Amazon, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck to Build $10M Digital Health Innovation Lab in Israel

Amazon, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck to Build $10M Digital Health Innovation Lab in Israel
Rehovot Science Park

What You Should Know:

– Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Teva, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been selected by the Israel Innovation Authority to establish an innovation lab in the fields of digital health and computational biology.

– The innovation lab located in the Rehovot Science Park will
receive a government budget of $10M over the next five years and is slated to
start operations in 2021.

Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Teva, as well as the Israel Biotech Fund and tech giant
Amazon Web Services (AWS)— to establish an innovation lab in the fields of digital health
and computational biology. The companies were selected from a competitive bid process
conducted by the Israel Innovation
together with the National Digital Israel Initiative at the
National Digital Ministry.

The group will establish the Lab at the Rehovot Science Park
and invest in building a wet computational lab infrastructure in order to
assist early-stage entrepreneurs and startups to meet the challenges of the
healthcare industry, from the ideation stage to attaining proof of concept. The
Lab, scheduled to open in 2021, will be joining existing innovation labs as
part of the Israel Innovation Authority’s Innovation Lab Program.

$10M Operational Budget Over Next 5 Years

The innovation lab will operate on a government budget of
NIS 32 million ($10M USD), as well as additional funding from the partner companies.
The group will operate over the next five years, during which the Innovation
Authority, together with the National Digital Ministry, will finance 85% of a
total NIS 3 million budget for each startup that joins the lab, enabling them
to reach significant milestones in their technological development. The
Innovation Authority and National Digital Ministry will also participate in the
operating costs and in setting up the lab’s infrastructure.

Innovation Lab Focus Areas

The purpose of the Lab is to assist in the establishment and advancement of new startups developing innovative AI-based computational technologies aimed at discovering personalized solutions and treatments. The Lab will also help its startups — with the assistance of the lab partners and access they provide to their unique scientific know-how and leading experts — in developing groundbreaking medications and treatments. 

“This last year proved that the healthcare sector is rapidly transitioning to development and use of advanced technologies integrating engineering and biology, which has already led to more accurate results within a shorter time framework. This lab is part of the ‘Bio-convergence Strategy’ promoted by the Innovation Authority over the last year, aimed at establishing a successful, innovative ecosystem in the healthcare sector, which will serve as a proper basis for establishing innovative companies based on groundbreaking academic research performed in these areas in Israel. The expertise and vast experience of the lab partners will enable these companies to establish a significant, trailblazing industry in Israel,” said Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Innovation Authority.

Bayer provides funding to five more digital health start-ups

Bayer has provided funding to five more digital health start-ups as part of its G4A partnering programme, which has already provided backing for more than 150 companies since 2013.

The latest crop of recipients in the G4A scheme were selected from more than 400 applications from companies in dozens of countries around the world and have apps covering women’s health, chronic conditions, genomic testing, disease management and telemedicine.

G4A (formerly Grants4Apps) was originally set up to fund mobile health apps, but has been expanded in recent years to include a broader range of digital health technologies, and has already resulted in 30 partnerships.

It has two partnership types, a ‘growth track’ which provides €100,000 in funding to help early-stage startups get off the ground, and an ‘advance track’ scheme for more mature companies that already have a platform on the market and are looking for commercial partnerships.

This year’s competition sought out digital health innovations in four key areas: cardiometabolic and renal disease, oncology, women’s health and pharmacovigilance.

The latest recipients include two growth track awards for Caria and Elly Health, and three advance track partnerships with Decipher Biosciences, Sweetch, and MyONCARE.

Caria from Chorus Health (previously called Clio) uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help women in menopause track symptoms and connect them with evidence-based treatments, as well as providing personalised health advice and access to a digital support community.

The Elly app is billed as a ‘smart companion’ for people with chronic conditions that aims to help them live healthier and happier lives. Along with audio messages intended to build motivation, it provides disease education, meditation and exercise videos, symptom management, and other support tools.

Decipher Biosciences picks up its advance track award for its GRID database project, which draws together data from its genomic testing programmes – focused on solid tumours – which are used by pharma companies to identify biomarkers of response to new therapies.

Another AI-harnessing platform – Sweetch – is a disease management behavioural coach that provides patients with personalised recommendations via their smartphone and other connected devices in the hope of improving their clinical outcomes.

Finally, MyONCARE is an app that assists healthcare professionals with the organisation of interactions with patients, so they always have data such as diagnoses, medication, vital signs, therapy and nursing plans to hand, as well as providing a direct telemedicine channel.

“Building new digital business models is a key element of Bayer’s business strategy, with the ambition to actively shape the future of healthcare,” said Jeanne Kehren, Bayer’s head of digital and commercial innovation.

“We are proud to support startups who share our vision of integrated healthcare solutions that put the patient in focus, not the disease,” she added.

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TEDMED 2020 Hive Innovator Happenings

There are plenty of ways to engage with our TEDMED 2020 class of Hive Innovators. Whether in a Hive Innovator Meetup, the Community Lunch, where we will have the opportunity to explore the Innovator’s “What If” questions, or through TEDMED Scout: Your AR Guide to Innovation. This year, the Hive Innovator experience is powered by our partner TBWAWorldHealth.

Innovator Meetups

At TEDMED 2020, the Hive Innovators will participate in curated meetup discussions around a topic that aligns to their work. Innovator Meetups are open to everyone in the TEDMED Community onsite and are an exciting opportunity to learn more about the Hive Innovators and the work they do to shape a healthier humanity. This year’s Hive Innovator Meetup topics include: New Age Diagnostics, Personalizing Digital Health, New Models of Mental Health Care, Mapping Human Health, The Power of Medical Knowledge, and Health Techquity.

Community Lunch: Celebrating Innovation with the Hive Innovators and the TEDMED Community

Delegates are invited to join the Hive Innovators and the larger TEDMED Community members for a lunch inspired by innovation. Get to know the Hive Innovators by joining them for lunch at the tables marked with their “What If?” Questions.

TEDMED Scout: Your AR Guide to Innovation

Embracing this year’s theme, “Make Way for Wonder”, TEDMED joined forces with TBWAWorldHealth to curate an experience that celebrates innovation and unlocks our sense of wonder. Throughout the event, Delegates can unlock an Augmented Reality experience, we are calling TEDMED Scout: Your AR Guide to Innovation, with their phones to get a closer look at the ideas each innovator represents. And, a virtual concierge will guide onsite networking connections between Innovators and our community like never before. After the event, the experience will live on digitally, giving anyone in the world access to the 2020 TEDMED Hive Innovators and the amazing ideas they are working to make a reality.

Register today to join us onsite in Boston and experience TEDMED 2020 in person!

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