it to work for a noble cause: facilitating the life of patients and of healthcare workers”, concluded Barbara Trachte.
Putting Brussels on the world e-health map
The MedTech Accelerator® is also intended to accelerate the innovation potential of medical technology in Brussels and increase the visibility of solutions.
Brussels start-ups in the e-health sector are gaining name recognition beyond our borders. They had real success at the latest EIC Accelerator call for projects for the post-COVID-19 world.
Projects which have been through the MedTech Accelerator and enhanced Brussels’ reputation internationally include Move-Up and its home-based post-surgery rehabilitation solution, Spentys and its personalised 3D-printed braces, as well as Kaspard and its fall detection system.
With the support of the lifetech.brussels cluster and of the ERDF, the MedTech Accelerator® now has an extensive network of 120 specialists. It has made a strong contribution to the emergence of a community in Brussels dedicated to medical devices.
Thanks to its innovative solutions and expertise, which contribute to the well-being of our society, this community is recognised beyond our capital. Its know-how is being exported. It is also beginning to draw ideas, projects and talent from everywhere to Brussels.