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Health Incubator Helsinki is a home for 24 promising teams aiming to turn their health innovations into successful businesses. The first batch of startups was welcomed to the program in 2020, and the second one joined Health Incubator Helsinki in April 2021. Get to know the companies and their innovation below!

Health Incubator Helsinki is seeking dedicated health sector startups and teams for its 5th incubator program

Health Incubator Helsinki is seeking dedicated health sector startups and teams for its 5th incubator program

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Health Incubator Helsinki's logo

Health Incubator Helsinki, Finland’s first incubator program for research-based startups and teams operating in the health sector, is now open for new startups and teams to apply.

 

Health Incubator Helsinki was founded in 2020 by the City of Helsinki in cooperation with the University of Helsinki to support the commercialisation and growth of research innovations towards a successful business.

Health Incubator Helsinki provides its participants tailored support, such as mentoring and expert assistance, as well as networking with investors and industry experts. Startups selected to the program are also provided with access to an office and a co-working space at Terkko Health Hub, located in the heart of Meilahti hospital area in Helsinki. Aside from a small fee collected for the office, the program is free for the participants.

“During the first two months of the program, we focus on providing the new teams with an overall picture of developing an innovation into a finalised product for them to have a good grasp of the basics. After that, we focus on topics related to product development and acquiring funding for the development and piloting phase. After this initial period of two months, our support will be focused on advising each team individually”, Christian Lardot, Incubator Lead at Health Incubator Helsinki, describes the design of the program.

 

Millions of euros in funding collected by startups taking part in the program

 

Health Incubator Helsinki currently has 35 teams taking part in the program. Over the years, participating companies have collected a total of 30 million euros in funding. During the program, teams have focused on acquiring funding, piloting and finalising their product – and achieved significant results.

Startups and teams taking part in the program have been very satisfied with the content of the program. One of these companies is Lapsi Health that wants to transform the way auscultatory sound is used in medicine and pharma-biotech development. The idea is to provide better holistic digital medicine by using sound to create new digital biomarkers. The usage of digital stethoscope and sound can help kids with asthma as you can get alerts about asthma attacks before they occur. Lapsi Health has raised both pre-seed investments, EU grants and direct investments in 2022 and 2023.

“The Health Incubator Helsinki team has been a crucial part of taking our company to the next level from the start. Mentorship, webinars and the Terkko Health Hub has provided us an excellent surrounding for our growth”, Lapsi Health COO Séamus Holohan states.

An other company is AarogyaAI, whose intelligent genomics software aims to identify antibiotic resistance in patients and assist policymakers by predicting future antimicrobial resistance with their AI-powered genomics platform, started in the program last year.

“When thinking about EU expansion, we immediately thought of the Finnish investment ecosystem’s open and receptive atmosphere. If we think of EU, Helsinki needs to be our base. That’s why Health Incubator Helsinki made sense. The team at the incubator is super supportive and helpful in understanding market needs, how to pitch, and particularly the regulatory pathways. When entering a new market as a foreign company, it is important to understand the local ecosystem and its requirements before going to market. Health Incubator Helsinki is actively helping us do that,” comments co-founder and CTO of AarogyaAI Avlokita Tiwari.

 

Seeking innovative ideas and dedicated teams

 

Health Incubator Helsinki is now open for applications for innovative Finnish and international startups and teams in the early stages of their operations for the fifth time now. The application period for Health Incubator Helsinki is 14 February–31 March 2024. The teams invited to interviews will be contacted during week 14, after which 10 startups and teams will be selected to the program that will begin in the end of April.

“In the application phase, we assess whether there is a demand for the innovation, service or product or whether the team is working on something new or just improving existing solutions. Key selection criteria include the team’s competence, experience, dedication and passion. Equally important is that the product must also be internationally scalable”, Christian Lardot states.

 

More information on Health Incubator Helsinki:

Christian Lardot, Incubator Lead, tel. +358 (0)40 195 2639, christian.lardot@hel.fi

Read more about the program: www.healthincubatorhelsinki.com/new-idea

Helsinki’s health & life sciences ecosystem attracts entrepreneurs and investors

Helsinki’s health & life sciences ecosystem attracts entrepreneurs and investors

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People at Radical Health Festival 2023

Supportive startup infrastructure, excellent clinical data, and research innovation in a number of verticals – these attributes are making Helsinki a health & life sciences city to watch.

The golden era of Finnish tech giant Nokia’s mobile-phones business created an exceptional pool of talent in R&D, IT and engineering in Finland. One of the sectors that benefited most is health & life sciences. Finland is now home to some 550 growth companies in this field, more than half of which are located in the capital region.

One of these is Disior. Founded by two former Nokia engineers, the company develops software for 3D medical imaging. It has now been acquired by US orthopaedics company Paragon 28. Disior’s journey from technology startup to acquisition target is testament to the support provided by Helsinki’s health ecosystem.

The company grew out of Terkko Health Hub, the biggest health and life sciences startup hub in the Nordics with more than 60 startups that have collectively raised EUR 90 million in investment. The hub is also home to Health Incubator Helsinki, a three-year incubation program for research-based health startups. The program takes in 10 new promising companies each year. Applications from abroad are considered too.

“The biggest benefit of the incubator program is that we connect startups with investors and other experts who can help businesses to grow. We try to bring in companies that complement Helsinki’s broader health ecosystem and that we believe can be commercially successful,” says Incubator Lead Christian Lardot.

Startup support meets research excellence

Helsinki offers a wide range of public-sector support mechanisms for health & life sciences startups. The ecosystem is designed to help companies all the way from their initial research phase, through finding investment, and ultimately to international growth.

For funding, the first port-of-call for entrepreneurs is often Finland’s government-run growth agency Business Finland. Between 2015 and 2023 the organisation provided almost EUR 230 million in support to under 6 years old startup companies with health & life sciences projects. In year 2022 the total amounted to EUR 28 million.

Business Helsinki helps entrepreneurs to get started in the capital region. The organisation provides advisory services on establishing a business, and introduces founders to the right innovation hubs. Business Helsinki can also identify suitable pilot projects that startups can participate in.

Many startups grow out of projects conducted within Helsinki’s tight-knit research community of Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and Finland’s national research institute VTT. The innovation flow is continuous: Between 2020 and 2023, closer to 30 health and life sciences projects stemming from these institutions received research to business funding from Business Finland.

Another organisation supporting research teams is SPARK Finland. The program is designed to increase the maturity of academic and clinical discoveries towards practical and value creating solutions in the health tech and life science space.

Juha Paakkola is the Director of Health Capital Helsinki, another public body supporting the local ecosystem. He says the broad digitisation of Finland’s health data makes the country a compelling location for researchers.

“Finland has an extremely strong database of health records, electronic patient records, as well as an enabling legislation for the secondary use of healthcare data in research. This provides an excellent basis for companies looking to develop advanced solutions for healthcare, including those that use artificial intelligence,” says Paakkola.

HUS Helsinki University Hospital – which provides secondary care to almost two million citizens of Finland – collects all its patient data in a single data lake. CleverHealth Network is a co-development ecosystem connecting HUS researchers and companies to develop joint innovations of this data. Testing Environments and Expert Services for Companies in the Field of Health and Medical Technology are provided by Health Proof Helsinki.

Paakkola acknowledges that Finland’s health & life sciences ecosystem is younger and smaller than similar clusters in Sweden and Denmark. But he maintains this absence of legacy opens Helsinki up to more diversity in terms of the research that startups conduct.

“The other Nordic countries have strong ecosystems built around massive companies operating in specific fields. A lot of innovation gets pulled in those directions,” says Paakkola.

“Here in Finland we have more of a blank slate for entrepreneurs, so we see startups exploring a range of different verticals.”

“Finnish biobanks are another strength. We have fewer biobanks than other Nordic countries, and Finnish biobanks have common collaboration ecosystem Fingenius, making the access easy for researchers,” he adds.

Investors find startup diversity in Helsinki

One of the most promising startup companies from Helsinki is Nanoform, a nanoparticle drug-delivery platform company that is listed on Nasdaq First North Premier Growth Market both in Finland and Sweden.   

Another notable Helsinki startup is Aiforia, an AI imaging-analytics platform for pathologists and scientists. The company has now struck a proof-of-concept deal with the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota among others, and is being listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market Finland.

Worth mentioning is also Noona, a solution originally designed to support cancer patients. It was spun out from University of Helsinki in 2018 and acquired by Varian, which in turn was later acquired by Siemens Healthcare.

More startups to watch are precision-radiotherapy developer MVision AI, and the non-invasive glucose-monitoring solution GlucoModicum. In quantum-computing, Algorithmiq is looking to the future with complex algorithms aimed at solving life-sciences challenges. In addition to these there are several other interesting innovations and startups in Helsinki Metropolitan region.

“Health and life sciences investors are typically focused on specific disease areas or treatment protocols. As the startups in the Helsinki ecosystem represent so many different sub-sectors of health and life sciences, there’s a lot for investors to choose from here,” says Lardot.

International investors looking to participate in Helsinki’s health ecosystem also enjoy strong local support. Tesi is a state-owned body that makes direct investments into health and life sciences startups and funds. In 2022, Tesi invested EUR 151 million in 41 Finnish companies.

The sector also features strongly in the portfolios of several Finnish investment firms, including Innovestor, Voima Ventures, Icebreaker.vc, and others. According to the Finnish Venture Capital Association, a total of EUR 48 million was invested by VC investors (Finnish and international) in 21 biotech and healthcare companies in 2022. The health sector represented 10% of total VC investments of EUR 484 million in Finnish companies in 2022.

Ecosystem leaders like Lardot and Paakkola place a great deal of emphasis on matching investors with potential startups. Monthly meetings are organised where entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas. Some initiatives also bring together startups from across the broader Nordic and Baltic region. Lardot says this wider approach is valued by investors looking to grow their portfolios.

“We recognise that for an investor to find the right kind of startup – both in terms of its development stage and the therapeutic area it targets – it’s often necessary to scan through all the innovation from all countries in the geographic region,” he says.

“Bringing partners or investors into the Nordics usually plays out well for everyone. We have a lot of high-quality companies here doing great things, so I encourage all interested to be in contact and come and take a look,” says Lardot.

Interested?
Contact Christian Lardot, Incubator Lead, Health Incubator Helsinki
christian.lardot@hel.fi, tel. +358 40 195 2639

Text: Andrew Flowers Photo: Messukeskus / Radical Health Festival

 

R2therapies unveils potential prognostic key for Alzheimer’s

R2therapies unveils potential prognostic key for Alzheimer’s

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Brain & stethoscope

A biomarker is a measurable indicator of a specific biological state or condition, such as elevated body temperature signaling an infection. Biomarkers can also possess predictive capabilities, like high cholesterol levels indicating an elevated risk of heart disease. R2therapies has recently identified a potential biomarker in the blood of Alzheimer’s disease patients, offering insight into the likelihood of developing severe symptoms. The R2therapies team has been accepted into the 2023 Health Incubator Helsinki incubation program.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by cognitive decline, memory loss, and behavioral changes. It is the most common cause of dementia, with no existing cure. Moreover, Alzheimer’s is a heterogeneous disease, with varying underlying causes and disease progression. This makes it difficult to predict which pre-Alzheimer’s patients end up with the most severe form of the disease. It is also a challenge for pharmaceutical companies who may miss detecting meaningful treatment responses during clinical trials possibly due to participant heterogeneity. R2therapies tackles these challenges with a biomarker that not only predicts the likelihood of Alzheimer’s, but identifies the risk of severe dementia. This capability stems from R2therapies’ team’s biological discoveries.

A technical problem was actually an unexpected scientific discovery

In Kuopio, Finland, a team of scientists studying brain cells encountered unexpected results during a routine experiment. Although initially perceived as a technical problem hindering their research, further investigation revealed the occurrence to be a genuine biological phenomenon and a prospective novel therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s that their team recently published. This phenomenon, identified through extensive review of scientific literature, appears to be a physiological property of red blood cells which has not been linked to Alzheimer’s disease before. “We connected these findings and analyzed patient samples from Kuopio university hospital, and showed that the same mechanism is also affected in the red blood cells of Alzheimer’s patients that revealed a previously unidentified feature related to Alzheimer’s disease – one that we are looking to translate into a biomarker to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s, and possibly to stratify the patients into distinct subsets that may in the future benefit from different treatments. It is fair to say that R2therapies is a the results of a chain of coincidences. It all started as a drug development project,” R2therapies co-founder, Ilkka Fagerlund, shares.

R2therapies_team

Tarja Malm, Rashid Giniatullin and Ilkka Fagerlund.

From research-use to clinical reality

Existing biomarkers for Alzheimer’s are related to the symptoms of the disease, and can often be detected once it’s too late. A kit that could diagnose patients before the onset of symptoms means that the patient can start receiving treatment sooner. The R2therapies team is still uncovering the biological reasons behind the presence of their new biomarker. In addition to continuing the validation in early Alzheimer’s patients, they are also exploring the behavior of the biomarker in other neurodegenerative diseases, such as frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body disease and Parkinson’s disease to understand the biomarker’s differential diagnosis potential. The first step towards clinical use-case will be to develop the biomarker analysis kit for research-use for clinical doctors who also conduct academic research, and with rigorous validation it could potentially be available as an approved diagnostic tool.

Health Incubator Helsinki supports scientists in business

Incubator programs like Health Incubator Helsinki are a game-changer for researchers who do not typically receive business training. “Health Incubator Helsinki stands out as a comprehensive program from which I have learned a lot,” Fagerlund says, “I remember a particularly good seminar about contracts. I was surprised that there are so many different types such as shareholder agreements, client agreements, and so on.” As the team is still starting out and the development is in its initial phase, the company is  looking for investments. To support their goals, Health Incubator Helsinki connected the R2therapies team with investors. The team expects to gain a lot from the various opportunities, webinars, and events organized by Health Incubator Helsinki. Moreover, the incubator program advisors have the expertise and experience to transition R2therapies’ innovation into a market-ready kit. This involves leveraging the program’s expertise and network for clinical validation, and navigating regulatory considerations. For further information on getting involved with R2therapies, please refer to the contact information below.

Contact information for R2therapies
ilkka.fagerlund@uef.fi

Logo of R2therapies

Startup Fast Facts

Name: R2therapies Oy

Tech in one sentence: New biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease

Product: Blood test to identify risk of developing severe Alzheimer’s disease

Target market launch: 2028

Founded: 2022

Team size: <10

Funding status: Looking to raise the seed investment in 2026

Text: Rita Turpin, Giuliano Didio
Pictures: Ilkka Fagerlund; Pixabay

Cardiolyse enables real-time remote heart health monitoring

Cardiolyse enables real-time remote heart health monitoring

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Heart rate monitor watch

Remote health monitoring has the potential to reduce the burden on the healthcare system. Cardiolyse technology incorporates a patient’s personal medical and lifestyle history, with 70 years of existing heart data across different ages, sexes, and ethnicities to create a personalized heart health report. Cardiolyse has been selected for the 2023 Health Incubator Helsinki (HIH) program.

The cornerstone of Cardiolyse’s innovative approach is its smart remote heart health monitoring platform. This platform not only provides a detailed report to healthcare providers, but also offers patients an easy-to-understand heart-health risk assessment. Patients can now take an active role in their heart health by conducting an initial evaluation themselves. This is a game-changer for the industry, where a scarcity of heart professionals and the rising number of patients have become major concerns. Cardiolyse technology stands out due to the extent of the evaluation which includes input from all known cardiac parameters and nervous system responses like the “fight or flight” (sympathetic) response, and the “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) response. 

Cardiolyse re-located to Finland from Ukraine

Cardiolyse was originally founded in 2015 in Ukraine by cardiologist, Illya Chaikovsky, and computer and data scientist, Anna Starynska. At this point they were already familiar with the issues of difficult-to-interpret heart data, and the burden heart monitoring places on cardiologists. They applied for the Vertical Health Accelerator in Helsinki, and were invited to relocate to Finland in 2017. For the past seven years, they have been on a mission to provide the best remote detection of cardiac abnormalities. They do this by incorporating heart monitoring data from the clinics or at-home devices, which comes in the form of an electrocardiogram (ECG), into a cloud-based AI algorithm.

Currently, Cardiolyse is onboarding a new CEO, Niina Vilkas, a clinician with a background in open heart surgeries, anesthesiology, and medical device businesses. “Cardiolyse combines everything I have dreamed about. It is a cardiac-based medical software. It has AI-based technology. It’s a startup with a small team. I am looking forward to working with the team and building the company into something extraordinary,” Vilkas says. “Every member in this team is extremely professional in their own areas of expertise. They are passionate, and very committed to the company and its vision,” Vilkas continues.

Cardiolyse team

Anna Starynska, Niina Vilkas and Illya Chaikovsky.

Cardiolyse enables heart health monitoring between doctors visits

The Cardiolyse universal electrocardiogram (ECG) scoring system can help follow up heart failure patients after myocardial infarction, as well as, patients of ischemic stroke and atrial fibrillation. In addition to the technology, the team focuses on providing services to physicians to follow up on patients with chronic conditions. In practical terms, this means that patients who leave the doctors are no longer left wondering how their heart is performing until their next visit. 

“When a patient takes a measurement at home with Cardiolyse, the patient can also report the symptoms. The measurement coupled with the symptoms is sent to the nurse or physician with a notification that says ‘there are no reported symptoms or abnormalities’. Or ‘reported symptoms: dizziness, and abnormalities detected,” Starynska explains. 

Physicians can receive updates of a patient’s heart status in an easy-to-read format, potentially reducing the number of physical visits overall. Vilkas adds, “All the data has already been gathered and automatically analyzed, so the doctor doesn’t need to use their time to do that, and they can focus on the patients instead.”

Cardiolyse measurements are device agnostic, meaning the readings can be taken with any existing ECG hardware. Additional health parameters from smartwatches, like blood pressure and pulse oxidation, and existing medications can also be incorporated into the algorithm for a more personalized and accurate risk assessment. 

The Health Incubator Helsinki program is tailored to fit the needs of each team

The Cardiolyse team applied to HIH for access to a broad pool of potential customers, health care providers, investors, and other stakeholders that the business needs to interact with. However, what they are receiving is so much more. Cardiolyse now has access to experts in software development, validation, certification, IPR, sales, and marketing among others. Additionally, the team can attend weekly webinars, review meetings, and receive information about potential funding. The Cardiolyse team sees their previous business experience as an advantage during the first months within the HIH program, “When expertise is provided to you, experience helps to digest it all and to convert it into advantages for your company,” Starynska says. 

The HIH program is customized based on the individual needs of each selected team to maximize the odds of success. HIH is supporting Cardiolyse in their goal of accessing the global market due to the nature of their services, which is not connected to any local language, but data from healthcare. Their business-2-business model provides analytics to telemedicine companies, hospitals, device manufacturers, and electrocardiogram device manufacturers.

The Cardiolyse team is currently looking for funding. They have an open round to bridge investments to reach series A within one year. Series A funding is the next stage following seed funding. To help the team reach their €0.5M goal, reach out to Cardiolyse with the contact information below:

Contact information for Cardiolyse team:
Niina Vilkas
niina.vilkas@cardiolyse.com

Logo of Cardiolyse

Startup Fast Facts

Name: Cardiolyse

Tech in one sentence: AI-based platform for the prediction of heart disease risk

Product: Personalized reports, detection and up to two months data-based prognosis on dangerous heart events

Target market launch: 2021

Founded: 2015 (Ukraine), 2017 (Finland)

Team size: 12

Website: cardiolyse.com

Funding raised: 1.7M since 2017

Text: Rita Turpin, Giuliano Didio
Header: Pixabay
Team picture: Niina Vilkas, Cardiolyse.com

CorFlux software has potential to save patients from aortic rupture

CorFlux software has potential to save patients from aortic rupture

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Hand holding a phone, stethoscope on the background

No one has successfully developed a way to assess whether a weakened area of the aorta will rupture. CorFlux may change this global healthcare challenge with software under development. The CorFlux team has been selected as part of the Health Incubator Helsinki 2023 incubator program.

A thoracic aortic aneurysm is a weakened area in the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso. This area may bulge and rupture resulting in internal bleeding, which is almost always fatal. Fortunately, for the majority of patients the aneurysm remains stable. Unfortunately, there is no risk assessment tool to separate patients with low rupture risk from patients with moderate to high rupture risk. CorFlux business developer, Tero Puustinen, shares the current situation, “Every aortic aneurysm patient is followed up with expensive and time-consuming medical imaging, placing a burden on global healthcare, with an annual expenditure exceeding 3 billion euros worldwide”. Even with this follow-up, many patients die before reaching the medical benchmark at which point preventive (and therefore life-saving) surgery is even considered. The CorFlux aortic aneurysm rupture risk analysis software will utilize numerical algorithms aimed to create an accurate risk assessment, decreasing the amount of follow-ups for low-risk patients, and shifting resources to save moderate-to-high risk patients.

Diverse in-depth expertise to maximize success

The CorFlux team came to be when adjunct professor in mathematics, Matti Kurki, discussed  calculations related to the aorta with his friend. He was advised to get in touch with cardiologist and professor, Marja Hedman, who was – and is-  leading a research group specializing on aortic aneurysms. Several fruitful discussions eventually led to the innovation, which eventually led to the formation of a multi-professional team with expertise in cardiology, heart surgery, physics, mathematics as well as commercialization, regulation and software development. The CorFlux team is currently working together with universities and physicians to completely change the aneurysms field. In addition to organic networks, through the Health Incubator Helsinki program, CorFlux team also utilizes expertise of other esteemed professionals from the healthcare industry who offer valuable advice on strengthening their business proposition, ensuring financial stability, and establishing a network of advisors.

CorFlux Team
Nora Rauhala, Pasi Karjalainen, Matti Kurki, Marja Hedman, Saara Sillanmäki and Tero Puustinen

CorFlux technology will be made scalable, with new directions in mind from the beginning

The implications of CorFlux’s aortic rupture risk assessment software could be revolutionary, and totally unique. No one in the world has come up with a solution to this unmet medical need, and this is just the beginning for the team. Health Incubator Helsinki is there to support the team in this critical period, providing guidance for making their business case solid and sustainable. With personalized strategies to go-to-market and stay-on-market, the CorFlux team may expand their product to additionally evaluate the rupture risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms in the future, potentially tripling the markets with over 15 million abdominal aortic aneurysm patients globally.

Health Incubator Helsinki’s knowledge and ambition prevent typical business pitfalls

The CorFlux team applied to the Health Incubator Helsinki program to gain insight on the commercialization of health and medical startups. Although the team is currently in the commercialization phase, they are considering establishing CorFlux as a company. In the meantime, the team is fully taking advantage of the Health Incubator Helsinki program’s expert advisors, business services, founder talks, demo days and regular workshops and webinars which cover a wide range of topics chosen to prepare teams and startups in key business areas like brand building and investment strategies. The teams get peer to peer support from the other incubator teams with similar interest, as well. With all the support from the program and fellow health innovators, Puustinen expects the transition from research to business to be smooth, “When the road twists and turns, great coaching and sparring will help you drive much faster.” To get in touch with the next potential Finnish unicorn, use the contact information below!

CorFlux contact information: tero.puustinen@uef.fi

Logo of CorFlux

Startup Fast Facts

Name: CorFlux

Tech in one sentence: Computational tool that aims to give an estimate of the risk of aortic rupture.

Product: Clinical software for the assessment of the risk of rupture due to an aneurysm

Target market launch: After CE approval approximately 2025

Founded: Research to business project funded by Business Finland project since 2022

Team size: 7

Website: https://uefconnect.uef.fi/tutkimusryhma/corflux/

Funding raised: 650 000€ Business Finland research to business grant

Text: Rita Turpin, Giuliano Didio

Photos: Tero Puustinen / CorFlux, Pixabay

Health Incubator Helsinki teams up with AstraZeneca in the Exchange Nordics mentoring program

Health Incubator Helsinki teams up with AstraZeneca in the Exchange Nordics mentoring program

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Woman working in a lab environment

The newly-announced collaboration provides Health Incubator Helsinki startups with access to AstraZeneca’s extensive networks and resources – speeding up innovations and sustainable growth.

In 2017, AstraZeneca, a global pharmaceutical company operating in more than 100 countries, introduced a mentorship program tailored specifically for Nordic startups. Known as the Exchange Nordics, the program connects entrepreneurs with AstraZeneca’s pool of experts, offering advice on both scientific and commercial matters. 

AstraZeneca has already established collaborations with over 10 startup incubators and academic innovation programs across the Nordics. As of September 2023, Health Incubator Helsinki has become the latest addition to this expanding network.

– We are proud to start the collaboration with AstraZeneca’s Exchange Nordic mentoring program for our community companies. This partnership with a leading pharmaceutical company unlocks access to industry experts and to information that is often challenging to find elsewhere. The insights from the experts will enable Health Incubator Helsinki startups to make more informed decisions and broaden their understanding of international markets,” says Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Lead.

– We strongly believe that innovation is a collaborative endeavour and the earlier we can share knowledge and support growth of the Nordic Life Science ecosystem, the better. By adding Health Incubator Helsinki to our growing network of incubators, we add further diversity and strength to this initiative, says Magnus Björsne, CEO of AstraZeneca BioVentureHub.

Photo: AstraZeneca

MediVerse brings a doctor to your fingertips 24/7

MediVerse brings a doctor to your fingertips 24/7

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A laptop screen with a picture of a man wearing a stethoscope

Access to healthcare goes beyond building hospitals and hiring doctors. MediVerse aims to bring convenient and affordable healthcare at all hours. Their team is a part of the 2023 Health Incubator Helsinki program.

Health technology is increasingly empowering patients to take charge of their own health. For example, wearable devices not only collect information on activity and sleep, but can also be used to continuously measure blood sugar levels or heart health among other health factors. MediVerse is creating a platform where patients can integrate health data from wearable devices with the patient’s own medical history. Artificial intelligence will then analyze the information and provide the patient with real-time suggestions to improve their health. Additionally, through the platform patients who wish to consult with a healthcare professional directly can do so 24/7, instantly providing necessary medical information to the doctor through a user-friendly interface.

Getting doctors onboard with telemedicine

The healthcare platform from MediVerse has been designed predominantly with healthcare professionals in mind, allowing them to provide optimal care with ease. As an example, the platform includes an automated alert system that warns physicians against prescribing medications containing allergen-containing ingredients. Significantly, the platform is being developed in a way that ensures healthcare providers in different time zones can easily access the system, allowing meaningful patient care even in the odd hours. MediVerse is focusing on markets where smartphone penetration is high and the healthcare system is not strong enough. This enables patients to reach healthcare providers easily and reduces the load on the national health system.

Ahmed Anwar Hasan and Mahmood Ulhaq, founders of MediVerse

Ahmed Anwar Hasan and Mahmood Ulhaq, founders of MediVerse.

An emergency solution with room for innovation

Co-founders, Mahmood Ulhaq and Ahmed Anwar Hasan, are already testing their telehealth platform in Bangladesh, where a simple trip to the doctor 20km away can take 3-5 hours due to heavy traffic. This can discourage patients from visiting a doctor with severe negative consequences on their health. Ulhaq adds that the patient’s benefits are also financial depending on where their doctor is located, “Seeing a doctor in Bangladesh costs $10-$12 , while a doctor in Tanzania charges $25 to $35”. Decreased stress on the local healthcare system and healthier citizens create space for economic growth.

The sky’s the limit in health tech

MediVerse is setting up their head office in Finland, and was advised by Business Finland to apply for the Health Incubator Helsinki program for guidance and support on monitoring and adhering to the strict regulations in Europe. “When we got in, we knew it was the right decision,” Ulhaq laughs. The team was provided with a place to start working, but also much more beyond their original expectations. Even with the team’s extensive experience in corporate culture, for example, Health Incubator Helsinki still provided opportunities to pick the minds of investors and other stakeholders. MediVerse’s small and passionate team is now working towards a clear vision, and hopes to incorporate other health tech solutions into their platform inspired by their experience within the program. “There are multiple opportunities through Health Incubator Helsinki. They communicate and network with others, and bring other companies and organizations together in many events,” Ulhaq says. “In fact, until I became part of Health Incubator Helsinki I never knew that there are other companies around me which we can bring in.” Currently, MediVerse is looking for investors and collaborators to revolutionize healthcare while making a social impact. To get involved with this meaningful venture, use the contact information below.

MediVerse contact person: mahmood@mediversefi.com

Logo of Mediverse

Startup Fast Facts

Name: MediVerse Oy

Tech in one sentence: AI-powered telemedicine platform to empower patients to be in charge of their health 24/7

Product: An online platform to facilitate secure and user-friendly consultation between patients and healthcare providers, as well as enable remote healthcare management. 

Target market launch: January 2024

Founded: 2023

Team size: 6 in total, 2 founders

Website: http://www.mediversefi.com

Funding raised: Bootstrapped 120K USD 

Text: Rita Turpin, Giuliano Didio

Photos: Mahmood Ulhaq / MediVerse, Pixabay

HATO brings AI to healthcare by improving detection and interpretation of heart problems

HATO brings AI to healthcare by improving detection and interpretation of heart problems

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Cardiogram

A surprising proportion of professionals within the healthcare industry find heart monitoring readouts difficult to interpret without help from extensively trained cardiologists. Instead of creating a solution for cardiologists, HATO aims to make everyone a cardiologist. HATO has been selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki 2023 program.

Smart watches and other health monitoring devices are often equipped with sensors to understand fitness levels, sleep patterns, and other aspects of health. A much more powerful, diagnostic version of these electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors is used to detect heart problems. However, the information generated by these advanced sensors is highly complex, requiring interpretation of 12 layers of information from a single series of lines going up and down. As a result, a study shows that 68.5% of heart failure patients are misdiagnosed by their general practitioner. 

HATO’s functional AI overcomes existing error-prone automatic diagnostic suggestions

HATO CEO, Steffen Yndal, further highlights the extent of the ECG-interpretation landscape, “our data show that only 2% of users trust the automated suggestions and only ⅓ trust their own interpretations. The remaining ⅔ usually try to get a second opinion from a cardiologist. Then you can imagine how busy cardiologists can be” says Yndal. HATO’s solution is to collect data directly from existing hospital hardware and analyze it  within seconds with HATO’s advanced AI, utilizing pre-existing capabilities of many modern software programs to retrieve information from servers. The results are then displayed within the company’s user-friendly software, displaying a 3D image of where a potential heart problem may be.

The HATO team

From left to right: Jia Wei Koh, Mostafa Mansour, Malthe Reipurth, Steffen Yndal, Sara Hansen, Louise Huynh and Daniel Hviid.

An interdisciplinary team with research, tech, and business expertise

Equipped with many years of experience in the field as a paramedic, Yndal co-founded HATO along with management consultant and IT strategist Stefan Johansen (COO), and the highly skilled stack developer, Malthe Reiputh (CTO). To complete the concept of a mixed commercial and research-based startup, the trio also invited along a postdoctoral researcher in human physiology, Anne Sofie Malling. These days the team also includes people working with regulatory affairs, researchers, and cardiologists, as well as more tech people. Yndel affirms, “This means that we have many perspectives on our case and is actually the most important part of our team.”

Call for investors and collaborators

Finland has an increasing focus on health tech, along with accessible health data and know-how to test the validity of HATO’s innovations. By utilizing the vast networks and expertise of the advisors within the Health Incubator Helsinki program, the company hopes to attract investors for an initial pre-seed fund of 400.000€. Moreover, as AI in healthcare is still developing,  the company is looking to collect more evidence in collaboration with ambulance services, key opinion leaders, and hospitals to assist in clinical validation. Importantly, there will also be a need for strategic cooperation with ECG providers, hardware providers who could implement the HATO software. If you’re interested in being part of the future of cardiology, get in contact! 

Contact information: sy@hatomedicaltechnologies.com

Logo of HATO Medical Technologies

Startup Fast Facts

Name: HATO Medical Technologies

Tech in one sentence: Empowering cardiology with advanced AI and an intuitive software for the early detection and precise diagnostics

Product: Intuitive software utilizing advanced AI for the early detection and precise diagnosis of heart problems

Target market launch: End of 2024

Founded: 2021

Team size: 8

Website: hatomedicaltechnologies.com

Funding raised: No external funding. 160 000€ in soft funds.

Text: Rita Turpin, Giuliano Didio

Photos: HATO Medical Technologies, Pixabay

AarogyaAI’s intelligent genomics identifies and predicts antimicrobial resistance

AarogyaAI’s intelligent genomics identifies and predicts antimicrobial resistance

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DNA molecules

Antibiotic resistance is a growing global threat. AarogyaAI’s intelligent genomics software aims to identify antibiotic resistance in patients and assist policymakers by predicting future antimicrobial resistance with their AI-powered genomics platform. AarogyaAI has been selected as one of the companies in the 2023 Health Incubator Helsinki program.

In 2018, roughly 23% of the world’s population was infected by the bacteria causing tuberculosis. To treat tuberculosis infection, patients need to undergo up to six months of antibiotic treatments with huge side effects — and because of antimicrobial resistance, it might not even work. But what if a doctor could choose the right combination of the 19 available antibiotics the first time, and save patients months of unnecessary, often debilitating treatment?

Predicting resistance to get the right drugs to the right patients

This is the problem that AarogyaAI set out to solve. Aarogya, meaning “good health” in Sanskrit, was founded in 2019 by Avlokita Tiwari and Praapti Jayaswal. With a PhD focused on tuberculosis studies (Jayaswal) and masters in bioinformatics with research in antimicrobial resistance (Tiwari), they realized they could predict drug resistance using artificial intelligence and DNA sequence information from the bacteria infecting patients. “We list out the drug resistance of a particular pathogen so we can give a complete report to the clinician about which drug not to give the patient” says founder and CTO Tiwari. “Where our solution can make the most difference is in economically weak areas, so patients can get treated quickly and efficiently and their families don’t have to give up all of their savings for long treatments” adds Nidhi Misra, head of PR and communications.

Avlokita Tiwari and Praapti Jayaswal, founders of AarogyAI

Avlokita Tiwari and Praapti Jayaswal, founders of AarogyaAI.

COVID-19 as a model of infectious disease surveillance

When the company was founded in 2019, founders Tiwari and Jayaswal found that people didn’t immediately understand the usefulness of sequencing the DNA of infectious diseases. But following the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive effort in genomic surveillance of variant strains, “People started to understand what we were talking about” says Tiwari. Besides getting the right drugs to the right patients, information on genetic variants associated with drug resistance are key for policies of the United Nations and World Health Organization, “So they can have an idea of where diseases are spreading. That gives a lot of information about drug distribution, what to target next, and areas of development” says Tiwari. This information is also important for pharmaceutical companies, to know how to better design new drugs that get around antibiotic resistance.

Health Incubator Helsinki opens doors to the Finnish ecosystem

With the pathogen identification process from DNA samples validated and a clinical trial wrapping up at one of the biggest hospitals in India, what is in the future for AarogyaAI? “At the moment we are in the middle of our next fundraising round” says Tiwari. “We are looking at a couple of commercial contracts and global expansion.” When thinking about EU expansion, Finnish resident Tiwari immediately thought of the Finnish investment ecosystem’s open and receptive atmosphere. “If we think of EU, Helsinki needs to be our base!” says Tiwari. “That’s why Health Incubator Helsinki made sense. The team at the incubator is super supportive and helpful in understanding market needs, how to pitch, and particularly the regulatory pathways. When entering a new market as a foreign company, it is important to understand the local ecosystem and its requirements before going to market. Health Incubator Helsinki is actively helping us do that.” If you’re interested in supporting AarogyaAI, joining one of their open positions or collaborating on a clinical study, get in contact with the information below!

AarogyaAI contact: Praapti Jayaswal, praapti@aarogya.ai

Logo of AarogyaAI

Startup Fast Facts

Name: AarogyaAI

Tech in one sentence: AarogyaAI uses intelligent genomics and AI to combat antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases

Product: AAICare: Rapid antimicrobial resistance diagnosis software

Target market launch: October 2023

Founded: 2019

Team size: 20

Website: aarogya.ai

Funding raised: 855,000 USD

Text: Lea Urpa, Giuliano Didio

Photos: AarogyaAI, Pixabay 

AI2AI aims to revolutionize digital interaction

AI2AI aims to revolutionize digital interaction

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The PALL0 smart ball boosts physical and social activity.

Despite the advantages of technology, there is a significant mental and physical cost to increased screen time. AI2AI aims to revolutionize digital interaction to create active, screenless, and intuitive interactions with digital tech. AI2AI has been selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki  2023 program.

Digitalization has revolutionized society in the last decades, but this comes at the cost of a sedentary lifestyle. In Europe alone, this costs an estimated 80+ billion euros per year— a mental and physical cost many discovered during the coronavirus lockdowns. Helsinki- and Turku-based AI2AI is an ambitious company that aims to change this with the development of the PALL0 smart ball and its novel and active screenless interface.

“We want to get people to interact and move for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, by rewarding movements and person-to-person interactions. To achieve this we offer gamification technology to our B2B client network, giving analog health service companies the ability to digitalize their services for their customers.”

PALL0 isn’t just a smart device, but a novel platform

AI2AI’s PALL0 is an advanced smart ball packed with motion and environmental sensing, audio, and haptic sensors that allows for intuitive, screenless digital interaction. As founder Henrik Terävä says, “We wanted to develop technology which has an inherent positive expected value for your wellbeing – the more you use it, the better it is for you.” But AI2AI hasn’t just developed the PALL0 smart ball itself, they are also creating a platform where any developer can create apps for the PALL0. And thanks to generative AI models, you won’t even need to know how to code. As founder Harry Choreus elaborates, “With PALL0 any business can come up with an idea to digitalize their service in minutes instead of long and expensive development times. Our programming environment enables businesses to develop and test new service ideas immediately.”

“In the same way you have Google Play and AppStore for phones, in the future you would have an app store for PALL0 where you will find different apps for action and interaction.”

AI2AI team

AI2AI core team. From left to right: Riku Klén, Henrik Terävä, Harry Choreus, Timo Soukka.

A chance meeting between an engineer and a movie director

Company founders Henrik Terävä, with a background in technical hardware and software, and Harry Choreus, a movie director and visual storyteller, met in Asia ten years ago. At the time they noticed how everyone seemed attached to their screens, and speculated on the negative impact on themselves and their families, starting the seed of the idea for AI2AI. With the addition of Riku Klén as an AI expert and Timo Soukka as a hardware specialist rounding out the technical expertise, the versatility of the team has enabled their successes with the PALL0 pilot so far.

“Now we want to go even further with a more mature version of PALL0. We joined HIH because we believe it will take us to the core of the health and wellness community, helping us to quickly find the best partners, customers, and investors.”

Reducing rehabilitation time for stroke patients

Following the pilot test of PALL0 beta and an early bird presale that completely sold out, Terävä and the rest of the team are further developing the app platform and use cases with partners. One exciting use case is a clinical trial on reducing rehabilitation time for stroke patients, in cooperation with the largest rehabilitation hospital in Norway. PALL0 allows patients to do exercises anywhere, at any time by speaking instructions to the patient and measuring compressive force, lift height of the hand, and walking distance. It also provides positive feedback by showing happy emotions when exercises are done on time and correctly.

Call for innovators and investors

Engaging training programs like the stroke rehabilitation project can be easily customized based on individual user or customer needs, and AI2AI is looking for more health and wellness service company innovators to develop extraordinary apps for PALL0. They have also raised 800 000 EUR in funding and are looking for new investors in the second testing phase and market launch. Get in contact if you want to be a part of the future of digital interaction!

Logo of Ai2Ai

Startup Fast Facts

Name: AI2AI (pronounced eye-to-eye)

Tech in one sentence: The PALL0 smart ball boosts physical and social activity, allowing businesses to digitalize and gamify traditional services in the well-being and health sector and deploy ideas in minutes instead of weeks with visual programming and generative AI.

Product: PALL0 smart ball & data and development platform

Target market launch: 2024

Founded: Company founded 2017, PALL0 project born in 2020

Team size: 4 core team members

Website: ai2ai.fi

Funding raised: 800,000 EUR

Health Incubator Helsinki startups secured €10.3M in funding during the first half of 2023

Health Incubator Helsinki startups secured €10.3M in funding during the first half of 2023

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We’re proud to share the recent funding news of three Health Incubator Helsinki companies: Lapsi Health, CurifyLabs and MedicubeX.

Finnish startups have been achieving remarkable success in fundraising year after year, and 2022 was no exception. According to the report published by The Finnish Venture Capital Association (FVCA), Finnish startups raised a record-breaking 1.8 billion euros in capital last year.

Despite the potential impact of economic uncertainty on the startup ecosystem, including challenges in securing funding and a decrease in the number of new startups, the first half of 2023 has proven to be successful for Health Incubator Helsinki companies. By the end of June, our startups have already secured 10.3 million euros in financing.

“It is encouraging to follow the progress of the startups in our program, continuing to attract substantial funding and grants to develop their concepts. This is a proof that the companies work on business innovations that will have an impact on the therapeutic areas they work on,” says Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Lead.

Lapsi Health's logo

$3.7M funding sets the stage for Lapsi Health’s entry into the US market

Dutch startup Lapsi Health kicked off 2023 with an exciting announcement. After securing €700k in pre-seed funding and winning the Eurostars development grant worth €1M in 2022, the company announced a seed round of 3.7 million dollars.

Lapsi Health is working on the development of sound-based medical technology and software tools to empower clinicians at the point of care and to enhance remote consultations. The new funding will fuel the company’s technological development, help in acquiring FDA certification, and pave the way for entry into the US market.

Curify's logo

EIC grant boosts CurifyLabs’ progress in advancing 3D printing of personalized medicines

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme recently awarded funding to several deeptech companies, combining grants and equity. Among the 32 companies selected from a pool of 476 applications, CurifyLabs, a startup from Health Incubator Helsinki, was one of the companies receiving funding from EIC.

CurifyLabs, a Finnish healthtech company, specializes in developing 3D printing solutions for personalized medicine. Their unique MiniLab technology has already undergone successful pilots in multiple European markets, including Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. With a grant of 2.5 million euros, the company aims to standardize the process of developing 3D printing compatible pharmaceutical formulations and quality control solutions, allowing the MiniLab technology to be highly scalable across different therapeutic areas.

MedicubeX's logo

MedicubeX completed a public fundraising round of €1.4M

Finnish healthtech company MedicubeX, on a mission to help solve the nursing crisis and make preventive healthcare universally accessible, has completed a public fundraising round of 1 400 000€ led by the Finnish investment service company Springvest.

MedicubeX has developed the world’s first fully autonomous health self-measurement solution, the Medicube X® eHealth Station™, to help clinics and hospitals further improve the quality and efficiency of care. The eHealth Stations provide patients with easy, affordable health checkups and automated, non-invasive monitoring of vital signs and CVD risk factors. The solution is currently being piloted in Helsinki at the Vuosaari Health and Well-being Centre.

In addition to Lapsi Health, CurifyLabs, and MedicubeX, also other Health Incubator Helsinki startups have secured funding in 2023. We will announce more news later!

Health Incubator Helsinki is seeking dedicated health sector startups and teams for its 5th incubator program

Health Incubator Helsinki welcomes 10 promising health startups

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Health Incubator Helsinki's logo

10 health and life sciences startups with high growth potential have been selected into the fourth program of Health Incubator Helsinki. In total, the incubator received 29 high-quality applications from Finland and around the world.

Health Incubator Helsinki is a long-term incubator program driving the transformation of health innovation, research findings and expertise into international business and attracting new talent and companies to Helsinki. The concept is unique in the Nordics in its focus and duration: the incubator focuses solely on health-related startups, and the program lasts up to three years.

For the fourth incubator program that kickstarted in April 2023, Health Incubator Helsinki received 29 high-quality applications representing a wide range of health-related businesses. The majority of the applications came from Finland. In addition, the incubator attracted interest from teams based in other countries, including Denmark, Germany and Pakistan.

After the interviews, the following companies and teams were selected: AarogyaAI, Ai2Ai Oy, Auxcuro Inc, Cardiolyse, ClickPET, CorFlux, HATO Medical Technologies, MEDIVERSE, R2therapies Oy and SIR Analytics.

“During the selection process, we emphasised high growth potential, team dedication and high business scalability to international markets,” says Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Lead.

Up to 3 years of customised mentoring and advice

The incubator program, initiated by Business Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, provides long-term support, including customised mentoring and advice and broad network opportunities. The teams are also offered office and co-working facilities at Terkko Health Hub, in close proximity to HUS Helsinki University Hospital. The incubator services are free for the participants, apart from a small fee for the office space.

The new startups selected into the program will start their journey with a two-month onboarding, emphasising product and service concept development and to secure funding. After the initial period, the support will be focused on advising each team individually.

“According to our customer surveys, valuable aspects for the teams are to get support in securing financing, peer-to-peer support, and utilising Health Incubator Helsinki’s network in getting contacts with investors and industry experts”, Lardot points out.

Addressing emerging trends

With the latest batch of startups, Health Incubator Helsinki companies now develop a more diverse range of technologies and new concepts that serve various needs of both the research community as well as end-users and caregivers. Trends such as AI, Telemedicine, Biodata and Personalized medicine are emerging and strengthening their presence in the health space. Some of the new startups strongly align with these emerging trends.

“We look forward to working with the startups and teams to support them in their growth plans and provide them with the needed support,” says Lardot.

“We would also like to encourage startups and researchers to be in contact with us as we are continuously looking for new growth companies,” Lardot adds. “We will open the next call in March 2024.”

Meet the 2023 batch of Health Incubator Helsinki startups

AarogyaAI 

AarogyaAI leverages the power of genomics and artificial intelligence to diagnose antimicrobial resistance in infectious pathogens, infecting patients at the point of care.

Ai2Ai Oy

PALL0 by Ai2Ai is a sensor-packed interactive ball with AI and unlimited apps. The product boosts physical and social activities for wellness seekers and reduces screen time.

Auxcuro Inc

Auxcuro provides technical solutions for healthcare clinicians by integrating care delivery information in real-time. The company’s technical platform is an intuitive, customizable, predictive smart data integration repository that supports Frontline Healthcare Workers.

Cardiolyse

Cardiolyse provides a chronic and post-discharge cardiovascular disease patient monitoring platform with medical-grade AI heart health analytics (CE class 2a, 19 arrhythmias) that enables remote vital sign monitoring and personalized patient reports for early diagnostics and better care.

ClickPET

ClickPET offers technical solutions for simplifying the production of cancer type specific biomolecule-based radiopharmaceuticals for positron emission tomography (PET) for aiding patient selection, cancer staging and disease follow-up by diagnostic imaging. The company’s technology allows the speeding-up of new radiotracer development to novel targets facilitating the discovery of new diagnostic methods for personalized medicine.

CorFlux

CorFlux aims to be the world’s leading analysing software for estimating the risk of aortic aneurysm rupture. The current clinical method does not take into account other influencing elements than the aortic diameter in the risk evaluation. However, a high number of aortic ruptures appear before the diameter reaches the limit for surgery. CorFlux decision-making support allows physicians to identify high risk aneurysm patients more easily, leading to life savings.

HATO Medical Technologies

HATO Medical Technologies empowers healthcare professionals to make prompt decisions, accurate triage, correct referrals, and save lives and valuable resources by getting it right the first time. The company utilises AI to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation. By providing innovative solutions, HATO aims to support healthcare professionals, especially those without specialised cardiology expertise, in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases more effectively.

MEDIVERSE

Mediverse functions as a crucial component of the conventional healthcare system, operating as a telemedicine platform that incorporates advanced technology and intelligent biosensors. As a result, patients can receive remote medical consultations, diagnoses, and treatments in a timely manner, irrespective of their location.

R2therapies Oy

R2therapies Oy has discovered a novel and scientifically surprising blood-based biomarker to identify people at risk of developing dementia. The company aims to develop an in-vitro diagnostic method compatible with primary healthcare for dementia-risk screening.

SIR Analytics

SIR Analytics brings 21st-century technology to help blind people around the globe. Using the company’s smart cane, blind and visually impaired people can independently move around without unnecessary risks of injuries or getting lost.


Contact information

Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Lead
Tel. +358 40 195 2639
christian.lardot@hel.fi


About Health Incubator Helsinki

Health Incubator Helsinki is a comprehensive incubator program in Finland for research-based, early-stage teams and startups operating in the health sector. The incubator, initiated by Business Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, and provided in partnership with Health Capital Helsinki, started operations in 2020. It is part of a consortium that supports startups and research-based teams from universities and SPRAK Finland to develop their health and life sciences innovations and business concepts towards becoming growth companies.  Currently, 34 health startups are participating in the incubator programs.

Health Incubator Helsinki startups secured €10.3M in funding during the first half of 2023

Health Incubator Helsinki is seeking dedicated teams to join its 4th program

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Lapsi Health Team

Health Incubator Helsinki, Finland’s first long-term incubator program for research-based health sector startups and teams, welcomes new applications from 20 February to 26 March 2023.

Health Incubator Helsinki is seeking new, innovative, early-stage health sector startups and teams from Finland and abroad to join its unique program. The fourth batch of Health Incubator Helsinki startups will begin their journey in the three-year program in April 2023.

The incubator, initiated by the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, was established in 2020 to boost the commercialisation and growth of research innovations towards a successful business. The program provides long-term support, including customised mentoring and advice, broad network opportunities, and office and co-working space in the Meilahti hospital area. Apart from a small fee for the office space, the incubator services are free for the participants.

– For the new teams and startups joining the incubator program, we put emphasis on getting them up to speed with the basics of developing their product or service and getting the finance in place. After this initial period of two months, our support will be focused on advising each team individually, Christian Lardot, Incubator Leader at Health Incubator Helsinki, describes the design of the program.

A tailored service creates notable results

There are currently 24 teams developing their business operations in the incubator, located at Terkko Health Hub, in close proximity to HUS Helsinki University Hospital. The results the teams have achieved during three years have been impressive, the most noteworthy of them being successful funding rounds.

In 2022, the third batch of Health Incubator Helsinki startups secured a total of €11 million in financing. One of these teams is a Dutch medtech startup, Lapsi Health. The company has the goal of redefining sound in medicine and is developing solutions for screening, diagnosing, treating and monitoring through sound and auscultation. In 2022, Lapsi Health raised €700k in pre-seed funding, won the Eurostars development grant of €1M and, in January 2023, a seed round of funding of €3.7M was closed.

– The assistance from the team at Health Incubator Helsinki has been an integral part of our success since we joined the program. The mentorship, events, and environment at the Terkko Health Hub have provided a great platform in helping us build momentum, Séamus Holohan, COO for Lapsi Health, says.

Another team that has achieved significant milestones while attending the program is a Finnish organ-on-chip startup Finnadvance. In just two years, the startup has grown from a small team into a company of 15 employees with customers in 35 countries.

– Earlier in 2023, we achieved the ISO certification for quality management systems for the design, development, and manufacturing of organ-on-a-chip platforms, the only one in Finland for these non-animal methods, Prateek Singh, CEO and Founder of Finnadvance adds.

In search of innovative ideas and dedicated teams

The application period for the fourth incubator program is 20 February–26 March 2023. Candidates selected from among the applications will be invited to interview in week 15, and approximately 10–12 startups will start in the incubator at the end of April.

– During the application process, we will assess whether there is a market for the company’s innovation, service or product. Is the company involved in creating something new or improving existing solutions? One of the key factors we are looking for is the skill set, dedication, passion and perseverance of the team members, says Mr. Lardot.

Read more about the program.
Click here to apply by 26 March.

Contact information:
Christian Lardot, Incubator Leader, tel. 040 195 2639, christian.lardot@hel.fi

News photo: In 2022, the third batch of Health Incubator Helsinki startups secured a total of €11 million in financing. One of these teams is a Dutch medtech startup, Lapsi Health. Photo: Lapsi Health.

MedicubeX raised €0.8M in 2022 to revolutionize preventive healthcare

MedicubeX raised €0.8M in 2022 to revolutionize preventive healthcare

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MedicubeX eHealth Station

Finnish healthtech company MedicubeX, on a mission to make preventive healthcare universally accessible, has secured €0.8M in funding during 2022. In 2023, the company is seeking up to €2M in Series A funding.

The Health Incubator Helsinki startup closed an equity funding round on Funderbeam platform in April 2022 that was complemented by private equity healthcare investors funding and by Business Finland, the Finnish government organization for innovation funding, trade, and investment promotion. The raised funds, in total €0.8M, are being used for product development and commercialization.

Starting from the first quarter of 2023, MedicubeX is seeking up to €2M in Series A funding along with matching public funding from Business Finland and other related financial institutions.

Autonomous self-check stations to prevent CV diseases and diabetes

MedicubeX aims to prevent CV diseases and diabetes with autonomous telehealth kiosks that individuals can use to measure their health-related metrics in private.

The eHealth Stations provide patients with easy, affordable health checkups and automated, non-invasive monitoring of vital signs and CV disease risk factors.

The eHealth Station is being developed in partnership with Innokas Medical (FI), the leading medical device developer in the Nordics; Framery (FI), the global leader in acoustic booths; and Diagnoptics (NL), manufacturer of the AGE Reader device. The station utilizes UVC disinfection technology from Signify, the global leader in innovative UVC disinfection technology.

Large-scale deliveries to start in 2023

The eHealth Station’s development is well underway, with customer pilots planned for first quarter of 2023 and large-scale commercial deliveries scheduled to begin in third quarter of 2023.

“We are extremely excited about the rapid development of our eHealth Station and our service models. In-house testing is already ongoing and the results are looking good”, Vili Kostamo says.

Further information:

Vili Kostamo M.D., CEO, MedicubeX Oy
vili.kostamo@medicubex.com
+358 44 300 1617

Photo: MedicubeX

NADMED completed 1st financing round of €0.5M

NADMED completed 1st financing round of €0.5M

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NADMED's logo

Finnish healthtech startup NADMED brings to market a new type of NAD metabolite measurement. After years of rigorous studies at University of Helsinki, NADMED presents a first-of-a-kind solution which allows more profound and faster study of NADs. In the future, NADMED’s solution could also enable better targeted drug administration. Now, the company has completed its first financing round of €0.5M, led by Finnish deep tech fund Voima Ventures.

NAD metabolites found in our cells are vital regulators in our metabolism and energy balance. A growing number of studies have revealed a clear connection between reduced NAD levels and many diseases and disorders of the body, e.g. Parkinson’s disease, mitochondrial diseases, metabolic disorders and immune reactions against viruses, such as COVID-19.

While decreased NAD levels can be increased by administering vitamin B3, with current diagnostics it’s challenging to know when therapy is needed. With the help of NADMED’s solution, the amount of different NAD metabolites in the body can be regularly and precisely monitored and treated.

Potential to revolutionise diagnostics

Besides targeted medication, accurate NAD measuring can both accelerate NAD studies and provide new information and a deeper understanding of the mysterious NAD molecules. With NADMED’s revolutionary solution we’re one step closer to precise NAD measurements that could enable doctors and practitioners to detect different diseases early on, and help the body fight these diseases. This has the potential to revolutionise the everyday diagnostics, improve patients’ deteriorating state of health or even cure certain diseases.

While utilising NAD measurement to track our health isn’t a new notion, it has never before been done in a manner that’s both truly accurate and scalable, even for blood samples.

This is where NADMED’s technology is a true game changer. In September 2022, NADMED released their first measuring kit – the first NAD measurement kit in the world to receive the European CE marking that indicates high safety and reliability. In addition to being reliable, precise and cost efficient, the solution is also very user friendly and can be used with standard laboratory equipment.

Convincing the financiers

The easy and reliable method that measures all NAD metabolites has also convinced financiers. NADMED recently completed its first financing round of half a million euros, led by deep tech fund Voima Ventures. Other investors include individuals and members of the company’s executive management and board of directors.

“NADMED’s test has been developed by one of the globally leading researchers in the field of NAD-metabolism in humans. As the research relating to NADs is continuously growing, we are committed to supporting NADMED in growing and scaling beyond the research market to global diagnostics and wider clinical use”, says Inka Mero, founder and Managing Partner at Voima Ventures.

“Making NAD measurement easy and economically reasonable creates promising prospects for research, treatment and drug development work. With the funding and current revenue stream, NADMED will expand the sales and marketing of our measurement solution. At the same time, the development of the CE-marked measurement package and laboratory service will be strengthened”, says Jari Närhi, CEO of NADMED.

Read the full press release here.

Read more about NADMED here.

Olo delivers the perfect sonic recharge for today’s office worker

Olo delivers the perfect sonic recharge for today’s office worker

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Olo mobile app

Knowledge work of today is all about creative problem-solving – but we are having difficulty finding the mental space for focus and flow. Studies show that creativity narrows down under pressure, while stress prevents presence and proper rest. Startup Olo joined Health Incubator Helsinki in 2022 and is on a mission to re-energize office workers.

Finnish startup Olo is developing an app to better manage the turmoil in the heads of the creative class. CEO Markus Pesonen explains that the Olo app is meant to build resilience by training a person’s attention and recovery.

Olo delivers personalized wellbeing experiences, complete with immersive sound journeys, engaging somatic education and responsive biofeedback training.

“We have the audio content, software and wellbeing expertise all available inhouse,” explains Pesonen, an award-winning composer, sound designer and producer with a 20-year experience leading creative projects and teams.

When audio is king

The signature content of Olo is formed by soothing soundscapes which have been recorded in nature, in special places of “high biodiversity”.

“Most of our recordings are from Finland, but we’ve got audio content from elsewhere in Europe and Africa, too,” says Pesonen.

During the pandemic, the audio content was tested – remotely – in various companies to find out, if the healing and elevating sounds would help take some Covid-stress off the worker bees at the home office. Turns out, they did.

“We got great feedback for our content. For example, somebody said that five minutes of our sound journey felt like 60 minutes of rejuvenating break. We then started to figure out a way to integrate our content to an app,” Pesonen says.

Markus Pesonen

CEO Markus Pesonen

Wellbeing apps on the rise

According to estimates, the mental health apps market is around $890 million and growing rapidly. With perhaps a billion knowledge workers out there, it’s certainly true that there is great potential for stress-free sounds.

“So far, we’ve analyzed the feedback of over 5,000 paid users,” says Pesonen.

The positive results from being immersed in the “total audio experience” show physical relaxation, mental clarity, relieving stress and pain, understanding aspects of oneself, deepened sense of presence and awareness, better emotional expression and social inclusion…

“The key thing is re-energizing the neurological network and measuring the impact. Once we start getting data, this allows for more personalized and meaningful content,” he explains.

Go-to-market in 2023

Pesonen’s initial company Nature Solutions for B2B wellbeing solutions was started in December 2017, and he already had an idea for the app at the time.

“However, I didn’t want to proceed right then, even if the first wave of mental health apps was occurring then. We wanted to wait until we could use AI to make it more customized.”

With the prototype already making the rounds with select partners, the actual go-to-market is in the cards for 2023.

“We want to contribute to establishing a premium category of wellbeing apps, with full onboarding and community services, along with interaction with peers and professionals.”

Coffee break or audio break?

Pesonen wants to help nurture a working culture where it’s OK for knowledge workers to take a break from the laptop and recharge their brain.

“For all creative work, really deep, intense thinking delivers the best value. Our app helps to harness that innovative potential.”

Being part of Health Incubator Helsinki batch of 2022, Olo is pleased to engage within the health startup ecosystem.

“I feel that we’re still in the beginning of our journey, but we’re picking up speed nicely.”

Olo's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Olo

Product: Personalised wellbeing app and community that uses soothing soundscapes to bring down stress levels and re-energize the listener

Founded: 2022

Team size: 6

Target customer/market: Knowledge/office workers over the world

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photos: Nature Solutions

Health Incubator Helsinki startup Henkaus announced merger with Vesratio

Health Incubator Helsinki startup Henkaus announced merger with Vesratio

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Hoivita team and their customer.

New Finnish digital health company Hoivita aims to ease nurse shortage in elderly care

Two Finnish, Lappeenranta-based startups Henkaus and Vesratio, have announced their merger, creating a new digital health company Hoivita that aims to improve the quality of elderly care.

The new company Hoivita strives for improving care and easing the nursing shortage in elderly care, home care and hospitals. The company provides a solution that monitors patients’ vitals and environment (room temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide level, light and motion) discreetly – totally contactless and wireless.

The accurate, objective measurement data can be viewed via the Hoivita One View platform, or sent directly to nurses’ phones as alerts.

“By joining forces, we can improve the service for our customers and the quality of care they give to their patients. We believe that this technology can help with the nursing shortage that is a challenge not only in Finland but all over the world,” says Abhishek Jayaprakash, CEO at Hoivita.

“Our customers appreciate that our solution is stress-free: the wireless devices are very discreet and minimally invasive, installation is quick – in many cases, it takes just an hour –, technology is proven and it’s very simple to use. In addition, the solution is cost-effective.”

Stronger together in the elderly care sector

Henkaus, developing radar-based vital signs tracking, was founded in 2019 by a group of innovation technology management students at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). In 2021, the startup obtained CE marking for its solution and joined the Health Incubator Helsinki program.

Vesratio, a Lappeenranta-startup providing easy-to-understand real-time information about living environments, was established in 2018. Both companies have focused on the elderly sector, offering their solutions to elderly care homes, home care service providers and hospitals.

“Since early 2022, we have been providing joint solutions to our customers. Then, it was a natural next step to improve our product offering by merging the operations into one joint solution,” says Jayaprakash, previously CEO at Henkaus.

Hoivita's demohouse

Hoivita’s sensor installed in the demohouse.

Launch event with real-life pilot of Hoivita’s service

The new company, Hoivita, is based in Lappeenranta, Finland, with currently nine employees. The new company was presented at a launch event in the port of Lappeenranta on Tuesday, 6 September. Hoivita’s CEO Abhishek Jayaprakash, Lappeenranta city councilor Hilla Kauhanen, Hyvinvointi Saraste Oy’s CEO Virve Kivistö and Digita Oy’s IoT services Vice President Ari Kuukka spoke at the event.

In connection with the opening event, Finnish Olokoto house had been brought to the port and comprehensively furnished with remote monitoring sensors by Hoivita. The theme of the event was to present remote monitoring solutions for health and elderly care in a real living environment. On the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, the well-known TV director, producer and former entertainment and program manager of MTV3 and TV face Päiviö Pyysalo stayed in the demo house, and his living in the house was monitored with the help of Hoivita’s remote monitoring service.

The opening event can be viewed as a recording here.

Incubator brings connections and support

Hoivita continues in the Health Incubator Helsinki program.

“For us, coming from a smaller city, the main benefit of the incubator program has been the networking opportunities – it helps to have more connections. Also, the incubator advisors have been very supportive and helped us get in touch with the right people,” says Abhishek Jayaprakash.

“With our new offering, we now have a stronger case to revisit certain customers via Health Incubator Helsinki advisers.”

Read an earlier article on Henkaus.

Contact information:
Abhishek Jayaprakash, CEO, Hoivita Oy
Tel. +358 41 7511 769
abhishek.jayaprakash@hoivita.com
hoivita.com

Hoivita's logo

Cover photo: From left to right: TV director and former program manager Päiviö Pyysalo, CEO of Hoivita Oy Abhishek Jayaprakash, Lappeenranta city councilor Hilla Kauhanen and Partner of Hoivita Oy Timo Tuononen.
Photos: Hoivita Oy

Sonai is on a mission to re-invent heart diagnosis

Sonai is on a mission to re-invent heart diagnosis

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Stethoscope

Finnish health tech startup Sonai Health Oy is looking to bring special care diagnostics into primary care in a big way. Sonai is working on a device that provides a more versatile alternative for your basic stethoscope used by general practitioners around the world. The company joined the Health Incubator Helsinki program in spring 2022.

The solution is based on patented sensor innovation, machine learning and user-friendly interface, explains CEO Jyri Seppä.

“Our prototype is now ready and we’re aiming for a 2024 commercial launch,” he says in August 2022.  

Espoo-based Sonai Health was founded in July 2021, but the roots of the original idea reach farther: the father of the idea, physician Arto Kotimaa, had been wondering for years, why there aren’t better tools for listening to a patient’s heart. On his wish-list: a device that would save all the collected data and make AI comparisons from that info, allowing the treating physician to see a considerably bigger picture.

An advanced stethoscope takes shape

Arto Kotimaa linked up with professor Heikki Seppä, a sensor expert from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, who came up with the core technical innovation for the device. Arto Kotimaa’s brother Antti Kotimaa, a researcher, also joined the team. Jyri Seppä, having launched a startup earlier and possessing most business acumen of the group, became the CEO.

“We have four founders with expertise from many areas. My role as CEO is really to focus on administration, funding and moving the project onwards,” Seppä explains.          

With the team working hard, the prototype has been taking shape quite nicely. “The device is placed on the patient’s chest and it is packed with sensors that will give a wealth of data within a minute or so.”

Jyri Seppä

CEO Jyri Seppä

Using that data

The device deploys algorithms that make good use of that data very effectively, allowing the doctors to make the right calls regarding treatment.

“Our device uses a cloud solution that enables remote diagnosis, follow-up analyses and integrations to various healthcare systems,” adds Seppä.

Seppä notes that as heart-related disease is still the number one killer globally, one should really prioritize this field and make sure that doctors have the best possible tools at hand.

“There are digital stethoscopes on the market already, but we couldn’t find a product out there that is able to do what our device does.”

Finished commercial product coming in 2023

In September 2022, the prototype of the device will start pre-clinical tests, with clinical patient trials to follow at the end of the year.

“In 2023, we want to take all the feedback from these tests and create the finished commercial product,” says Seppä, adding that the company is presently looking for a data analyst to help fine-tune the product.

Seppä feels that Sonai is doing important work that has the potential to save lives and reduce healthcare costs a great deal.

“This is a meaningful pursuit, and you really feel you’re doing something of value. Equally important is trying to accomplish something that nobody has done before.”

Participating in the Health Incubator Helsinki this year has been a worthwhile learning experience for the company.

“Especially things like business planning and funding are well covered in the program and we’ve received some great advice.”

“All the while, we’ve been able to network and establish contacts all over.”

Sonai's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Sonai Health Oy

Product: New, more diverse device for heart diagnosis

Founded: 2021

Team size: 4

Target customer/market: General practitioners, healthcare industry

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photo: Sonai Health Oy
Cover photo: Unsplash

NADMED completed 1st financing round of €0.5M

NADMED measures NAD molecules for better health

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Research work in the laboratory.

NADMED Oy is a Finnish health tech startup with an eye for NAD molecules. Outside of medicine, not many people know NAD, even though it is a molecule enabling or regulating hundreds of redox and metabolic reactions in the body. In addition, it is also involved in cell repair and slowing down the speed of ageing. NADMED is one of startups in the Health Incubator Helsinki 2022 program.

The biology and key role of NAD molecules in human metabolism has been well known for decades, but measuring them has been devilishly difficult, says CEO Jari Närhi from Helsinki-based NADMED. But why do we need to measure them?

“It seems that many medicines can be more effective when the patient has sufficiently high NAD level. If we can measure the NAD level, we know whether a NAD boost is needed via nutrition supplements – which are easy and inexpensive to administer,” explains Närhi.

In a Norwegian study, for example, patients with Parkinson’s disease responded well to treatment that corrected their NAD levels.

“Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s are obvious targets for our solution.”

Lock on NAD

NADMED has now brought to market an accurate, fast and scalable method to measure those elusive molecules. All that is needed is a blood sample from the patient and a clinical lab to run the test.

“There are other tests for NAD out there, but they are not as accurate and can’t be taken from a blood sample,” Närhi says, adding that once the word about the innovation spread, things started to move pretty fast.    

“We delivered the first measurement kits in 2021 and received our CE approval in May 2022.”

NADMED team members

NADMED team members from left: Jana Buzkova, Jari Närhi, Sonja Jansson, Kai Herdin and Liliya Euro.

Customers around the world

NADMED was registered as a company only in January 2022, but it already services clinical practitioners, researchers, and drug development companies around the world.

“We have customers in Australia, Norway, USA, Canada, France, Italy…,” lists Närhi.

NAD molecule measurement is based on the work of Liliya Euro, a researcher from the University of Helsinki, who has been studying the field for years. Närhi himself came onboard in March 2021, while NADMED was still a research venture.

“Already there was great potential to be seen, and I joined the team in order to help prepare for commercialization.”

World-class team

Närhi had some background from small startups in medical devices and healthcare – and was very eager to join the NADMED crew.

“The team is simply world-class, so it was an easy decision to join up.”     

Participating in Health Incubator Helsinki, the NADMED team has received a great “crash course” in business.

“We’ve gotten good contacts and sparring and really engaged in networking,” Närhi says, commenting that the incubator mentors are top-notch.

“I feel that we’re in very good hands there.”

NADMED's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: NADMED Oy

Product: Testing kit for NAD molecules

Founded: 2022

Team size: 5

Target customer/market: Healthcare professionals

EpiHeart achieves a major milestone: first clinical use

EpiHeart achieves a major milestone: first clinical use

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Surgeons in the operating room.
First patient cases always mark a major milestone for a medical device company in the development of novel treatments and devices. Health Incubator Helsinki startup EpiHeart reached this milestone in August 2022 when the first patient was treated with their medical device.

EpiHeart is a Finnish medtech startup focused on enabling new cardiac therapies. The first patient was treated with EpiHeart’s medical device to provide cardiac cellular therapy leveraging autologous left atrial appendage derived microtissues.

The treatment was given as a part of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) surgery by Professor Dr. Jan Schmitto and his interdisciplinary Heart-Team at MHH (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover) in Hannover, Germany.

Patients receiving LVAD are commonly very sick as their heart failure has progressed so far that a lifesaving pump is needed to support the blood flow. Often LVAD implantation is used to provide functional support for the failing heart before heart transplantation as patients wait for suitable donor hearts.

This patient group is relevant for microtissue-based cellular therapies for two reasons. Firstly, there is a vast clinical need to support both sides of the failing heart. Secondly, as some of the patients will later receive heart transplants, the biological effects of the epicardial cellular therapy can be evaluated utilizing the latest state-of-the-art molecular and cellular analyses.

“Based on this successful case experience, a larger clinical study is being prepared. We are looking forward to a promising and continued collaboration between our team at MHH and EpiHeart,” says Prof. Dr. Jan Schmitto.

Read more about EpiHeart

EpiHeart's logo

Contact information:
Kai Kronström
CEO at EpiHeart
info@epiheart.com
epiheart.com

Photos: EpiHeart

VEIL.AI selected for BioInnovation Institute’s programme as the first Finnish company

VEIL.AI selected for BioInnovation Institute’s programme as the first Finnish company

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Researchers at the BioInnovation Institute.

The BioInnovation Institute has selected three international startup companies for its programme, one being Health Incubator Helsinki startup VEIL.AI. The 1.3M funding will support further development of VEIL.AI’s cutting-edge health data anonymisation technology. VEIL.AI is the first Finnish company selected for the programme.

The BioInnovation Institute (BII), an international commercial non-profit foundation incubating and accelerating world-class life science research, has announced its investment into three international startup companies, one being VEIL.AI from Finland, and the other two coming from the UK and Germany.

The three startups are strategically aligned with the BII’s focus, developing ground-breaking scientific initiatives across the therapeutics and health tech space. Each of these companies will be funded with a risk-free convertible loan of €1.3M and will be part of the BII’s community of life science startups.

BII brings high-level international networks

“We are very excited of the new collaboration and opportunities provided by BII not only because of the high signal value of being a part of the BII community but because we see BII as a well networked player in European health data space and as an attractive launchpad for our commercial activities,” says Tuomo Pentikäinen, CEO of VEIL.AI.

VEIL.AI is a spinout company from University of Helsinki, bringing the quality of anonymised health data to a new level with its next-generation anonymisation technology that creates extremely high-quality subject-level anonymised and synthetic data. VEIL.AI Anonymization Engine enables better use of GDPR-free data for life science and diagnostics companies, hospitals and health data hubs.

Finland holds great research and health tech potential

The BII, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and supported by Novo Nordisk Foundation, operates an incubator to accelerate world-class life science innovation that drives the development of new solutions. The BII offers startups selected for its programme access to high-level mentoring and international networks, as well as state-of-the-art labs and business infrastructure.

“Our goal is to harness the untapped potential of European research, and at the BII we are passionate about helping each venture overcome potential hurdles and position them to attract top-quality international investment. Spun out from excellent translational research environments across Europe, VEIL.AI, Sevenless Therapeutics and Myopax each hold great potential in the therapeutic and health tech space. We are pleased to support them in their growth – supporting business acceleration, scientific and team development,” says Bobby Soni, Chief Business Officer at the BioInnovation Institute.

Bobbi Soni continued: “Finland holds large potential when it comes to translational life science research and especially Helsinki is known as a Northern European hub for health tech innovations. Thus, BII is thrilled to welcome a promising health tech company like VEIL.AI into our community as the first Finnish company and we are looking forward to assist them on their future entrepreneurial journey.”

Since 2018, the BII has supported 62 startups with €50M in funding. Over a timespan of 10 years, Novo Nordisk Foundation is planning to provide up to €470M funding to projects in the BII programme.

 

 

VEIL.AI's logo

Contact information:

Tuomo Pentikäinen
CEO, VEIL.AI
tel. +358 40 183 2881
tuomo.pentikainen@veil.ai
https://veil.ai/

Photos: BioInnovation Institute and VEIL.AI

Karsa brings molecular detection to the next level

Karsa brings molecular detection to the next level

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Karsa's chemical analysis system Tarkka TOF

Karsa Oy is a spin-off company hailing from the University of Helsinki. Primarily, Karsa develops state-of-the-art instrumentation for molecular detection of explosives. However, the startup’s solutions can be used wherever ultra-sensitive and versatile molecular detection is needed – for example, in fighting climate change. Helsinki-based Karsa joined the Health Incubator Helsinki program in spring 2022.

It all started back in 2016 at the University of Helsinki, as a team of researchers developed a prototype for one of the most sensitive detectors in the world. Initially, the innovation was developed for detection of rare, essentially non-volatile and sticky atmospheric molecules.

As the novel detection system was very versatile with regards to application use, the researchers became convinced of its commercial potential almost immediately.

“The team started asking, where should we use it first – and the obvious answer was finding explosives,” explains CEO H.J. Jost.

“There were clearly some very exciting opportunities for commercialization and good stakeholder connections.”

Stopping terrorists, curbing climate change

Bringing public safety to a new level seemed like a no-brainer. Karsa’s powerful molecular detection technology boosts homeland security by providing solutions that are capable of high-resolution screening for security operators and their customers. This includes screening parcels and cargo in a new way, delivering high level of security without slowing down the flow of goods.

Improvements in the technology also fed back into climate change research, says Jost.

“We can gain a better understanding of particle formation that create clouds and predict precipitation,” Jost says, adding that a true “molecular revolution” is in the making.

There are other applications for detection tech, too. For example, the startup’s chemical analysis platform can eliminate laborious workflows for the analysis of small molecules.

“We want to bring this approach to the IVD market with analysis of bodily fluids,” says Jost. The tech is useful in determining, for example, drug levels in a person’s blood stream.

Karsa team

Karsa team went wind surfing: from left Aleksei Shcherbinin, Alexei Upornikov, Fariba Partovi, Oskari Kausiala, Claudia Poikela, Paxton Juuti, Nasib Naseri, Verner Hemmilä, HJ Jost, Evgenia Iakovleva, Juha Kangasluoma, Jussi Kontro and Jyri Mikkilä.

Finland means business

Jost has previous experience from e.g. NASA and a Silicon Valley startup focusing on laser-based CO2 detection. He came to Finland in 2016 in order to help co-found Karsa – and was impressed by what he found here.    

“Everybody in the University research team was very entrepreneurial-minded and wanted in on the company. We ended up having ten co-founders as a consequence,” he looks back. Five of the founders are currently working with the company.

Initial private investment was leveraged with funding from Business Finland to commercialize the technology for explosives detection. More recently, the research effort keeps branching out to remarkable new directions. One of them is early detection of gastrointestinal cancer, for which the company seeks to attract EU funding as lead of a consortium with top-ranked partner institutions.

“We may really be onto something there, as there are thousands of patients we could help worldwide.”  

The incubator helps getting connected in the health sector

Being selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program enables Karsa to shape its product offering, engage potential customers and stakeholders, and generate a solid plan on how to best navigate the entry barriers of the health sector.

“We are not experts in the health market, so we’re hoping to get useful connections via the incubator,” says Jost.

“With Covid, there hasn’t been as much contact as one would hope, but now being part of the incubator, we’re eager to get the networking going.”

Karsa's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Karsa Oy

Product: Developing multi-use instrumentation for molecular detection

Founded: 2016

Team size: 15

Target customer/market: Security providers, climate change research, healthcare

Moncyte R&D team targets optimal cholesterol-lowering therapy

Moncyte R&D team targets optimal cholesterol-lowering therapy

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Team members of Moncyte.

Moncyte R&D team has developed a unique solution that sheds light on why some people respond differently to cholesterol-lowering drugs. This novel, personalized test for optimal cholesterol-lowering therapy promises to open new ways for personalized medicine and improving patients’ lives. Moncyte team joined the Health Incubator Helsinki program in spring 2022.

A high blood cholesterol concentration is the most important risk factor for cardiovascular disease which is the most common cause of death worldwide. Currently, doctors take a trial-and-error approach in determining the optimal cholesterol-lowering therapy.

“However, this can take years and it leaves many patients at high residual risk for cardiovascular disease,” says Tamara Alagirova from the Moncyte team out of the University of Helsinki. The Moncyte team includes also Simon Pfisterer, Iryna Hlushchenko and Valeria Ullrich.

Moncyte has come up with a solution that provides insight into the cellular mechanisms underlying cholesterol-lowering drug activity in individual patients.

“This tool opens up new ways for personalized medicine approaches in cholesterol treatment, helping more patients achieve their cholesterol target levels at an earlier time. This will save time and prevent life-threatening complications such as heart attacks and strokes,” Simon Pfisterer says.

When everyday research takes a surprising turn

The original research-to-business project started in July, 2021, at the University of Helsinki. The idea for the solution came up as the researcher team was establishing automated analysis strategies for its in-vitro assays and realized that this could be of value for patients, healthcare providers and pharma companies.

“We then evaluated the feasibility of our approach with biobank and familial hypercholesterolemia patient samples and received promising results,” Iryna Hlushchenko traces back the origin of the innovation.

Microscope and sample.

Finding quality support

Nevertheless, having started as a basic research project at the University, it was difficult to figure out how to bring this technology to the patients. Luckily, the researchers had some quality help:

“Through active engagement in Spark Finland and now Health Incubator Helsinki, we established a roadmap which will lead us to this goal,” says Tamara Alagirova. In addition, the team received Business Finland research-to-business funding to develop its technology further.

“We plan to spin out from the university and establish a company in summer 2023,” explains Alagirova.

Driving force

For the research team, the ultimate goal is for their invention to find widespread application, helping patients and doctors to select an optimal treatment strategy – quickly providing positive impact for patients, the healthcare system and society.

“As scientists, we want our research to lead to improvements for patients and society. The technology that we are developing has the potential to achieve this. Our goal is to make this happen and this is our biggest motivation,” Simon Pfisterer says.  

Connecting with fellow founders

The Moncyte team is happy to be selected into the Health Incubator Helsinki’s incubator program as the only research-to-business project among startups.

“We have only had positive experiences so far. We look forward to connecting and sharing experiences with fellow founders, get the most out of the exciting ecosystem and proceed with investor relations,” Alagirova says.

The team is looking to secure seed funding mid 2023 in order to get the project to the next level.

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Moncyte (research team)

Product: Analysis tool uncovering why individuals respond differently to cholesterol-lowering medication, enabling novel personalized treatment strategies

Founded: To be incorporated in 2023

Team size: 4

Target customer/market: Patients, healthcare providers and pharma companies

Fepod flips the script on blood analytics

Fepod flips the script on blood analytics

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Fepod's product picture

Helsinki startup Fepod wants to help healthcare professionals measure the real blood concentration of paracetamol, opioids, and other pain medicine directly from a drop of blood. Learn more about the company that joined the Health Incubator Helsinki program in spring 2022.

“We’re developing and commercialising a next generation point-of-care blood analytics method. Our technology is based on years of research at Aalto University, cutting-edge technology and nano materials,” says Jussi Pyysalo, Founder & CEO, at Fepod Oy Ltd.

The company’s testing process is both fast and simple and the result is available in seconds. The testing equipment consists of a standard mobile phone, a small potentiostat and disposable sampling sensors. Pyysalo is convinced that this novel and portable analytics method will open a lot of new, exciting possibilities for healthcare.​

How did it all get started, then? – Pyysalo explains that Aalto University had set up a couple of projects around the core innovation. In fact, the core technology had been under research and constant development at Aalto University for years and it has been shown to be able identify the targeted opioids and paracetamol from human blood.

Team takes shape

Eventually, Aalto University was able to find expertise from both healthcare sector (HUS Helsinki University Hospital) and commercial side (TUTL project commercial expert) who then formed the core team together with the original researchers.

“Later, this core team was supplemented by experienced software and healthcare professionals who became co-founders of the company,” Pyysalo says.

The business model and plan to proceed was drafted during the 2,5 years of TUTL B2C-project which, unfortunately, took place during the COVID period.

Fepod team members

Fepod team members from left: Elsi Verrinder, Jussi Pyysalo and Niklas Wester.

Freshly incorporated

For the last couple of years, the team was running its project at the Aalto University with R2B funding from Business Finland. Finally, the team incorporated the company in February 2022 and got a small investment in immediately.

“We then negotiated with Aalto about the technology transfer for months and finally closed it in early May 2022,” says Pyysalo.

“Right now, we’ve just closed our seed financing round with Almaral Oy, and we already got a Business Finland Tempo grant accepted. We’ve planned our path to MVP (minimum viable product) and are now taking first steps on that path,” says Pyysalo who was interviewed in early June 2022.

Big potential worldwide

The immediate future involves clinical tests, closing the first licensing deals and finalizing the commercial test kits and the software platform (mobile app & cloud-based machine learning system). The five founders and the new chairman of the board certainly have their hands full, but also the upside is considerable:

“We have proven, protected technology, multi-billion market, huge customer value and clear market traction,” Pyysalo says.

In addition, the startup has advisors from Aalto University and Helsinki University hospital as well as a committed manufacturer (Canatu Ltd) for its sensors.​

Reinventing patient diagnostics

The company’s technology can change the entire process on how certain patient groups are diagnosed – and how some treatments could be personalised to better serve their purpose with an affordable, easy-to-use diagnostics method – and that’s a major game-changer, indeed.

“Our main goal is to help improve the lives and health of millions of patients globally and support the healthcare professionals in doing their work as accurately and efficiently as possible,” says Pyysalo.

Be your own boss

In addition to doing good, the life of a startup entrepreneur has other perks, too – such as the chance to call your own shots, in good days and bad. 

“There’s the freedom – and the responsibility that comes with it – of building something of your own from zero. You also get to fully enjoy the path with all the uphill struggles and moments of success,” Pyysalo says.

Talking about company’s entry into the Health Incubator Helsinki program, Pyysalo says that the company is excited about the future.

“We’re looking forward to networking with other incubator companies and learning new and beneficial things from common training sessions.”

Fepod's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Fepod

Product: Next generation point-of-care blood analytics method

Founded: 2022

Team size: 5+1

Target customer/market: Healthcare sector

Digital health company Nordic Fit Mama enters Italian market

Digital health company Nordic Fit Mama enters Italian market

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Woman holding baby.

Nordic Fit Mama, which provides digital health and wellbeing services for mothers, is one of the Finnish market leaders in the field. Now the company is heading to the world market. In Italy, digital maternity services are still scarce, but there is a lot of interest in them. Nordic Fit Mama has recently started cooperating with an Italian web portal that provides research backed information on health and wellbeing, as well as medical services.

Nordic Fit Mama’s Post Natal Program is featured on the Italian health and wellbeing portal myspecialdoctor.it, in its new Mamma-In-Forma section for pregnant and new mothers.

The portal provides a platform for researched and expert backed information on health and wellbeing. Nordic Fit Mama is featured on the portal because its programs are researched-based and designed by experts. Nordic Fit Mama works closely with e.g. one of the leading Finnish private health care providers Mehiläinen.

My special doctor -portal gathers 500,000 visitors a month. The number is expected to double in the near future.

Italian mothers very interested

About 500,000 children are born in Italy every year, almost ten times more than in Finland. Free healthcare and pregnancy monitoring are available for pregnant women but as in Finland, rehabilitation after pregnancy is primarily the mother’s own responsibility.

The My Special Doctor -portal offers Nordic Fit Mama a tremendous opportunity to reach mothers in a new market. The Nordic Fit Mama Post Natal Program, focused specifically on strengthening the core muscles and pelvic floor, is the only one of its kind featured there. The collaboration between Nordic Fit Mama and My special doctor -portal shows that Italian mothers are very interested in safe postpartum rehabilitation.

Unique digital concept

As a pioneer of digital maternity health services, Nordic Fit Mama has long been one of the few its kind on the market in Finland but the competition is tightening. In Italy, the market potential is huge, with only one online coaching service available so far for mothers for postpartum rehabilitation.

“Nordic Fit Mama’s digital approach is very unique and offers help and information for new moms in an easy and efficient way. We definitely see an interest among Italian moms and are very excited about the cooperation”, says Luigi Martinucci, founder of the My special doctor portal.

Nordic Fit Mama is participating in the Health Incubator Helsinki program since 2021. In this case, special thanks to Health Incubator Helsinki’s Gian-Luca Cioletti for helping Nordic Fit Mama’s team with native Italian language skills.

Read more about Nordic Fit Mama.

Contact information:

Riina Laaksonen, CEO, Founder
riina@nordicfitmama.fi
tel. +358 40 180 1535
www.nordicfitmama.fi

Nordic Fitmama's logo

Photos: Nordic Fit Mama

Lapsi Health harnesses sound to boost health

Lapsi Health harnesses sound to boost health

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Lapsi Health Team

Startup Lapsi Health wants to transform the way auscultatory sound is used in medicine and pharma-biotech development. The idea behind the company is to provide better holistic digital medicine by using sound to create new digital biomarkers – enabled by the usage of a digital stethoscope. Read to learn more about Lapsi Health that recently joined the Health Incubator Helsinki program.

Behind the innovation lies the ambition of one of the co-founders Diana van Stijn to improve Pediatric care. As an MD PhD in Pediatrics, she understood the needs for innovation in the Pediatric Asthma population. At the same time, fellow doctor Jhonatan Bringas Dimitriades had been working with medical devices focused on advanced measurement in different fields of medicine.

“When they got together, the original idea was created: how to use sound to help kids with asthma. Using auscultation, you could get alerts about asthma attacks before they occur,” Seamus Holohan explains.

Four seasoned Co-Founders and a successful Pre-Seed round

Holohan, a seasoned entrepreneur of 20 years with experience from four startups prior to Lapsi Health, jumped onboard as COO and Rodrigo Alvez, with extensive knowledge on software and apps, became the Chief Technology Officer.

“The four of us started talking about the company in July 2021, with the pandemic still raging on,” Holohan says.

“We were pretty spread out geographically, but learned to work together remotely and made good progress. We incorporated the company in early 2022.”

In Q1 2022, the company – now headquartered in Amsterdam – completed a successful Pre-Seed round and started to develop its first B2C device, a revolutionary Medical Stethoscope with the working name of Keikku.

Coming to Finland has accelerated getting contacts

But how did the international startup end up participating in a Finnish health incubator, then? – Holohan explains that a colleague had heard great things about the Helsinki-based incubator and suggested they check it out.

“I had some previous experience from operating in Finland and we were definitely curious about the incubator. Turns out, it was a great fit for us.”

Lapsi Health was accepted in Health Incubator Helsinki and established its second office in Helsinki in April 2022. The experience so far has been “fantastic”:

“The facilities are great, there are seminars and events as well as support from other startups,” he says. “Coming to Finland has really helped us to get more contacts.”

In the pipeline: Making a big impact

Looking ahead, Lapsi Health expects to raise a Seed Round in the summer 2022. The purpose of the round is to allow for the continuation of product development and commencement of clinical trials.

“We are examining the possibility of patents on the technology and we are convinced that there are many, many implementations for what we do, ranging from digital therapeutics to telemedicine to clinical trials.”

Holohan, who cites “genetic failure” as a probable reason behind his serial entrepreneur career, says that Lapsi Health is looking to make a big impact in the industry.

“We want to change the way auscultatory medicine works and really scale the business. What we’re doing now really comes from the heart and the desire to make a positive impact,” he sums up.

Lapsi Health's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Lapsi Health 

Product: Transforming the conventional usage of auscultatory sounds in Medicine and Pharma-Biotech development. 

Founded: 2022

Team size: 6

Target customer/market: Doctors, patients and researchers

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photo: Lapsi Health Co-Founders from left: Seamus Holohan, Jhonatan Bringas Dimitriades, Diana van Stijn and Rodrigo Alvez. (Lapsi Health)

Lapsi Health raised $0.6M to develop digital biomarkers

Lapsi Health raised $0.6M to develop digital biomarkers

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Lapsi Health's logo

Dutch medtech firm Lapsi Health recently announced that it has raised $0.6M in a pre-seed funding round to advance its work to develop new digital biomarkers based on auscultatory sound. The funding round was led by several tech investors spanning Europe and the Middle East, including those from the Netherlands, Finland, the US, Uruguay and the UAE.

Lapsi Health is working to develop new digital biomarkers based on sounds acquired by the first continuous wearable stethoscope, developed by its team in Finland. The acquired sounds have the potential to be analysed by several algorithmic methods and to be converted into biomarkers.

The new funds will be used to develop the first technological principles of its solution and to enter clinical validation trials. Specifically, the company will focus on auscultatory sound acquisition, analytics and remote patient monitoring.

Jhonatan Bringas Dimitriades, CEO at Lapsi Health and an expert in digital health and biomarkers, said: “We have been able to secure a fast investment to be able to develop solutions that are very necessary for chronic patients in several medical specialties, worldwide. This technology will represent a usage of auscultatory sound in a way that is not currently being used, creating a new generation of Digital Biomarkers.”

Lapsi Health started in the 2022 batch of Health Incubator Helsinki in April. Welcome to Health Incubator Helsinki team!

Read more in Health Tech World’s article.

Contact information:
Séamus Holohan, Chief Operating Officer, Lapsi Health
tel. +358 40 648 4534, seamus@lapsihealth.com
lapsihealth.com

Photo: Lapsi Health

Finnish health tech startup MedicubeX raised a seed round of €0.3M

Finnish health tech startup MedicubeX raised a seed round of €0.3M

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MedicubeX's eHealth station
Finnish health tech startup, Health Incubator Helsinki company MedicubeX has raised a seed round of 310.000€ to take their eHealth Station and business further.

MedicubeX is developing a self-measurement station that measures vital signs automatically and hygienically for preventive healthcare. In only a few minutes, the station collects and analyzes data on cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors using AI and sensor-guided technologies.

In April 2022, the company closed its crowdfunding investment round on Funderbeam platform totaling 250.000€. In addition, two knowledgeable business angels with competent industry expertise made an investment of 60.000€, with the same valuation and terms as Funderbeam’s closed funding round. Besides the investment, Marja Aarnio-Isohanni and Joe Hamari will  bring their experience with scalable SAAS business models and European healthcare systems to the table.

Moreover, MedicubeX announced a strategic investment from StartMore, a startup funding company committed to assisting early-stage enterprises in their growth and transforming ideas into viable businesses.

The autonomous self-measurement market in the EU is expected to reach 400 million euros by 2027.

With the current funds raised, the company can move forward with its plans to set up customer pilots in Finland and the Netherlands, develop intellectual property, begin commercial operations in the Nordics and Baltics, as well as prepare to enter the Central European market.

Congratulations from Health Incubator Helsinki team!

Read more in MedicubeX press release.

Further information:

Vili Kostamo M.D., CEO MedicubeX Oy
vili.kostamo@medicube.fi
+358 44 300 1617
www.medicubex.com

Photo: MedicubeX

Health Incubator Helsinki welcomes 9 promising health startups

Health Incubator Helsinki welcomes 9 promising health startups

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Health Incubator Helsinki's logo

Nine health and life sciences startups with great growth potential have joined the ranks of Health Incubator Helsinki, Finland’s unique health incubator program.

Health Incubator Helsinki is a long-term incubator program driving transformation of health innovation, research findings and expertise into international business, and attracting new talent and companies to Helsinki. The concept is unique in the Nordics in its focus and duration: the incubator focuses solely on health, and the program is up to three years long.

For it’s third incubator program that kickstarted in April 2022, Health Incubator Helsinki received in total 19 high-quality applications representing a wide range of health-related businesses. The majority of the applications came from Finland.

After interviews, nine startup companies were selected for the program: Corle Oy, Fepod Oy, Karsa Oy, Lapsi Health B.V, Moncyte, NADMED Oy, Olo (Nature Solutions Oy), Probiont Oy and Sonai Health Oy.

“During the selection process, we emphasised high growth potential, team dedication and high business scalability to international markets,” says Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Leader.

“We look forward to working with the teams to support them with their growth plans,” says Lardot.

Up to 3 years of individually tailored coaching

The nine selected startups start their journey at Health Incubator Helsinki with a two-month onboarding program. The purpose is to provide all teams with the elementary information and sufficient knowledge so that they have a good starting point to start scaling up their businesses. Trainings during the first months cover topics such as how to get funding, team building, sales, creating the pitch deck, building the business and financial plan, investment strategy, regulatory issues, and intellectual property.

Health Incubator Helsinki provides an individual approach, offering up to three years of coaching and mentoring tailored for the needs of each startup. According to the startups already in the program, most valuable aspects are getting support in securing financing, peer support, contacts with investors and access to Helsinki Metropolitan health ecosystem.

The companies are provided with modern office and co-working facilities at Terkko Health Hub in Meilahti campus area, Helsinki, in close proximity of HUS Helsinki University Hospital. Apart from a minor fee for the office space the incubator services are free for the participants, and no equity is taken.

Health startups, be in touch!

“We would like to encourage interested startups and researchers to be in touch with us as we are continuously looking for new growth companies,” says Christian Lardot.

Health Incubator Helsinki started operations with the first batch of startups in 2020. It is a part of the continuum that supports startups and research-based teams from universities and SPARK Finland to develop their health and life sciences innovations and business concepts towards becoming growth companies. The incubator is a joint effort by the City of Helsinki and University of Helsinki, and it is provided in partnership with Health Capital Helsinki.

Meet the 2022 batch of Health Incubator Helsinki startups

Corle Oy
Corle is developing a small wireless medical device for the diagnostic and monitoring purposes of sleep apnea. The patented solution is a non-invasive optical sensor for continuous medical grade health data collection from the earlobe, sending the data via Bluetooth to a mobile phone application for analysis and sharing.

Fepod Oy
Fepod’s technology enables healthcare professionals to measure the real blood concentration of paracetamol, opioids and other pain medicine directly from a drop of blood at the point-of-care. The sampling process is fast & simple and the results are available in seconds. The required equipment consists of a mobile phone, an affordable & small potentiostat and mass-producible & disposable sensors.

Karsa Oy
The Karsa chemical analysis platform eliminates laborious workflows for the analysis of small molecules. The company wants to bring this approach to the IVD market with analysis of bodily fluids.

Lapsi Health B.V
Lapsi Health is developing the new generation of digital biomarkers based on auscultatory sound. The data used as a biomarker has to be quantifiable and objective and the company’s novel technology greatly enhances its usage in medicine, relating it to the health-disease process for prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Moncyte
Efficient lowering of blood cholesterol is pivotal in reducing the risk for heart attack and stroke, the most frequent causes of death globally. Different cholesterol-lowering drugs are available, but it is difficult to find an optimal treatment strategy for each person, resulting in suboptimal treatment and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke for many patients. The Moncyte analysis tool sheds light on why individuals respond differently to cholesterol-lowering medication. This will enable novel personalized treatment strategies, helping more patients to achieve their blood cholesterol target levels and reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

NADMED Oy

The biology and key role of NAD molecules in human metabolism has been well known for decades, but measuring them has been devilishly difficult. NADMED has now brought to market an accurate, fast, scalable, and well protected method to do just that. The assay enables research in large human cohorts, leading to a rapidly increasing number of clinical applications. NADMED already services clinical practitioners, researchers and drug development companies.

Olo (by Nature Solutions Oy)

Olo empowers mindful exploration of self, community, and nature through personalized digital experiential learning that incorporates immersive listening and embodiment practice with real-time biofeedback and community support in a mobile app experience. Built on the foundation of neuroscience research and AI-powered technology, Olo’s app uniquely responds to the prolific mental health and stress management needs of each individual user.

Probiont Oy
Probiont Oy is developing a personalized solution for cancer therapy efficacy assessment. The organ-on-a-chip platform is purposed to enable rapid screening of cancer immunotherapeutics, for early identification of effective treatment strategies for individual patients.

Sonai Health Oy develops a new solution for heart diagnosis, utilising patented sensor solution, cloud service and machine learning.

Contact information
Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Leader
Tel. +358 40 195 2639
christian.lardot@hel.fi

About Health Incubator Helsinki
Health Incubator Helsinki is a comprehensive incubator program in Finland for research-based, early-stage teams and startups operating in the health sector. The incubator, initiated by the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, and operating in close co-operation with Health Capital Helsinki, started operations in 2020. There are now 32 health startups participating in the incubator programs.

About Health Capital Helsinki
Health Capital Helsinki is building the greatest health capital by developing the Helsinki Metropolitan health ecosystem, boosting the growth of innovation-driven startups and helping international investors and corporations find their opportunities and partners in Finland. healthcapitalhelsinki.fi

Finnish Organ-On-Chip startup Finnadvance raises a €1.2 million seed funding round

Finnish Organ-On-Chip startup Finnadvance raises a €1.2 million seed funding round

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Group of people posing for a picture.

Finnish Organ-On-Chip startup Finnadvance has secured a €1.2 million seed financing round led by Finnish investor Athensmed. Several existing investors, such as deep tech VC Voima Ventures and early-stage VC Icebreaker, are participating in the funding round. In addition, the funding also includes a new investor, Takoa Invest.

Finnadvance is a biotechnology startup from Oulu, Finland. The 3-year-old company develops platforms which recreate tissue models with microfluidic flow patterning and hydrogel coatings. These models simulate tissue and organ function, mechanics and physiological response, simulating human organs in miniature.

“Our technology allows for more human-like preclinical drug testing, fast repurposing of old drugs and, in the long term, development of personalized therapies and medicines,” states Finnadvance’s CEO Prateek Singh.

Finnadvance is participating in the Health Incubator Helsinki program since 2021.

Expanding to foreign markets

The €1.2 million funding round will greatly help the company in expanding their operations to foreign markets. With commercial activities in South Korea and Europe, Finnadvance is now heading to the US market. The company has received numerous EU and National funded grants to accelerate product research and development, and are now rapidly scaling their team.

“Finnadvance’s industry ready tissue modeling platform accelerates scientific and commercial drug research and brings remarkable savings in both cost and time. Prateek and his team have done an amazing job to bring this technology from an idea to a product. The IPR is also truly impressive”, explains Kustaa Piha, the CEO of Athensmed.

Warm congratulations to the Finnadvance team!

Read more about Finnadvance.

Contact information:

Joel Noutere, Customer Success Manager, Finnadvance Oy
+358 45 12 77 301, joel@finnadvance.com
www.finnadvance.com

Finnadvance's logo

Photo: Finnadvance 

Finnish health tech startup MedicubeX raised a seed round of €0.3M

MedicubeX is fundraising to produce automated self-measurement stations

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MedicubeX's eHealth station

The Finnish healthtech company MedicubeX has developed a self-measurement station automatically and hygienically measuring vital signs for preventive healthcare. Based on AI and sensor guided technology the station collects and analyzes data on the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in just a few minutes. MedicubeX, a Health Incubator Helsinki company, is currently fundraising to start and expand commercial operations in Europe.

The self-measurement station marketed under the name Medicube X™ eHealth Station is built on the platform of Framery known for their soundproof space solutions. Hygienic conditions are ensured with an automated UV-light based disinfection solution from Signify. The station is the only self-disinfecting and thus the safest solution on the market for the user. The station can be used fully autonomously without any assistance or guidance from healthcare personnel. 

For the autonomous measurement of vital signs, the newest medical devices integrated into a single modular platform are used. Everything is operated through a single user interface with a data connection to patient information systems and an option for remote appointments with a doctor.

“The station can autonomously measure blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, body temperature, body composition and arterial stiffness. Heart arrythmias can be detected with an automated analysis. In the future we can add on predictions for other diseases as well, such as skin or lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease,” says the CEO and co-founder of MedicubeX, Vili Kostamo M.D.

The Medicube X™ station can help in preventive healthcare because it enables the screening and follow-ups of elevated cardiovascular disease and diabetes risks. The health data collected is automatically entered into patient information systems and can be used to make medical treatment decisions and to support self-care.

”Our goal is to take care of the health of people and prevent expensive non-communicable diseases. According to some studies up to 80–90 per cent of serious cardiovascular diseases could be prevented if the risks were detected early,” Kostamo says.

MedicubeX is seeking investors with a valuation of 1.6 million euros

MedicubeX is owned nearly entirely by its founders Vili Kostamo and Heikki Rautajoki. Investors are offered shares with a pre-money valuation of 1.6 million euros. The funding round is organized by Funderbeam.

The goal is to raise up to €540,000 of capital to start customer pilots in Finland and the Netherlands and to start up commercial operations in the Nordic countries and the Baltics. Before the round, continuing until 6 April, went public on 3 March, €200,000 were already raised from private investors.

The company aims to patent a cardiovascular disease risk index. The index is based on multiple measurements predicting disease risks including a novel AGE-measurement from skin.

Preventing diseases in a scalable, cost-effective way

High growth is expected for the highly automated, self-disinfecting self-measurement station as there are no equivalent solutions available in Europe. Ease of use and cost-effectiveness are core competitive advantages.

“From the perspective of disease prevention repeated blood tests and physical examinations are too expensive and complicated. Some people are afraid of needles which raises the barrier of risk analysis even further. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the deficit of healthcare resources worse and the overstrained healthcare systems cannot meet demand. In this new situation the importance of autonomous, preventive healthcare is highlighted,” Kostamo believes.

“Healthcare service systems in Europe are facing a turning point. The autonomous self-measurement concept and business model developed by MedicubeX are a brave approach to preventing diseases in a cost-effective way. A European network of eHealth stations and automated data-analytics enable scalable health benefits and great commercial potential,” describes the market development Thomas Lundström, Director of consulting company Knowit Insight who invested in the company.

“The state of health and its real time tracking are constantly becoming more important. A person can use the MedicubeX solution to safely make measurements which have so far needed an appointment with a doctor. For example, in the prevention of type 2 diabetes measurements are crucial. The period following COVID-19 will further globally reinforce the growth of the self-measurement market. MedicubeX has the strong makings of a breakthrough,” believes Stefan Haglund, a partner of the investment company StartMore.  

MedicubeX estimates the market of autonomous self-measurement to reach approximately €400 million in the EU by 2027.

Read more about MedicubeX.

Further information:

Vili Kostamo M.D., CEO MedicubeX Oy
vili.kostamo@medicube.fi
+358443001617

Jaanika Merilo, Head of PR & Communications, Funderbeam
jaanika.merilo@funderbeam.com
+3725131345

MedicubeX's logo

Medicubex Ltd is a Finnish innovation-driven startup company founded in 2020 for the development and sales of smart self-service solutions for healthcare and communities. They aim to provide fast, clinical grade health measurements and cost-effective tools for early detection of diseases with a quick, accessible approach through the MedicubeX eHealth stations.

Funderbeam is a global equity funding and trading platform. They connect a diverse investor network with highly vetted growth companies across international markets and, through The Marketplace, allow private investments to be traded.

Photos: MedicubeX

Mindler acquires Health Incubator Helsinki company Medified to improve digital treatment solutions in mental health care

Mindler acquires Health Incubator Helsinki company Medified to improve digital treatment solutions in mental health care

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 Medified's mobile app

Swedish Mindler, one of Europe’s leading mental health treatment platforms, has announced the acquisition of Finnish health tech startup Medified Solutions Oy. Medified was founded by medical students in 2019 and has developed and clinically implemented a digital mental health treatment monitoring software.

Mindler acquires the CE-certified medical product Medified as well as its team of software and business developers. Medified will be an integral component to Mindler’s platform and psychologists work enabling a more data-driven approach for treatment planning, mental health assessment, monitoring, and operative support as well as treatment outcome evaluation. Mindler currently operates in Sweden, France, the Netherlands and the UK.

Medified’s unique data sources provide mental health care with the objective data needed for the measurement of clinically validated treatment outcomes and the creation of valuable patient-centric tools for professionals to utilize in the treatment decision processes and assessment of patients’ recovery.

“The entire Medified team is super excited to join the Mindler family. The announcement means we have the opportunity to take what we’ve built and learned at Medified to ramp up our impact to a whole new level with Mindler”, says Valtteri Korkiakoski, CEO of Medified.

“Solving global mental health challenges requires ambition and innovation. Now together with Mindler I believe that transforming mental healthcare is one step closer.”

From founding the startup to acquisition in 1,000 days

Medified joined Health Incubator Helsinki in the first batch of startups in 2020. The company advanced from founding to acquisition phase in 1,000 days, which is an amazing achievement.

“The Medified team has done an outstanding job in building their company with a dedication and clear focus in mind from the start. I am glad to see that – through the acquisition by Mindler – they will get new resources that enables the scaling of their concept internationally,” says Christian Lardot, Health Incubator Helsinki Leader.

Warm congratulations to the whole Medified team and all the best on your journey ahead!

Read the acquisition news in Medtech News and Talouselämä (in Finnish).

Read our previous article on Medified.

For more information contact:
Krista Ehrnrooth
Krista.ehrnrooth@mindler.se
+358 40 562 7364

Photo: Medified

Study: Online coaching is a good addition to maternity clinic’s offering

Study: Online coaching is a good addition to maternity clinic’s offering

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Two adults and three children posing for a camera.

A study conducted by Health Incubator Helsinki company Nordic Fit Mama, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and the Ouluhealth Lab finds online coaching an excellent tool in post-partum rehabilitation. Digital coaching was praised by both participating mothers and nurses.

The study, testing the Nordic Fit Mama online postnatal programme, was carried out at the Kaakkuri Wellness Center in Oulu, Finland, in the autumn of 2021.  Both mothers and nurses saw digital coaching as a well-functioning solution for mothers recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. The Nordic Fit Mama online program focuses on rehabilitation of the core and pelvic floor muscles. It also includes guidance on mental health maintenance and tools to cope in the new life situation.

Easily accessible and cost effective digital coaching can effectively improve the health of new mothers – and reduce healthcare workload

According to the nurses involved in the study, an easily accessible online coaching is a good addition to maternity clinic’s offering. They believe it can effectively improve the health and well-being of mothers and families and reduce the workload on nurses at the clinic. The nurses reported that mothers were excited about the new service.

The participating mothers praised the coaching for clear and professional instructions and the ease-of-use of the platform. Nurses said they had also benefited from the training themselves, by getting more information about postnatal rehabilitation. They hoped to receive more coaching in the future.

“It would be great to get more advice, tips and tools like this, to be offered at the clinic to new mothers,” says one nurse.

In general, the experiment was considered as a success and a promising opportunity for healthcare.

Experience from helping 20,000 new mothers

Founded in 2017, Nordic Fit Mama has already helped 20,000 mothers to recover safely from childbirth. The feedback from mothers has been almost invariably excellent. Many mothers return to the program after a new pregnancy.

Over the past five years, Nordic Fit Mama has gathered a lot of valuable information about new mothers and their needs and desires. The information is used to develop the service that helps in the delicate and unique phase of new motherhood in the best possible way.

“Studies have shown that digital services have great potential in public healthcare. We would like to see this development to be a little faster so that no mother is left alone with problems for which there is a solution,” says Riina Laaksonen, the founder of Nordic Fit Mama.

Read an article about Nordic Fit Mama

More information:
Riina Laaksonen, CEO, Nordic Fit Mama, tel. +358 40 180 1535, riina@nordicfitmama.fi
www.nordicfitmama.fi

Photo: Nordic Fit Mama

Helsinki’s long-term health incubator seeks promising startups

Helsinki’s long-term health incubator seeks promising startups

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Team members of Phonolyser

Health Incubator Helsinki is a long-term, customised business incubator program for research-based growth companies operating in the health sector. This is the third time that the program is seeking new, promising startups. Health Incubator Helsinki is open for applications until 31 March, and approximately ten teams will be selected for the program starting in April.

Finland is renowned for its excellent healthcare system, high-quality medical and pharmaceutical research and exceptionally extensive and diverse health data. The Helsinki Metropolitan Area is home to a progressive health ecosystem consisting of various research universities, hospitals, companies and organisations operating in the sector. There are also close to 100 health sector startups operating within the area’s active startup community. The Helsinki region truly is a unique development environment for companies that develop products or services based on health data to cater to the needs of healthcare professionals.

Health Incubator Helsinki helps commercialise research innovations

Health Incubator Helsinki was established in 2020 to boost the commercialisation and growth of research innovations towards successful business operations. On an international scale, the incubator program is long-term – it lasts up to three years – and it provides the participating companies with expert mentoring, networks and peer support.

“The program is customised based on the individual needs of each selected team. We can help, for example, with concept development and piloting as well as gaining access to financing and the market. We have an extensive network and we like to bring together various operators,” says Christian Lardot, Incubator Leader at Health Incubator Helsinki.

Currently there are 23 startups, almost all of which have their roots in university research, that are developing their business operations in the incubator, located in the Meilahti Hospital area in close proximity of HUS Helsinki University Hospital. With the exception of an office facility fee, the incubator program is free-of-charge for the participants, and both Finnish and international startup teams are encouraged to apply. Health Incubator Helsinki is a joint effort of the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki, and it cooperates with Health Capital Helsinki, an alliance focused on developing the ecosystem.

First-program startups raised significant financing

The first results of Health Incubator Helsinki are encouraging, to say the least. The 11 startups that started in the first program raised in total EUR 8 million in funding in 2021. The sum includes both private direct investments and grants.

Uute Scientific Oy started in the first incubator program in 2020. The company has developed a microbial extract called Reconnecting Nature™, containing microbes from forests that enhance the human immune system. The extract can be used, for example, in cosmetics or textiles. The company recently announced that it has received an additional EUR 1.2 million in funding to accelerate its operations.

“Health Incubator Helsinki’s business advisors listen to the individual needs of companies and react to them by organising relevant training and meetings with investors. This together with the flexible office facilities have given us an excellent opportunity to focus on growing our business,” says Kari Sinivuori, CEO of Uute Scientific Oy.

Last autumn, Phonolyser Oy, a company that started in the second incubator program in 2021, won the world’s largest health technology event MEDICA’s startup competition with its innovation that detects congenital heart disease in infants quickly and cost-efficiently. The entire Phonolyser team relocated to Finland from abroad after having been selected for the program and established their company in Helsinki.

“Health Incubator Helsinki team is ‘all-in’ when it comes to supporting, promoting and mentorship. It’s like a family: they are always there when we need them. Business premises and good location within the HUS Helsinki University Hospital is the least you can expect,” says Bahman Doaeian, CBO of Phonolyser.

Team of Uute Scientific, six people posing for a picture.

The Uute Scientific Co-Founders from left: Olli Laitinen, Rita Nordin, Oliver Boldt, Kari Sinivuori, Heikki Hyöty and Aki Sinkkonen. Image: Uute Scientific

In search of ground-breaking innovations and persistent teams

The application period for the third incubator program is 7 February–31 March 2022. Candidates selected from among the applications will be invited to interview. Approximately 10–12 teams will be selected for the program starting in April 2022.

“During the application process, we will assess whether there is a market for the company’s innovation, service or product. Is the company involved in creating something new or improving existing solutions? One of the key factors we are looking for is dedication and perseverance of team members,” says Lardot.

For more information, please contact:

Click here to apply by 31 March

Contact information:
Christian Lardot, Incubator Leader, tel. 040 195 2639, christian.lardot@hel.fi

Caption: An innovative device developed by the Helsinki-based company Phonolyser detects congenital heart disease in infants by combining AI with data produced by three different sensors. Team members from the left: Sanaz Naderi, Markus Tuukkanen, Jalmari Talola, Javad Maleki, Farnaz Farahdel and Bahman Doaeian. Image: Roope Permanto

Finnish and Estonian health tech startups showcased their high-level innovation

Finnish and Estonian health tech startups showcased their high-level innovation

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Banner of Finnish-Estonian Health Economy Demo Day

Finnish-Estonian Health Economy Demo Day brought together investors, startups and health ecosystem players from the cross-border region to hear the pitches of eight promising health tech startups. The investor jury awarded Phonolyser (FIN) and Neurosalience (EST) as winners, and praised the high quality of the pitching companies. 

The Health Economy Demo Day, organised in December 2021 for the second time by Health Incubator Helsinki and Health Founders from Tallinn, aims to bring Finnish and Estonian health innovation ecosystems closer together and give investors a view of the region’s most promising early-stage health tech startups at one glance. Read more about the event here.

In the event, eight high-potential startups pitched their innovation: AnalysisModeCardiomtecHenkaus and Phonolyser from Finland, and DermtestNanordica MedicalNeurosalience and .life from Estonia.

In addition, the nearly 130 registrees had the opportunity to follow a panel discussion with investors Shinichi Nikkuni (NordicNinja VC) and Ed Deng (Verge HealthTech Fund), moderated by Health Founders’ Erki Mölder.

Interested in the pitches or the panel discussion? View the event recording here.

Phonolyser and Neurosalience for the win

After Q&A with each company, the jury chose Phonolyser (FIN) and Neurosalience (EST) as the two winners. The active, esteemed jury consisted of four investors: Juha Lindfors (Lifeline Ventures), Marko Kuisma (Courage Ventures Funds), Scarlett Chen (Prudential Corporation Asia) and Andrus Oks (Tera Ventures).

Congratulations to the winners of the event:

Banner of Finnish-Estonian Health Economy Demo Day with winners' logos.

Neurosalience, pitched by Co-Founder, CEO Ksenia Sokolova, is a tool for early detection of dementia from structural MRI and CT data capable of processing even low-resolution MRI data and CT scans.

“We at Neurosalience were pleasantly surprised that we won the award. The Demo Day was a great experience and also extremely useful for us as Neurosaliance received great traction and many new connections. The event would definitely benefit us as we are preparing for the first investment round”, says Ksenia Sokolova, Neurosalience.

Phonolyser, pitched by CBO Bahman Doaeian, is a smart heart sound analyzer that combines AI (signal processing and analyzing), doppler-technology, and sound analysis to comprehensively assess and investigate the existence of CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) on children.

“Saving children with heart disease is our goal and we are thankful for providing us with a platform that helps reach this cause,” comments Bahman Doaeian, Phonolyser.

Great health tech pioneering work in Finland and Estonia

The investor juri was pleased to see the high overall quality of the pitching companies. Access to capital and support are defining factors on the journey ahead for the companies.

“There’s a lot of pioneering work going on both in Finland and Estonia in digital health and health tech, and that was really reflected in the presenting companies. Access to dedicated capital and support from experienced entrepreneurs will be important to capitalize on the great development done so far in these companies,” says Marko Kuisma, Courage Ventures Funds.

 “Health Founders and Health Capital Helsinki teams did a great job selecting the high calibre companies and preparing each for the pitch,” adds Scarlett Chen, Prudential Corporation Asia.

Thank you to the startups, jury, speakers, and participating investors and audience for tuning in and making the event a success. The collaboration between Helsinki Metropolitan region and Tallinn health ecosystems continues, and we welcome everyone onboard.

Health Incubator Helsinki is a comprehensive incubator program in Finland for research-based, early-stage teams and startups operating in the health sector. The program is currently a home for 24 promising teams.

Health Founders is the first health economy accelerator in the Baltics with a mission to launch 100 new health tech companies over the next 10 years. Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the unique program brings together ambitious founders, experienced mentors and forward-looking industry partners to build the future of health.

The Finnish science based Uute Scientific Oy has completed a financing round of 1.2 million euros

The Finnish science based Uute Scientific Oy has completed a financing round of 1.2 million euros

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Uute Scientific's team

Health Incubator Helsinki startup from batch of 2020, Uute Scientific Oy, has completed a financing round of 1.2 million euros. The main investor in the additional financing round was Butterfly Ventures, which had previously invested in the company. Also, Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd) and earlier shareholders participated in it. With the new capital, the company aims for even faster growth and development.

“Uute Scientific has a strong technology- and research background from the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, as well as a good IP base. The team is really good. In addition, the speed with which Uute Scientific has been able to acquire paying customers has surprised us positively several times. Uute Scientific Oy is clearly one of our portfolio companies of which we expect a really big success story. Additional investments in Uute Scientific have been in our investment plans for some time. For these reasons, the additional investment was an easy solution,” says Juho Risku, Butterfly Ventures Oy’s Co-Founder and Partner.

“Currently, about 500 million people suffer from immune-mediated diseases such as allergies, celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. This is due to urbanization and the fact that there is no longer exposure to nature’s diverse microbes. We believe that it is better to prevent these diseases than to treat the symptoms,” says Kari Sinivuori, CEO of Uute Scientific Oy.

“We currently have 10 customers who have brought about 30 consumer products to the Finnish and UK markets. In addition, we have delivered test batches to Germany and Spain. We have very strong scientific support for our patented raw material, and this additional round of funding guarantees us the opportunity for various development projects with international consumer goods giants. At the same time, we are looking towards 2023, aiming for an IPO,” Sinivuori continues.

More information:

Kari Sinivuori, Uute Scientific Oy, CEO, Chairman of the Board
kari.sinivuori@uutescientific.com +358 50 386 0444

Juho Risku, Butterfly Ventures Oy, Co-Founder, Partner
juho@butterfly.vc, +358 40 557 4004

 

Uute Scientific Oy manufactures a microbial extract that corresponds to the microbial community found in a rich forest and nature. Our raw material is researched and safe to use. When added as a raw material to various consumer products, such as cosmetics or textiles, natural exposure can be introduced into everyday life even when it is not possible in an urban environment. Environmental exposure is essential for the immune system to be able to train itself and maintain its operations. Uute Scientific Oy was established in accordance with the rules and processes of commercialization used at the University of Helsinki. The company’s trademark is Reconnecting Nature™. www.uutescientific.com

Butterfly Ventures is one of the leading seed stage venture capital companies in the Nordic countries focused on deep technology and hardware innovation. Butterfly Ventures was founded in 2012 and has offices in Helsinki, Oulu, Stockholm and Tallinn. The Butterfly Ventures team has solid experience in seed stage investments through more than 80 companies and more than 200 investment rounds. www.butterfly.vc

Tesi (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd) is a state-owned investment company that wants to raise Finland to the front ranks of transformative economic growth by investing in funds and directly in companies. We invest profitably and responsibly, hand-in-hand with co-investors, to create the world’s new success stories. Our investments under management total 2.1 billion euros. Our investment in Uute Scientific was made from the Venture Bridge special investment programme. www.tesi.fi

Health Incubator Helsinki startups secured €10.3M in funding during the first half of 2023

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year 2022

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Health Incubator Helsinki team wants to thank the driven startups within our incubator program and all collaboration partners for a great, active year! 

Wishing you a happy and relaxing holiday season and all the best for the year ahead!🌟🎄

New angel investor for femtech company Nordic Fit Mama

New angel investor for femtech company Nordic Fit Mama

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Two women doing workout with a baby.

A recent survey by Health Capital Helsinki shows that access to funding is by far the biggest challenge for healthcare startups. Most of the responding companies need funding immediately or within a year. Health Incubator Helsinki startup Nordic Fit Mama shares what their angel investors looked for when investing. 

Nordic Fit Mama is a digital company founded by Ms. Riina Laaksonen that focuses on the well-being of mothers. In August 2021, Ms. Saana Ahonen, an angel investor focusing on responsibility and impact investments, joined the financiers of the underlying Nordic Wellness Group. Kustaa Piha, a medical doctor and serial entrepreneur who invests in digital health has been involved since 2019.

According to Ms. Laaksonen, Saana Ahonen joined the Nordic Fit Mama investors because of the company’s solvency, interesting growth prospects both in Finland and internationally, and it’s business idea: making women’s health services available to everyone.

Ahonen, who has worked e.g. in Uganda, is particularly committed to promoting gender equality. According to Ahonen, all mothers in the world should have the right to quality health care. Cost-effective and location-independent digital services are a good solution for this. Nordic Fit Mama has developed into an expert not only in womens’ well-being but also in digital services, whose expertise is internationally commissioned.

The company’s team consists of women and mothers of all ages, so there is a passion for mothers’ well-being, health, and equality. Passion and ambition are things that Kustaa Piha paid attention to when considering the investment decision. According to him, it is also important that there is evidence that results have been achieved.

“When I talk to investors, the first thing I always say is that I’m not primarily interested in money. The money comes and goes, the investor stays, so it is important that they share the same key values and goals,” says Laaksonen. 

“Internationalization requires a solid financial base. We are able to offer the opportunity to take Finnish excellence in maternal health care to the growing digital services market,” Laaksonen adds.

In addition to angel investors, Nordic Fit Mama has received funding from Business Finland, the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion, and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY).

Read more about Nordic Fit Mama here.

Contact information:

Riina Laaksonen
riina@nordicfitmama.fi
tel. +358 40 180 1535
www.nordicfitmama.fi

Nordic Fitmama's logo

Photos: Nordic Fit Mama

Finnish and Estonian health tech startups showcased their high-level innovation

Health Economy Demo Day showcases promising startups from the Finnish-Estonian health innovation ecosystem

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Banner of Finnish-Estonian Health Economy Demo Day

Following a successful first Demo Day in January 2021, Health Founders from Tallinn and Health Incubator Helsinki are joining forces again to give 8 bright startups a floor to present their groundbreaking solutions in order to ease and prevent the healthcare burden. Welcome to join the free online event on 15 December (14:00-17:00 EET)!

Health Economy Demo Day, taking place online on 15 December 2021, will showcase promising healthtech startups from Finland and Estonia. The event welcomes investors, startups, health enthusiasts and ecosystem players to tune in, learn more from the startups’ solutions and support the startups to reach new levels towards offering relief to patients and healthcare providers.

Register for the free event here.

“The event is one stepping stone in building a strong, international, Finnish-Estonian health innovation community. When competing in global markets, increasing the cross-border collaboration in the FinEst Bay Area is really important. With this event, we want to offer investors a focused view on the region’s health tech startup scene at one glance, as well as bring the startups from both countries closer together”, says Senior Business Advisor Lauri Kuronen from Health Incubator Helsinki.

“The startup teams have grown remarkably within the last 9 months since they started the Health Founders accelerator programme, and we’re extremely proud of them. This event is a unique concept that brings together the gems of Estonian and Finnish health ecosystem. We are seeing more and more investors searching for suitable investment opportunities – and they can find them in this event”, adds Founding Partner of Health Founders, Erki Mölder.

Meet the eight promising startups pitching on Health Economy Demo Day

Banner with logos and pictures of company representatives.

Nanordica Medical (EST)
Nanordica Medical has invented and patented a nanoformula enabling it to develop 8x more efficient antibacterial products compared to the existing market alternatives.

Phonolyser (FIN)
Phonolyser has developed a smart heart sound analyzer that combines AI (signal processing and analyzing), doppler-technology, and sound analysis to comprehensively assess and investigate the existence of congenital heart diseases on newborns and babies.

.life (EST)
.life is developing a unique AI-powered psychology-based application, which aim is to help those who are under constant time pressure and experience lack of balance as well as those who are in the middle of a burnout or are dealing with mental health problems.

Cardiomtec (FIN)
Cardiomtec is making whistleblower software for the heart, making early identification of cardiac issues possible through a device that measures and analyzes the activity of the heart using an ECG signal.

Banner with logos and pictures of company representatives.

AnalysisMode (FIN)
AnalysisMode is an AI platform for Biotech R&D empowering scientists to yield 5x more results. From predictive analytics to designing lab experiments, AI steers the R&D
towards success.

Neurosalience (EST)
Neurosalience is a tool for early detection of dementia from structural MRI and CT data capable of processing even low-resolution MRI data and CT scans.

Henkaus (FIN)
Henkaus provides medical grade vital signs measuring solutions for remote patient care. Our trustworthy measurements can be used for diagnosis by medical professionals and service providers.

Dermtest (EST)
Dermtest is a digital toolbox for skin and wound care. Dermtest includes an app for capturing skin problems or wounds at home as well as empowers local doctors and family physicians to provide early access to suspicious mole check-ups.

Boosting motivation and providing investor contacts

Migrevention (EST) was selected as one of two winners in the previous Health Economy Demo Day, held at the beginning of 2021. Demo Day provided the company investor contacts and motivation. 

“At that time, we were a less than a year old pre-product/market company. As of now, we have brought part of our digital headache clinic and a simple digital headache diary with headache nurse support to the market and found a product-market fit in Estonia. We certainly got a great motivational boost to go further with our development from the Demo Day along with several investor contacts which led us to our recent pre-seed investment. The FinEst Health Economy Demo Day is a great and distinct event to get a glimpse of Estonian and Finnish novel healthcare innovation”, says Katrina Laks, CEO of Migrevention.

About Health Incubator Helsinki
Health Incubator Helsinki is a comprehensive incubator program in Finland for research-based, early-stage teams and startups operating in the health sector. The program is currently a home for 24 promising teams.

About Health Founders
Health Founders is the first health economy accelerator in the Baltics with a mission to launch 100 new health tech companies over the next 10 years. Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the unique program brings together ambitious founders, experienced mentors and forward-looking industry partners to build the future of health.

Uute Scientific is attracting global cosmetic brands

Uute Scientific is attracting global cosmetic brands

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Uute Scientific's product picture

A growing number of companies have noticed the potential of microbial extract developed by a Health Incubator Helsinki startup Uute Scientific. The world’s largest cosmetic brands also want to get their hands on the innovative extract.

Health Incubator Helsinki startup Uute Scientific is gaining more and more ground with their nature-based microbial extract, Reconnecting Nature™. Recently, 11 companies have expressed their interest in the company’s scientifically proven innovation that is developed to boost the immune system of both people and domestic animals. For Uute Scientific, this news is particularly exciting as these potential customers are among the top 20 largest cosmetic brands in the world.

The Health Incubator Helsinki company has its roots in the universities of Tampere and Helsinki. The immune-boosting extract – mixed by hand in Lohja, Finland – can currently be found in various consumer products ranging from cosmetics to textiles and toys.

Read more about Uute Scientific’s plans for the future and the manufacturing process of Reconnecting Nature™ in an article, published by Tekniikka & Talous (in Finnish) here.

Photo: Uute Scientific

Finnish health startups show great growth potential – funding is urgently needed

Finnish health startups show great growth potential – funding is urgently needed

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Health Capital Helsinki's opening event.

Finland offers great potential for investors looking for new health innovations. According to a survey commissioned by Health Capital Helsinki, Finnish health startups are facing urgent need for funding.

There are approximately 400 health startups in Finland, a quarter of them located in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. Health Capital Helsinki, in collaboration with Upgraded, conducted a survey on Finnish health startups of their current needs and challenges.

According to the survey, the most critical and urgent need lies in raising funding. Most of the startups say that they need funding immediately (42%) or within a year (42%). Other significant needs mentioned in the survey include support for sales and marketing, and finding reference and pilot customers.

Health startups also have recruitment needs. Within a year, 75% of the startups plan to hire salespeople, 67% plan to hire R&D or technical specialists, and 47% plan to hire marketing specialists.

“Securing funding and finding a strategic funding partner in the early stage is vital for a health startup. Healthcare innovations take years to develop, testing and validation is complex and slow, but once you get there, the opportunities are huge,” says Juha Paakkola, Director of Health Capital Helsinki.

“Finland produces great research- and science-based innovative startups, but as a small country the health-focused funding resources are limited. Therefore, connecting innovative startups with health-specialised international investors is a key priority for Health Capital Helsinki,” Paakkola adds.

Public procurement and finding the right investors seen as bottlenecks

The majority of interviewed startups voiced that innovative businesses are well-supported in Finland. Crucial information needed, for instance, about regulatory compliance, is easily accessible and well laid out. Various grants and loans from Business Finland, as well as targeted activities in the Uusimaa region, are also strongly appreciated by the interviewed companies.

According to the interviewed companies, challenging areas include the slow timeline and lack of transparency in public procurement, as well as finding the right investors. From supporting organisations such as Health Capital Helsinki, companies are mostly looking for tailor-made introductions and connections to relevant parties.

Startup entrepreneurs at Slush.

Demand in digital health demand and leaps taken in biotech create great opportunities for Finnish companies

Growth funding raised by Finnish startups has been constantly increasing in recent years. In terms of funding, it is estimated that 2021 will mark a record-breaking year in the Finnish startup ecosystem. Statistics show that in 2020, Finland had the highest share of venture capital as a percentage of GDP compared to any other European country.

positive trend in growth funding is also visible in the healthcare sector: in 2020, private investments in health startups in the Helsinki Metropolitan area almost tripled, compared to 2019.* Healthcare was also the most attractive sector for Finnish angel investors in 2020.

This year, Finnish health companies raising significant international funding include Oura (83 MEUR), Aiforia (30 MEUR) and Finnish-origin Meru Health (38 MUSD), currently mainly operating in the US. Health companies that have gone public in 2021 include Nightingale Health, Modulight and Bioretec. Mobidiag was acquired by US-based Hologic, Inc with a 668 MEUR deal.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created an unforeseen demand in digital health, and together with giant leaps taken in biotech, there are now very interesting market opportunities for Finnish companies”, Juha Paakkola says.

*Statistics of FiBAN and Finnish Venture Capital Association

Laptop

Connecting startups with investors and corporations

One of the main focus areas of Health Capital Helsinki is to match the right startups with the right investors and corporations at the right time. An example of this is the Finnish Health & Life Science Research Showcase to Investors 2020 event that introduced 26 promising research projects from Finnish universities to almost 40 investors. The event is organised again in December 2021.

Another example is the Nordic Big Pharma Reverse Pitching Event, organised in September 2021, giving over 100 startups the possibility to connect with three global pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the Health Capital Helsinki team organises tailored one-on-one introductions when suitable matches are found.

Health Incubator Helsinki, a comprehensive incubator program for health startups launched in 2020, is currently supporting 24 startups and research teams, with Health Capital Helsinki actively involved. Health Capital Helsinki is also connecting key ecosystem stakeholders and building up a stronger and forward-looking health community in the Helsinki region.

About the survey
Health Capital Helsinki studied the needs and challenges of Finnish health startups in June-August 2021. The survey was conducted by Upgraded, the association of Finnish health startups, under the supervision and support of Health Capital Helsinki. Data was gathered from C-level executives of health and wellbeing startups by means of a questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The questionnaire was sent to roughly 200 health startups; 57 unique responses were received. In addition, 10 executives were interviewed to develop a deeper understanding of the issues raised in the questionnaire. The main target audience was companies in the Uusimaa region but not limited to it.

About Health Capital Helsinki
Health Capital Helsinki is building the greatest health capital by developing the Helsinki Metropolitan health ecosystem, boosting the growth of innovation-driven startups, and helping international investors and corporations find their opportunities and partners in Finland. Health Capital Helsinki is your guide to the capital region and Finland. We’re supported by a public alliance of the largest cities, hospitals and educational institutions in Finland: Cities of Helsinki and Espoo, HUS Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Aalto University, and Helsinki Metropolitan Universities of Applied Sciences Haaga-Helia, Laurea and Metropolia.
www.healthcapitalhelsinki.fi

Photos: Keksi Agency / City of Helsinki

Phonolyser is the winner of the MEDICA 2021 Startup Competition

Phonolyser is the winner of the MEDICA 2021 Startup Competition

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The winners of MEDICA Startup Competition 2021.

More than 250 startups from all over the world took part in the 10th MEDICA Startup Competition with their solutions in AI in healthcare, health apps and robotics. The main prize in the Medical Startups category went to Health Incubator Helsinki company Phonolyser.

Helsinki-based medical startup Phonolyser has a good reason to celebrate. The company has just won the Medical Startups category of the MEDICA Startup Competition 2021, held in Düsseldorf, Germany, with their smart heart sound analyzer. MEDICA is the world’s leading event in the medical sector.

Bahman Doaeian, Chief Business Officer at Phonolyser sees the achievement as a remarkable step in his company’s mission of safeguarding infants’ health and wellbeing.

“We believe this is just the beginning of our journey. By this achievement, we have shown that there is a huge potential to improve people’s lives and save children in a meaningful way. Our partners also know that by helping us, we can achieve this ambitious target together”, he says.

Phonolyser is one of the promising health startups selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021. The company’s solution combines AI, doppler-technology, and sound analysis to identify and diagnose Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) on newborns and children more effectively and faster than ever before.

Huge congratulations to the Phonolyser team!

Read our article on Phonolyser here.

In the photo, the winners of MEDICA Startup Competition 2021. Photo: Przemek Grzywa

Trialwell connects people and researchers for a clinical trial win-win

Trialwell connects people and researchers for a clinical trial win-win

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Two people posing for the camera.

To improve their quality of life, lots of people would benefit from access to clinical trials. At the same time, researchers setting up clinical trials are usually hard-pressed to find enough participants. Could the solution lie in building a bridge between the people and the researchers? Let’s meet Trialwell, one of the startups selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021.

Trialwell is a new startup that wants to support the citizen’s health and wellbeing, connecting him/her with clinical trials and studies that match the person’s health profile. This service is provided free of charge to the citizen.

Laura Holland, CEO and co-founder of Trialwell, explains that the startup intends to grow a user population of people from a broad demographic who want to be part of research.

“We’re zeroing in on those people who are actively on the look-out for health and wellbeing solutions.”

AI finding candidates for trials

The startup specialises in clinical trials and studies, simplifying the entire process to give people full access to all treatment options, says Holland.

“Our platform will use AI technology to find pre-screened candidates by matching inclusion and exclusion criteria with our user health profiles,” she explains.

Research featured on Trialwell has the power to make significant contributions to people living with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, stress induced illnesses…

Furthermore, Trialwell’s databases are encrypted and GDPR compliant.

“All data is stored within the EU,” adds Holland.

Health Incubator Helsinki's logo

Laura Holland

End to trial recruitment woes?

For the science community, Trialwell should bring welcome relief, providing research recruitment that’s both inexpensive and convenient. With Trialwell, the research teams only pay for every successfully matched candidate, allowing them to focus on the research itself.

“Studies suggest that over 80% of clinical trials fail to recruit in time which poses a big problem. Due to these issues, as much as 40% of the over-all research budget goes to recruiting which is way too much,” Holland says.

Trialwell has already built a collaboration network that features, so far, eight UK universities.

Free access to treatments, therapies and information

Trialwell has taken on the ambitious goal of connecting the science community and the general public, calling it a symbiotic relationship that needs to be supported in order to facilitate future research in a cost-effective way.

Obviously, the more people take part in clinical trials and studies through Trialwell, the better the chances to support the development of new treatments and preventative strategies to tackle health threats. So far, Trialwell has rallied 1,200 participants in the UK and Finland for its cause.

“We also want to do our part in closing the current data gap; to raise awareness and encourage men and women from all ethnic groups to participate in research. At the same time, we need to reduce wellbeing polarity,” she says, adding that free access to treatments, therapies and information lies at the heart of the Trialwell ideology.

Trialwell has been built to be prevention-focused from day one:

“Prevention is kinder, cheaper and more effective than cure,” Holland points out.

Active in UK & Finland

The UK is the main market for the startup, but Trialwell has launched a pilot project together with VTT and is participating in Health Incubator Helsinki as one of Batch II companies.

Holland has enjoyed the incubator experience:

“The incubator functions as a great sounding board for us and other companies. It’s good to have the support of the entire network.”

Trialwell's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Trialwell

Product: Connecting participants and researchers for clinical trials and studies

Founded: 2020

Team size: 3

Target customer/market: people with health issues, researchers 

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photo: Trialwell
Cover photo: Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Marketing

Finnish and Estonian health tech startups showcased their high-level innovation

Health Founders and Health Incubator Helsinki are inviting you to the second FinEst Health Economy Demo Day!

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Welcome to Finnish-Estonian Health Economy Demo Day on Wed, 15 December, 2021, showcasing the rising stars of the cross-border health innovation ecosystem!

In this online event, 8 promising healthtech startups from Finland and Estonia will showcase their solutions, followed by a panel discussion with investors. Whether you’re a startup, investor or just interested in healthtech innovation – save the date and sign up now!

The event is organised by Health Founders accelerator and Health Incubator Helsinki. It is a sequel to a successful first Demo Day in January 2021 that brought together over 80 investors, startups and ecosystem partners.

8 promising STARTUPS pitching at Health Economy Demo Day:

Phonolyser
AnalysisMode
Cardiomtec
Henkaus
Neurosalience
.life
Nanordica Medical

PROGRAM:

14:00 – 14:15 Welcome
14:15 – 16:00 Pitches from Health Founders & Health Incubator Helsinki teams (5 min + 5 min Q&A)
16:00 – 16:30 Panel discussion with investors
16:30 – 17:00 Awards

JURY members:

Joseph Mocanu, Managing Partner at Verge HealthTech Fund
Andrus Oks, Founding Partner at Tera Ventures
Juha Lindfors, Partner at Lifeline Ventures
Marko Kuisma, Partner at Courage Ventures Funds

Register now!

Health Incubator Helsinki is a comprehensive incubator program in Finland for research-based, early-stage teams and startups operating in the health sector. Currently, there are 24 teams/startups in the program. Follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter!

Health Founders is the first health economy accelerator in the Baltics with a mission to launch 100 new healthtech companies over the next 10 years. Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the unique program brings together ambitious founders, experienced mentors and forward-looking industry partners to build the future of health. Find them on LinkedIn and Facebook!

Fighting infertility with computer algorithms

Fighting infertility with computer algorithms

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Baby

Fertility treatments often lack predictability, leading into uncertainty and frustration. Through the power of machine learning, however, it is possible to improve the over-all effectiveness of fertility treatments. New Finnish startup Knewborn wants to accomplish all this – and more. The company is one of the promising startups selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021.

Co-founder Sara Veleva is an experienced physician who is skilled in Research, Medical Education, Gynecology, Epidemiology, and Statistical Data Analysis. Hailing from Bulgaria, she came to study in Finland almost 20 years ago.

“When I first got the invitation from the University of Oulu, my friends joked it was located so far up north that there had to be penguins,” she looks back now, laughing. 

Her award-winning, 2008 doctoral thesis focused on infertility, providing a solid future base for a startup focused on infertility issues.

Award-winning thesis led to idea development

At the time, even Time Magazine interviewed her, further convincing Veleva that there’s something worth developing here.

“There’s a huge amount of uncertainty that comes with fertility treatments: they are, by nature, heavy, difficult and expensive treatments with no guarantees.”

Then an idea emerged: what if you could decrease that “fog of uncertainty” between doctors and patients by improving communication – and improving vitro fertilization treatments, as well?

“We experimented with machine learning tools to see if this could be done. Proper predictive models were key in this work,” Veleva says, calling the startup a “rapid vessel” for getting support for those people in need.  

Sara Veleva

Sara Veleva

Overlap in competences from three countries

Veleva put together a team with AI expertise and started developing the product.

“We are utilizing a vast collaboration network to make this happen,” Veleva says, adding that she’s not your typical businesswoman, but instead, a researcher with a knack for taking different things and putting them together. 

Founded in 2020, Knewborn is packed with people from quite different professional backgrounds.

“There is also overlap in competences which is good for team cohesion,” she says.

So far, specialists from three different countries have been involved in the development phase, as well as various infertility clinics.

“We are looking to take on our first client in 2022.”

Health Incubator Helsinki as support

Veleva says that reducing stress and anxiety for hopeful parents is a worthy goal – but the road ahead is not easy.

“Even with AI, this is a huge challenge for all of us, but we’re confident we can make good things happen.”

Participating in the Health Incubator Helsinki – as one of Batch II companies – has given Veleva confidence to keep going forward on her chosen path.

“The program has a solid, positive structure that is giving us great support, also peer support through the pandemic,” she says, admitting that she has missed face-to-face encounters.

“Covid has really hit communication between people, but we’ve tried to adjust. It feels like things are improving now.”

Logo of Knewborn.AI

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Knewborn

Product: Improving predictability of fertility treatments via machine learning

Founded: 2020

Team size: 10

Target customer/market: Fertility clinics, couples with infertility issues 

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photos: Knewborn
Cover photo: Unsplash

DataSolu takes on CV diseases armed with lab-grown cardiomyocytes and deep learning

DataSolu takes on CV diseases armed with lab-grown cardiomyocytes and deep learning

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Calculations on a whiteboard.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, estimated to cause 17.3 million deaths every year. Furthermore, there is an expected increase of up to 23.6 million deaths by the year 2030, representing 31% of all global deaths. In fighting CV diseases, new innovations are direly needed. Let’s meet Finnish DataSolu team developing one of the promising innovations selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021.

DataSolu wants to speed up preclinical drug development and boost preventive care by revealing and predicting potential heart failures, using a unique cocktail of lab-grown cardiomyocytes, biomimicry and AI.

“Regular screening methods like ECG, exercise stress tests and blood tests may not pick up the very small abnormalities and hidden heart diseases. We want to be the trusted partner that finds even the slightest anomalies accurately,” says Dr. Mika Aho from DataSolu.

DataSolu applications are in cardiac toxicity screening and preventive care. Cardiotoxicity is the main reason for drug withdrawal, and most of the new compounds fail during the late-phase development.

“There are opportunities for reducing the costs and time-to-market significantly in pharmaceutics, but also in chemical and cosmetology companies,” Aho continues.

From the outside, DataSolu service is very straightforward. Pharma companies and CROs send or stream their data to the platform, and in return get back the analysis.

“Why would you use a biologist’s or cardiologist’s valuable time to manually analyze hours of data to detect arrhythmias and classify potential heart diseases, if there are better options?” Aho asks.

Enter: iPSCs!

At the heart of DataSolu innovation we find the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), reprogrammed from adult human cells and differentiated into cardiomyocytes. iPSCs are a promising alternative to model human cardiac diseases: they display properties similar to human heart cells, and have the advantage of mass production in the laboratory, having multiple disease-specific and patient-specific lines.

“In addition, they offer the opportunity to study cells that are genetically matched to individual patients with disease, and help overcome the problems associated with animal models. In fact, the European parliament just recently voted in favor of a plan to replace animal experiments with cutting-edge science,” Aho explains.

Team members of Datasolu

Team members of Datasolu from left: Mika Aho and Leo Heinsuo.

Meet the MEAs and physiological stimulation

The analysis method deploys microelectrode arrays (MEAs) which are, basically, glass chips printed with multiple microelectrodes, allowing non-invasive long-term measurement of electrically active cells cultured on them. MEAs have been increasingly used iPSC in research for disease modeling, drug testing and screening for early in vitro detection of proarrhythmia risk before clinical use – safe non-arrythmic drugs do not induce arrhythmias.

However, sometimes the anomalies and drug effects are not visible in the data. Research has demonstrated that mimicking human physiology on a dish is an effective stimulus for cardiovascular studies. Which, first of all, mimics the real human physiology, but also stimulates the cells in different conditions, e.g. under physical exertion.

“Physiological stimulation provides us with more valuable data about human response to stress, insight into disease susceptibility, and potentially to understanding individualized treatment response in the future as well,” says Aho.

“Once we have enough data, we can propose which drugs are the best fit for the individual patients,” he adds.

Building the data vault: Data in, analysis out

Using MEA, cardiomyocytes can be monitored during drug testing over longer periods of time.

“MEA devices generate massive amounts of time-series data to feed our deep learning algorithms. We pre-process it, keep the most relevant data and results safe,” says Leo Heinsuo from DataSolu.

DataSolu solution focuses on end-to-end deep learning, omitting traditional feature engineering methods.

“We’ve experimented with countless different types of modern deep learning architectures to tackle the challenge of highly variable iPSC recordings. Unlike ECG waveforms, the field potential (FP) of iPSCs can have very different shapes for each individual recording. The shapes may or may not tell something about an underlying disease or condition,” Heinsuo continues.

DataSolu has been data and AI-driven from the beginning. Company’s ultimate goal is to build a rich iPSC data asset, which in the future will enable, for example, rapid personalized drug development and safety testing of new chemicals.

“Eventually data is the most valuable asset. When you’re utilizing massive amounts of data properly, there is huge business potential involved,” Aho envisions.

Team members of Datasolu

Team members of Datasolu from left: Leo Heinsuo and Mika Aho.

Finding that commercial sweet spot

Still, technically speaking, DataSolu is not yet a registered company.

“We haven’t officially established the company yet, but we have been gradually building up the technologies, formed the core team and advisory group,” Aho explains.

DataSolu is one of the participants of Health Incubator Helsinki’s 2021 program.

“Our involvement with the program has been eye-opening. With many paths to choose from, the incubator is helping us find our sweet spot commercially,” Aho says.

“While we are now focusing on the data analysis, in the long run we also might want to generate the data ourselves. So far, we have been self-financed, but doing the cardiotoxicity testing ourselves even on a smaller scale is costly, and thus we are looking for potential partners and investors to take the next big step.”

Datasolu's logo

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: DataSolu

Product: speeding up preclinical drug development by revealing and predicting hidden heart diseases and failures

Founded: not officially registered yet

Team size: 5

Target customer/market: Big Pharma, CROs, people with risk of heart disease

Jasmine Pro boosts drug delivery

Jasmine Pro boosts drug delivery

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Team members of Jasmine Pro

Presently, a “Holy Grail” of sorts for drug developers is creating drugs that home into their target cells – reducing toxicity or adverse effects. Advanced drug delivery systems deploy polymers as facilitators to try and do just that, but the industry has seen little innovation in polymeric drug delivery systems. A multicultural research team Jasmine Pro – based in Turku, Finland – is now hard at work developing a polymer that really delivers. The team is participating in the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021.

Sebastian Soidinsalo explains that his team is working on a novel enhanced drug delivery system based on jasmine lactone polymer. This proprietary system – or platform, as Soidinsalo calls it – will enable drug companies to design and develop safer and more effective medicines for various therapeutic areas such as oncology and immunology.

“Using this platform, it is possible to create nanoparticle delivery systems that home precisely into the target tissue, which can make a big difference in the fight against cancer, for example,” he says.

Powerful platform

The jasmine lactone polymer has free functional groups that allow attaching virtually any stimuli sensitive linker, drug molecule or targeting moiety.

“The versatility of the platform lowers the development risk – and speeds up the development of new, advanced formulation projects,” says Soidinsalo.

The big thing here is that you can “load more medicine” into this new polymer compared to other polymers.

“For patients, this could mean that instead of taking your medicine every day, you could take it every week,” Soidinsalo offers an example.

Also, the medicine distributed by jasmine lactone platform is not released as bursts – as they often are with other polymers – but it’s thought to release drugs more evenly, to keep optimal levels of the medicine in blood circulation.   

Focus on developing the platform and new drug formulations

Soidinsalo, however, is not the father of the original idea. That distinction goes to the Chief Scientist of the group, Kuldeep Bansal, who realized the excellent qualities of the jasmine lactone and designed the polymer a couple of years ago. Having conducted polymeric nanomedicine research in Nottingham, England, Bansal moved to Finland for his post-doc studies at Åbo Akademi in Turku.   

Around Bansal’s groundbreaking work, a powerful team has formed at Åbo Akademi, with Soidinsalo serving as “entrepreneur in residence,” bringing a business mindset to a science-driven group. The surprising thing here? – The fact that this startup is not, technically speaking, a startup.

“We haven’t registered the company yet,” confirms Soidinsalo. “Right now, our focus is on studying the polymer and developing the platform and new drug formulations onwards,” Soidinsalo says, adding that setting up a company is something for next year.

Team members of Jasmine Pro

Jasmine Pro team members from left: Kuldeep Bansal, Erica Sjöholm and Sebastian Soidinsalo.

Opportunity to create value for pharma industry

However, there is no time to be wasted, due to the limited patent life and the long time it takes to get to the market. The development is in its early stages, but a two-year research-to-business grant from Business Finland will boost the innovation to its next development milestone.

“The funding just kicked in at the start of September, giving us the chance to strive for our scientific goals, such as making sure that the polymer is safe to be studied in people.”

But while the market launch of the first jasmine polymer-based drug is perhaps a decade away, the upside of such a breakthrough is considerable.

“We have an opportunity to create significant value for the industry with our polymer,” says Soidinsalo. “Big pharmaceutical companies are facing problems with drugs’ bioavailability toxicity and stability and our polymer could be the answer to some of these difficult drug formulation problems.”

At the moment, Finland doesn’t have that many startups that are doing “hardcore drug development” as Soidinsalo puts it. Still, participating in Health Incubator Helsinki has been a good experience for the team:

“We’re able to expand our networks and gain a more realistic perspective on our project through feedback,” he says.

Logo of Jasmine Pro

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Jasmine Pro

Product: A new enhanced drug delivery system based on jasmine lactone polymer

Founded: Not incorporated yet

Team size: 5

Target customer/market: pharmaceutical companies

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photos: Jasmine Pro

AnalysisMode speeds up scientific discovery

AnalysisMode speeds up scientific discovery

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AnalysisMode's application.
For science, the lab is often the true battleground where breakthroughs are made. But what if you could run tests as simulation – and have a Virtual Home Lab at your disposal? Meet Finnish startup AnalysisMode, one of the promising startups selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021.

For AnalysisMode, the above seemed like an intriguing possibility. Instead of using hundreds of hours per year doing manual experiment data analysis, one could unleash the power of AI – and secure accurate results in a matter of hours.

So how does it all work, then? With AnalysisMode, scientists can use past experiment data, usually in the form of spreadsheet datasets, as input for the startup’s AI. AnalysisMode can train the AI based on this data, in order to predict and design new experiments.

“With our solution, you can predict bench experiments before making them,” sums up Tiago Sampaio, co-founder and R&D Director of the company that was started in 2017.

Five times more discoveries

In this undertaking, one uses – in lieu of an actual bioreactor – a virtual bioreactor, a digital twin of the real thing used in a lab.

“Our virtual bioreactor supports experiment simulations in different modalities, such as CHO cells, T-Cell, Viral Vectors, and more can be added at the request of the customer.”

The AnalysisMode software can run tens of thousands of simulations based on the input data provided by the scientist, discovering more “recipes” for cell culture experiments.

“From simple text data, we manage to predict molecular-level properties,” Sampaio explains.

Sampaio says that scientists using AnalysisMode’s solution are able to rack up five times more discoveries, while saving around €250,000 in annual biomanufacturing and research costs (per 10-people bench science team).

Opening the AI “black box”

According to Sampaio, the virtual model has several attractive qualities from the perspective of the scientific community. First, it works also for small data, which is useful when dealing with novel diseases, for example.

“Second, our AI technology is capable of explaining each prediction – in human language, instead of mathematical formula, and it is adaptable, meaning you don’t need to retrain a whole AI every time new data is added.”

Finally, under this model, the bench scientist is able to understand why the AI makes every single prediction – and work is able to proceed that much smoother.

“We opened the AI black box into a transparent interface to allow for this,” reveals Sampaio.

Team members of AnalysisMode

AnalysisMode team members from left: Tiago Sampaio, Mia (Minh Anh) Le, Milda Dapkeviciute and Teppo Hudsson. Recently, Belma Alispahic has joined the company, leading AnalysisMode’s scientific team.

Health hackathon champion

In addition to perfecting their AI solution, AnalysisMode has been busy making a name for itself in hackathon circles. In 2020, the company won five HackTheCrisis events and was a finalist at EU vs Virus. Previously, the company has also won the Finnish Ultrahack. This year, the company won EU’s Data 4 Healthy Recovery hackathon and was recently chosen as the winning team in the EU Data 4 Healthy Recovery Accelerator.

What’s the secret behind such a stellar performance?

“I believe it is a combination of domain knowledge and determination that wins hackathons. We go all-in,” Sampaio says with a grin.

Working towards affordable cures

Sampaio, a Brazilian native, is currently cooking his innovations under the Northern Lights – in Rovaniemi, Finland, above the Arctic Circle. He has a vision where virtual lab tools take cell-based treatments to another level entirely – finally conquering disease. Having lost his grandfather to cancer last year, Sampaio acts with a sense of urgency:

“There are threats out there similar to COVID-19 and we must prepare for those threats. Obviously, affordable cure for disease is a major part of this,” he says, adding that harnessing the full abilities of AI can provide humanity with the firepower it needs to meet these challenges.

“For example, with cell therapy, the cost can be as much as one million euros per just one patient right now. Using AI, we can cut the price by half.”

AnalysisMode is one of the Health Incubator Helsinki’s Batch II companies – and Sampaio says that networking within the program has already yielded great contacts.

“The incubator is also showing us participants what are the concrete steps we need to take in order to go forward.”

Logo of AnalysisMode
Startup Fast Facts:

Name: AnalysisMode

Product: AI solution allows researchers to predict bench experiments before making them.

Founded: 2017

Team size: 13

Target customer/market: Research community

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photos: AnalysisMode

Phonolyser tracks down Congenital Heart Disease in newborns

Phonolyser tracks down Congenital Heart Disease in newborns

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Newborn

Helsinki startup Phonolyser is taking on Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) which is a structural heart defect present already at birth. As it is also the most common birth defect in the world, all medical solutions are of critical importance in order to safeguard the infants’ health and wellbeing. The company is one of the promising health startups selected for the Health Incubator Helsinki program that started in the spring of 2021.

Bahman Doaeian, Chief Business Officer at Phonolyser, points out that every year, around 1.35 million babies are born with CHD worldwide.

“CHD is the most common cause of birth defect related infant death – and despite its vast prevalence, public awareness about CHD and also the funding to address this issue seem really underwhelming at this point,” Bahman says. It is estimated that approximately 200-300 babies each year are discharged from the US hospitals with an undiagnosed CHD.

Phonolyser wants to change all this with its device by the same name: Phonolyser™ is a groundbreaking smart heart analyzer for pediatricians and healthcare staff to differentiate innocent murmurs from pathologic ones. It is packed with technologies such as AI, doppler, ECG and sound to detect and diagnose CHD with a remarkable degree of confidence (Sensitivity: 98%).

Accurate screening and diagnosis tool – for all healthcare personnel

Phonolyser™ shows in what phase of the cardiac cycle the murmur is occurring (systolic or diastolic), the intensity of the murmur, its location, and in what direction it is radiated.

“All of this information can help and lead the physician to the most accurate category of diagnosis,” Bahman says.

According to Bahman, Phonolyser™ is a revolutionary new device since it is accurate, real-time, and affordable, helping healthcare professionals identify and diagnose congenital heart disease more effectively and faster than ever before.

“What’s more, every doctor and a member of the healthcare staff can use it: it’s not meant only for specialists and cardiologists,” adds Bahman.

Phonolyser's device

Saving healthcare costs

Avoiding loss of life and helping babies grow up healthy is, of course, paramount here. Nevertheless, there are other concerns, too: for example, although most infants diagnosed with CHD are healthy, every year more than 10 million babies are referred to pediatric cardiologists.

“The problem of unnecessary referrals costs huge amounts of money and time and we’re here to save the healthcare industry billions,” says Bahman.

Examinining a patient in three minutes

Founded in 2017, the startup hit the ground running and put together the first version of its device in August of the same year.

“It was doppler based – and made out of a biscuit box,” reveals Bahman.

Evolution continued: Launched in April 2019, version 2.0 combined Doppler with AI and ECG; newest version, 3.0., which came out in May 2020, has added sound to the mix.

“The present version is two times faster than what we started with. Now it takes less than three minutes to examine a patient,” says Bahman.

Team of Phonolyser
Team of Phonolyser, from left to right: Javad Maleki, Sanaz Naderi, Jalmari Talola, Bahman Doaeian, Markus Tuukkanen and Farnaz Farahdel.

Finland is the place to be in healthcare

Presently, Phonolyser team is “very excited” to be one of the 13 outstanding startups of the Health Incubator Helsinki in 2021.

“We plan to use the resources and mentorship that the program brings us to help more people live healthier and longer lives,” Bahman says.

“Finland is simply the place to be, if you want to build a healthcare business that centers on children,” he concludes.

Logo of Phonolyser

Startup Fast Facts:

Name: Phonolyser

Product: Phonolyser™, accurate screening tool for pediatricians and healthcare staff to diagnose CHD

Founded: 2017

Team size: 8

Target customer/market: Healthcare professionals working with infants, newborns and children

Text: Sami J. Anteroinen
Photos: Phonolyser
Cover photo: Unsplash