14 June 2022

Digital innovations for the medicine of tomorrow at BIH Digital Health Accelerator Demo Day 2022

On May 31, 2022, the Digital Health Accelerator Program of the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH) celebrated its fifth birthday at Demo Day 2022. The entertaining program included presentations by successful grantees and partners, as well as pitches by the seven 2022 newly funded teams of physicians and researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and BIH, who presented their digital innovations for the medicine of tomorrow. The event took place with over 500 guests present on site or participating online at Villa Elisabeth in Berlin-Mitte.

They are detecting early stages of oral cancer using artificial intelligence, preventing amputations after vascular occlusion with non-invasive sensor-based monitoring, developing alcohol dependence therapy using virtual reality, and helping women suffering from sexual distress with a multimodal approach. They are facilitating the diagnosis of atypical radiology cases with an AI solution, breaking new ground in decentralized clinical trials in cancer, and increasing the safety of stem cell transplantation by more reliably donor-recipient matching to reduce the risk of graft-versus-host disease. These seven interdisciplinary teams from Charité and BIH are funded in the 2022 project cohort of the BIH Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) to develop digital health solutions from their concepts and transfer them to the healthcare market or medical application.

Participants from politics, research and clinic, patient organizations, industry, insurance, and venture capital followed the welcome message via video by Prof. Heyo Kroemer, CEO of Charité, on the relevance of the BIH DHA program for Charité, followed by introductory words by Prof. Christopher Baum, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BIH and Chief Translational Research Officer of Charité, with a review of the successful first five years of the DHA program and an outlook for the future.

Hedi Razavi, PhD, Managing Partner at German Entrepreneurship with a special focus on artificial intelligence and a background in both clinical work at the Heart Center Leipzig and as a startup CEO in Silicon Valley, gave a keynote entitled “Startup Founders vs. Machines – Who is Learning More”. The pitches of the current DHA projects were introduced by Prof. Frederick Klauschen, co-founder of the first Charité spin-off from the DHA program, AIgnostics GmbH, with a reflection on the development path of his project from early talks with his cooperation partner at TU Berlin to the current startup with already more than 60 employees and summed up: “Without the BIH DHA program, we would still be talking about the possibilities today instead of having built a digital life sciences company.”

After the pitches, Bartosz Reinhold, CEO, and co-founder of the most recent Charité spin-off from the DHA program, Nephrolytix GmbH, reflected on his experience as a serial entrepreneur with several successful spin-offs from Charité and the need for supporting programs. Marc Filerman, Managing Director of the German Accelerator Life Sciences, one of the network partners of the BIH DHA program for the subsequent scaling of emerging companies, led through the evening.

In his concluding remarks, Prof. Axel R. Pries, Dean of the Charité, thanked, in particular, the presenting project teams and, with a view to the possible continuation of the BIH DHA program in Berlin and possible growth beyond that, called on politicians, foundations and other stakeholders to work together to shape a future in which the development of clinically validated digital health solutions from university hospitals like the Charité continues to be supported for the benefit of patients and our society. The evening was rounded off by a networking session, where interested parties exchanged ideas directly with the presenting project teams and thus made new contacts for possible collaborations.