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Digital Health Track brings together health tech, pharma and biotech

Read about what's on offer in the world of digital health as Helsinki prepares for the Arctic15 conference...


The Digital Health Track at the Arctic15 Conference in Helsinki will offer a platform for health and life science ecosystems to network and discover opportunities for business partnerships. The event takes place in the Cable Factory in Helsinki on May 26 and 27. Around a thousand people, from Finland and beyond, are expected to attend the Arctic15 conference.

In recent months, Finland has become a true hotspot for health and life sciences: last autumn Slush, the largest tech conference in northern Europe, attracted more than 150 health and well-being start-ups to Helsinki. Early this year, GE Healthcare invested over 28 million euros to create an expertise hub for digital healthcare in Finland. Another giant, Samsung Electronics, began a partnership with the Finnish health accelerator Vertical just three days later. And only a few weeks ago, Bayer announced collaboration with Auria, a Finnish biobank, in the field of cancer research.

This spring, Arctic15 and Digital Health Track (DHT) will attract health tech and life science start-ups, investors and established companies. The platform is being organised by Sitra with the support and co-operation of leading global pharmaceutical players such as Bayer and MSD as well as Elisa, a Finnish telecommunications company. There will be international keynote speakers, pitch presentations by the most promising start-ups and interesting health-related workshops, one of which is being organised jointly by Apple-IBM.

Can going digital help healthcare? According to investors, yes

All over the world healthcare costs are rising and new innovative, cost-effective solutions are needed. “As patient numbers have increased, traditional communication channels are no longer enough; therefore we need to actively develop completely new and more effective ways to take care of our patients,” says Johanna Mattson, Chief Physician at HUCH Cancer Center and one of the DHT speakers.

Digitisation and advances in health technology will change the way doctors treat patients. In addition, electronic health records and more accessible medical information have empowered citizens to self-monitor their health and engage with the healthcare system.

Partly in the spirit of “makers and quantified self” movements, citizens are also becoming more curious about their general well-being and health. Start-ups, often founded by former scientists or tech professionals, are revolutionising healthcare from the bottom up. At the same time, large pharmaceutical companies are preparing for the expected transformation from volume to value-based care. New tools and solutions are needed to achieve the best outcomes at the lowest cost.

As an umbrella term, digital health covers many categories related to the revolution in healthcare: for example, categories such as analytics and big data, healthcare consumer engagement, digital medical devices, telemedicine, personalised medicine, healthcare-related applications and genomics. It seems that these terms are on the lips of life sciences investors more often than ever before. Investment in digital health is soaring; for example, RockHealth – a fund supporting the growth of start-up firms – has estimated that digital health funding topped 4 billion US dollars in 2014.

DHT offers an interesting mix of pharma, biotech and health technology

The Digital Health Track at the Arctic15 Conference is a platform for health and life science ecosystems to network and discover opportunities for business partnerships. Although different stakeholders have different goals, DHT has something for everyone. Digital health innovations quite often require co-operation between small and large companies and include an innovative combination of technology, service design and life sciences. In addition, some “smart money” is needed to commercialise these innovations and to build essential professional networks. This is a good, simplified recipe for any venture looking for success.

Start-ups will be able to present their ideas to established companies and investors and make use of the Arctic15 matchmaking tool. There will also be a limited amount of free demo tables and pitching opportunities for health tech and life sciences start-ups and innovations. And for investors, Arctic15 and its Digital Health Track will offer an efficient way to find syndication partners and potential investment targets.

Established companies are actively trying to figure out the “next big thing” in healthcare. At DHT they will efficiently accelerate business development initiatives and explore cross-industry innovations. On a more concrete level, health-related workshops organised by organisations like Apple-IBM, Bayer Grants4Apps Accelerator and Team Finland will dig deeper into a particular subject, and participants will have the chance to meet others who are similarly interested. 

Last but not least, the Digital Health stage offers six hours of inspiring content for all conference guests on the opening day of Arctic15. Keynote speakers and panellists that visitors will be able to meet and listen to during the DHT include, for example, Claudia Karnbach, Head of Global Business Development and Licensing from Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Tara Sharif, Managing Director Healthcare Investment Banking, WestPark Capital Inc. and Marko Koistila, General Manager, GlaxoSmithKline Finland. There will also be representatives from Bayer Grants4Apps Accelerator, Elisa and many others. The goal is to create value for every stakeholder in the health ecosystem.

See the original press release for this event at Arctic Startup.

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