Online event series: Why startups from the healthcare industry have a particularly hard time.

Published On: January 21st, 2021

Many interesting ideas are born in the laboratories and in the daily work of patient care that can improve diagnostics and therapy or help patients cope with health problems. However, young people interested in founding a healthcare company who initially want to turn their ideas into products in small startups have a particularly difficult time in the medical field. Medical products, including medical apps, require special testing, and the approval of even simple technical products usually requires clinical trials. It is a long and expensive road until the costs for a new product are reimbursed by health insurers. In order to increase the chances of success for startups, the many stumbling blocks from medical product development must be brought into the focus of daily work at an early stage.
The Tübingen Foundation for Medical Innovation has therefore designed the six-part event series “How does the new get into medicine?”, which aims to shed light on the challenges for new ideas in the healthcare industry and discuss improving opportunities for those interested in starting up. At the end, the most important basic rules for successful market access are to be worked out.
After a very successful first event in December 2020 with more than 200 participants, these challenges will be discussed in a second evening on Feb- ruary 4, 2021 in three short keynote speeches by Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Gottwald (startup founder & CEO Ovesco Endoscopy AG), Prof. Dr. Ing. Thomas Bauernhansl (Institute Director Fraunhofer IPA as well as IFF of the University of Stuttgart) and Günther Steffen (Fund Manager at Zukunftsfond Heil- bronn as well as supervisor of biotech and medtec companies). After the presentations, the speakers will debate with the following guests in a roundtable format: Winfried Plötze (Managing Director of Baden-Württemberg, BARMER), Prof. Stefan Laufer (Startup Founder, Head of Chair Pharm./Med. Chemistry, Tübingen Center for Academic Drug Discovery, Department of Pharmacy & Biochemistry, EKUT), Dr. Timo Schmelzpfenning (Head of the Department of Pharmacy & Biochemistry, EKUT). Timo Schmelzpfenning (authorized signatory and Head of Research & Development, SPORLASTIC GmbH), Prof. Dr. Ralf Kindervater (Managing Director, BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH) and Prof. Dr. med. Eberhart Zrenner (Charitable Foundation for Medical Innovation). Finally, additional individual consulting sessions with sector/industry experts will be held for specific questions regarding the 4C’s (Commercialization: plan sales in the healthcare sector, e.g. reimbursement by health insurance companies, Certification: approve product and company, Clinical Studies: Prove evidence of the product, Copyright: Use property rights strategically) were offered in separate online sessions.
Already in the preliminary discussion, Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Gottwald pointed out that “a risk-averse investor scene on the one hand and management deficits on the other hand are among the special challenges of startups.” Prof. Dr. Ing. Thomas Bauernhansl notes that “personalized medicine opens up new potential for startups because regulation on the one hand and the value proposition on the other will change.” Günther Steffen emphasizes that “investments in medical startups need staying power, usually deep pockets and good nerves. According to Prof. Dr. Stefan Laufer, medical/pharmaceutical startups have a particularly hard time because the value systems in academia and industry are often diametrically different here.” Dr. Timo Schmelzpfenning sees “particular challenges for medical startups because exciting innovations meet a highly regulated market here.” “Digitization is not an end in itself. Health apps, for example, must have a demonstrable benefit and should improve care. The road to so-called standard care is rocky. There are laws and strict regulations that must be observed. These requirements should already be taken into account during product development, but not all app developers are aware of them,” says Winfried Plötze, regional manager of BARMER in Baden-Württemberg.
Registration and further information can be found at this link.