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MEDICA 2023: Winning Medical and Digital Health Start-Ups

MEDICA 2023: Winning Medical and Digital Health Start-Ups
An impressive selection of digital health innovations were among the finalists for the Start-Up Competition at MEDICA 2023. (Credit: Messe Düsseldorf)

An impressive selection of digital health innovations were among the finalists for the Start-Up Competition at MEDICA 2023. From health apps and advanced robotics to waste and energy management solutions, leading-edge solutions from innovators around the globe made the top 12.

Scooping first prize at the Düsseldorf event was Israel-based MeMed Diagnostics with its immunoassay diagnostic platform. Second place was taken by German Zanadio (now part of Sidekick Health) for its holistic digital therapy for the treatment of obesity, while Danish Ropca came third for ARTHUR, its rheumatoid arthritis ultrasound robot.

Categories included AI in Healthcare, Health Apps, Lab Diagnostics and Robotics. Dr. Sonja Sulzmaier, Managing Partner Navispace GmbH and Chairwoman of the German Federal Commission for Start-Ups and Founders (BVMW), was the Programme Manager for the competition. She said:

“The 12 medical start-ups that presented their solutions at MEDICA 2023 were all outstanding and winners for us. They have made the race and were selected from than 280 submissions from over 50 countries.”

 The winners of the MEDICA START-UP COMPETITION 2023, from left to right: Johannes Schaeferhoff, Yossi Horesh, Mareike Stallman. (Credit: Messe Düsseldorf)
The winners of the MEDICA START-UP COMPETITION 2023, from left to right: Johannes Schaeferhoff (RoPCA), Yossi Horesh (MeMed), Mareike Stallman (Zanadio). (Credit: Messe Düsseldorf)

1/ MeMed Diagnostics: A Bacterial or Viral Infection Determinator

MeMed developed its novel solution to address the pressing issue of diagnostic uncertainty, explained Yossi Horesh, Commercial Director. He said:

“This innovative solution aids clinicians in swiftly and accurately determining whether a patient suspected with an acute infection has a bacterial or viral origin.

By integrating the levels of three immune proteins, it calculates a bacterial likelihood score (BV score), which has undergone rigorous clinical validation, ensuring its reliability and effectiveness. 

The MeMed Key platform was also created to ensure accessibility and usability at the point of need—and allows the delivery of the BV test results in just 15 minutes from whole blood sample. 

BV/Key stands as a vital tool in the battle against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), providing healthcare professionals with timely and accurate diagnostic insights to guide treatment decisions and reduce unnecessary antibiotic use.”

(Credit: MeMed Diagnostics)
(Credit: MeMed Diagnostics)

He continued:

“We are deeply honored to have won the 12th MEDICA Start-Up Competition. It’s incredibly gratifying to receive validation for the necessity of our solution. Our goal with this victory is to raise awareness about diagnostic uncertainty and highlight our solution. 

Addressing the critical issue of antibiotic misuse, which harms patients’ health and contributes to the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, remains our focus. 

We continue our global commercial activities, offering our solutions, and aiding hospitals and clinicians in providing better medical care to their patients.”

2/ Zanadio: A Multimodal Approach to Obesity

Zanadio is one of the very first certified, permanently listed prescribable digital therapeutics on the market, explained Team Lead Brand Strategy at Sidekick Health Mareike Stallman. 

It follows a multimodal treatment approach to aid patients with obesity in achieving permanent weight loss through changes in nutrition, exercise and behavior. It employs behavioral therapy and AI to provide individualized obesity therapy and empower patients in obesity-related self-management. 

(Credit: TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer)
(Credit: TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer)

As a smartphone app, it is easily accessible, intended for mobile use and able to reach patients who otherwise would face high access barriers when seeking treatment. Functionalities of the app include nutrition and exercise tracking via linked external smart devices such as fitness trackers or digital scales. She explained:

“It was a great honor to receive this award and we are really happy about gaining recognition for our solution. Our next steps after MEDICA will be to continue what we are doing—to build great digital therapeutics in this field and for other indications.”

3/ RoPCA: A Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnostic Station

RoPCA harnesses the synergy between AI and robotics and creates autonomous robots that operate without the need for the presence of medically trained personnel, said the company’s CEO Johannes Schaeferhoff. He said:

“ARTHUR is the world’s first self-service rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnostic station. It works with patients to conduct a complex medical exam, eliminating the need for trained personnel.”

RA is a chronic disease that significantly impacts lives, especially women, leading to severe lifestyle challenges including potential loss of employment. There are effective drugs, but a shortage of rheumatologists can result in long waiting times for diagnosis and treatment, said Mr. Schaeferhoff. 

(Credit: RoPCA)
(Credit: RoPCA)
(Credit: RoPCA)

“Our solution automates the physical exam or ultrasound, reducing the bottleneck. ARTHUR adjusts to any hand shape or size for high-quality images and objective grading. 

This process is 80% faster for doctors; cost-effective, well-received by patients, and provides unmatched precision, consistency, and objectivity. It’s a game changer.”

He added: 

“We were thrilled to be placed third overall and first in the Robotics category. Most companies here are much bigger and are already leaders in their field. We are proud to stand among them according to a jury that is strong on AI and robotics.”

Medical start-ups and scale-ups with innovative solutions can already apply for the MEDICA 2024 competition.