AI that diagnoses stroke among winners of European health-tech awards

7 Dec 2020

Image: © sudok1/

Nine health-tech start-ups have been named winners at this year’s Catapult competition organised by EIT Health.

EIT Health – which is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) – has announced the nine winning start-ups of its Catapult competition.

Catapult is one of 23 accelerator initiatives run by EIT Health, which is a network of around 150 health innovators that receive support from the EU through EIT. The competition offers promising European start-ups intensive training and expert-led business plan and pitch development.

Now in its fifth year, the Catapult competition had a total of 21 finalists across biotech, medtech and digital health. Previous winners include Sparing Vision, which recently raised €44.5m to further its gene therapy for chronic ocular diseases.

The awards include three categories – digital health, medtech and biotech – with a first, second and third prize announced for each. First prize for each category is worth €40,000, followed by €20,000 for second place and €10,000 for third place. There was also €800,000 in support provided through sponsors including Amazon Web Services and Nasdaq.

Race against time

In the digital health category, the grand prize winner this year was Spanish start-up Methinks AI, which has developed imaging technology to reduce time to treatment in stroke patients.

Popit took second place for its sensor technology to improve patients’ adherence to medicines, and PatchAI was awarded third place for its digital tool to improve compliance in clinical trials.

In the medtech category, New Born Solutions was awarded first place for its technology designed to improve the detection of infectious diseases such as meningitis in newborns. STIL came in second place for its tech to reduce tremors in patients such as those with Parkinson’s disease, and Gradient was awarded third place for its minimally invasive product to treat pulmonary hypertension.

More European collaboration

In the biotech category, UVera was awarded first place – in addition to the Alex Casta Audience Award – for its technology designed to provide natural, safe, potent, stable and eco-friendly UV protection.

PhagoMed took second place for its synthetic biology platform to precisely target any bacterial pathogen, and in third place was Gelmetix, which is developing bio-inductive gels that modify cell behaviour to treat patients suffering from chronic lower back pain and osteoarthritis.

Commenting on this year’s winners, EIT Health’s director of business creation, Kurt Höller, said: “Support is especially important during periods of uncertainty such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, as we rely on these innovative and agile small companies to provide smart solutions to growing healthcare issues.

“We look forward to welcoming our winners into the EIT Health family, and supporting them with accessing our network to grow their connections, develop their knowledge further and obtain resources that can help them on their way towards making their solutions a reality for patients and citizens across Europe.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic