Qatar Foundation’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) yesterday announced the top four winners of its 2022 Innovation Competitions, comprising two categories; Spark (early-stage startups) and Booster (established startups looking to scale) during the closing ceremony of its 2022 summit.
The winners were chosen from 20 global healthcare innovators, who had earlier been shortlisted from 600 applicants, to showcase their innovations to global policymakers and healthcare leaders at the summit. In the Spark category, Rea Diagnostics won the grand prize of $5,000. Founded by Loulia Kasem, the Switzerland-based startup has been working to identify women at risk of preterm birth (PTB), the leading cause of death in infants below the age of five. Early risk identification of PTB can help doctors administer the necessary medical treatment to decrease potential harm to the fetus. The startup is addressing this through a non-invasive testing kit – a smart pad – that tracks the biomarkers in vaginal fluid indicative of PTB.
In the Booster Category, TADA Medical AB from Sweden was granted the grand prize of $10,000 for its ReLink connector that tackles the challenge of accidental disconnection of IV (intravenous) therapy. The device works as a breakaway connector for IV lines to increase the safety, accuracy, and efficiency of IV therapy in healthcare settings. Its unique design features double-sided, self-sealable valves, with weak link activation to protect the catheter placement site and prevent loss of fluid resources that could otherwise lead to complications and increased costs.
In addition to the cash prize winners, two other health innovation startups, Neurosoft Bioelectronics from Switzerland (in the Spark Category), and Smiletronix from Spain (in the Booster Category) were announced as the winners of the WISH-sponsored trips to the Web Summit 2022, set to take place in Lisbon, Portugal from November 1-4.
Neurosoft Bioelectronics is developing innovative medical applications for neural implants. Founded by Nicolas Vachicouras, the startup’s main innovation is the development of high-resolution soft implantable electrodes that can interface with the brain. The electrodes are a hundred times smaller and thousand times softer than currently available ones and are accompanied by a technological application the SOFT TINNIT. This application is the first fully implantable Brain-Computer Interface to treat severe tinnitus, a debilitating disorder that impacts millions worldwide.
Smiletronix, developed by Yashar Faranjani, is an intraoral imaging device, and an application that captures comprehensive photos of the entire mouth and diagnoses a wide variety of oral diseases in less than 15 seconds. The solution uses an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that completes a diagnosis with an accuracy of around 90-95 percent. Through computer vision and deep learning technology, the device helps in analysis of the teeth and gum for early detection of dental issues and offers preventive recommendations.
Mahmoud al-Achi, head of Innovation at WISH, said, “We are thoroughly pleased to announce the winners of this year’s competitions and help guide their ambitions to make healthcare more affordable, sustainable, and accessible for communities around the world by tapping into the plethora of benefits that machine learning and AI technologies have to offer.
“WISH is proud to be able to play a part in this effort through its Innovation Competitions, connecting healthcare startups, industry experts, policymakers, and investors worldwide through a global stage at its summits.”