Start-ups win EU-pharma Alzheimer’s contest  

Two start-ups have won a competition organised by EIT Health and pharmaceutical company Biogen which aimed at identifying solutions for Alzheimer’s disease.  

French start-up Five Lives and Dutch start-up Neurocase were respectively placed first and second in the ‘neurotechprize’ competition. The winners were announced during a ceremony at the MedtecLIVE conference and will now receive €100,000 and €50,000 respectively. 

The competition saw entrants undergo 10 weeks of mentoring and validation facilitated by a top-class group of mentors, EIT Health and Biogen experts. After this, teams pitched their ideas to an independent panel of experts, consisting of leading neurologists, patient representatives, startup experts and payors.

Five Lives has developed an app which aims to empower those aged over 50 to track their brain health via a clinically validated risk assessment. Five Lives can use this data to provide lifestyle advice based on a person’s individual dementia risk level, potentially helping reduce that risk through lifestyle improvements.

Neurocast turns digital interactions such as smartphone use into clinically approved outcomes, enabling doctors and researchers to passively measure individual patients. Through this, it’s hoped that healthcare professionals can proactively act upon changes, taking a preventative approach depending on a patient’s health status.  

EIT Health and Biogen launched ‘neurotechprize’ in late 2021 to find new solutions to combat the growing challenges associated with addressing Alzheimer’s disease.   

Official comments 

“We’re very proud to announce the winners of our first ‘neurotechprize’. Many congratulations to Five Lives and Neurocast who showed relentless commitment to the prevention and detection of AD. 

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our partner Biogen and all the teams that took part in this crucial programme – it has been truly inspiring to see talented innovators come together with the shared aim of helping to solve one of the greatest health challenges of our time. We now look forward to welcoming and supporting Five Lives and Neurocast as part of our community and seeing their high potential solutions come to fruition”, said Jean-Marc Bourez, interim CEO, EIT Health.  

The variety of solutions submitted by the various start-ups was unbelievable. It was hard to choose a winner. But we are happy to now announce two exciting winners: Five Lives and Neurocast. With our experienced partner, EIT Health, we are proud to support the winners to realise solutions that promise to reduce the individual risk of future AD through lifestyle improvements and for those affected to make the diagnosis of AD easier,” said Dr Thorsten Lambertus, Head of neurotechlab, Biogen. 

“The journey continues: Biogen is also working to find technology-based solutions for other neurological diseases in the future.” 

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