The corona crisis and the newly felt vulnerability of our society and health should not make us forget: Never in the history of mankind has life expectancy been as high as it is now. The fitness levels of senior citizens is unprecedented, 80-year-old people participate in marathons or travel around the world. Today we can successfully treat diseases that decades ago were tantamount to a death sentence.

This is due to numerous innovations in medicine, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. And this innovation process continues – not least driven by digital technologies. Compare also the article: An Overview on digital business models in the health sector.

Let’s take a look at 7 promising German start-ups that are helping to shape the future of the healthcare sector. Focus: Start-ups in Germany. Focus: Young companies (not older than 7 years). Have fun browsing!

Ebenbuild

This young start-up has undoubtedly enjoyed a massive surge in demand in times of Corona. The company optimizes the artificial respiration of patients with acute respiratory failure. The software from Ebenbuild creates a virtual, patient-specific model of the lung (a: Digital Twin). Basis: Computer tomographic images and artificial intelligence.

Foundation in 2019. In Munich. Website: www.ebenbuild.com

Epiqmax

The US-American company 23andme (started in 2006) made the headlines many times with its offering to analyze human genetic information (based on a simple saliva sample). By early 2018 alone, the genetic information of over 3 million customers had been analyzed. Google was an early investor (4 million US dollars). Hardly surprising: The offer touches on numerous ethical issues, and the company was at times heavily criticized.

The German company Epiqmax is part of the same industry. The start-up is a spin-off from the LMU Munich. The goal is the evaluation/analysis of so-called epigenetic modifications. These are genetic codes that can be altered by environmental influences; more importantly, these modifications influence a variety of diseases.

Foundation in 2018. In Planegg (Bavaria). Website: www.epiqmax.com

Weltenmacher

Every patient would like to be treated by seasoned doctors and experienced nursing staff. It conveys security when you know: The doctor has already (successfully) performed an operation 300 times or more! This is exactly what the StartUp Worldmaker aims at. It is about training medical personnel with the help of virtual reality and familiarizing them with processes and instruments.

Foundation in 2017. In Duesseldorf. Website: www.weltenmacher.de

Canostix

Cancer: It’s still one of the most dangerous diseases for humans. However, the earlier cancer is detected, the better the odds to treat that disease successfully! It is precisely what this startup aims at: To provide the earliest possible diagnosis. For that goal it is helpful to simplify tests as much as possible, for example with the help of a simple blood test. Well, that’s the approach of Canostix. So, to put it simple, it’s about finding indicators for a disease in the blood. Machine learning is also applied here. Below is a short video with the StartUp Pitch of the founder of Canostix.

Foundation in 2018. In Berlin. Website: canostix.com

GWA Hygiene

Here’s yet another start-up that has certainly enjoyed a rise in demand due to Corona: Because the product of this company allows to monitor und optimize hand disinfection (und thus: hygiene) in hospitals. The transmission of germs is thus minimized. For this purpose, existing disinfectant dispensers are equipped with sensor technology (Blue Tooth) and the sensor data is consolidated in a cloud. The evaluation / reporting can be done along many dimensions: On a workgroup-specific basis, per ward and of course over time. The mission statement: With bits and bytes against germs.

Foundation in 2015. In Stralsund. Website: nosoex.com

Climedo

The execution of medical studies is regularly a complex project. And this applies to registration studies, observational studies or clinical follow-up. Why? – Regulatory framework conditions must be observed (e.g. EU MDR = Medical Device Regulation). Large amounts of data are collected over time. Data protection must be observed. This is exactly what the software Climedo helps to manage easily and efficiently.

This software constitutes a central solution for the collection, management and evaluation of clinical data. It is suitable for international studies, also with several participating institutions. It contains a variety of features such as surveys (eSurveys) or patient diaries (eDiary).

Foundation in 2017. In Munich. Website: climedo.de

RAMP

Can AI help with the diagnosis of diseases or not? Already today AI is used in the field of x-ray image analysis. However, it is also remembered that the application of IBM Watson for clinical purposes at the University of Giessen failed at the first attempt. However, this failure is put into perspective by Jochen Werner, Medical Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the University Hospital Essen: Well-curated data of high quality is required for AI to be successful. (Check the interview on t3n here: PODCAST (in German) on Smart Hospital).

That’s exactly the ambition of the start-up RampMedical: To support therapeutic decisions by means of evidence and artificial intelligence. The company is initially focusing on a few disease patterns: Type 2 diabetes, arterial hypertension, bacterial pneumonia acquired on an outpatient basis and antiplatelet therapies. The StartUp works together with the Charité Berlin and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Strasbourg, among others.

Foundation in 2015. In Berlin. Website: www.rampmedical.com

Promising StartUps in other industries

Sebastian Zang
Author

The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.