Health Innovation Network is the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for south London – 1 of 15 AHSNs across England. As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, HIH is uniquely placed to increase the spread and adoption of innovation across large populations, at pace and scale.
Now the network, that is also the driving force behind the renowned DigitalHealth.London accelerator program, is launching “Accelerating FemTech”, a new initiative which will support innovators to boost the development of technology solutions to address current challenges in women’s health. Accelerating FemTech has been made possible through Innovate UK funding as part of the Biomedical Catalyst.
Accelerating FemTech is looking to inspire, by engaging innovators (clinicians, companies and academics) around the challenges in women’s health, and to accelerate, by delivering a targeted 10-week accelerator programme for small and medium-sized companies from across the UK.
The programme is being delivered by the Health Innovation Network and partners, including: DigitalHealth.London, CW Innovation, Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN, South West AHSN, West of England AHSN, Mills & Reeve, East Midlands AHSN, Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, Health Innovation Manchester, The Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria, and others.
Anna King, Commercial Director for the Health Innovation Network, explains: “There are enormous opportunities to bring new innovation to women’s health – from female-specific areas such as maternal health, fertility, gynecological cancers and menopause, to conditions that affect women disproportionally or differently, including osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease. Accelerating FemTech aims to inspire innovators to tackle the challenges in these areas and equip companies working in women’s health to develop their product offering. I look forward to working with healthcare leaders from across the UK to advance innovation in this important space and am very grateful to Innovate UK for funding this vital work.”
Dr Samana Brannigan, Head of Health Technologies at Innovate UK, adds: “Our vision is to inspire early-stage businesses to develop cutting edge healthcare solutions to transform healthcare and drive business growth. In collaboration with the Medical Research Council we have developed a pilot accelerator programme to maximise impact of our excellent research base and transform innovative research into commercially viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with Health Innovation Network and their partners to deliver this programme and their support will undoubtedly improve the success of the early-stage innovators in addressing real-world challenges.”
Inspire includes specialist webinars, from a range of subject matter experts and innovators, to motivate and celebrate innovative solutions, and invite-only face-to-face events, to encourage and connect innovators to solve to women’s health challenges. These events are targeted at clinicians, academic and innovators interested in tackling women’s health challenges.
Accelerate is a 10-week support programme is for small / medium-sized companies (SMEs) from across the UK, that have early-stage innovations addressing current challenges in women’s health.Building on the Health Innovation Network’s experience of running the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, the programme will provide companies developing products to solve women’s health challenges with bespoke support through expert-led workshops and mentoring. It will support them to develop their product offering, understand the challenges in the women’s health space, grow entrepreneurship skills and engage with key stakeholders across the NHS and academic landscape. The programme will be delivered in a hybrid format, with two days of face-to-face workshops in London in September and Leeds in October, and a showcase in London in November, supplemented by online support, workshops and coaching. The programme will also support the companies to apply to the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst call in November 2023, to demonstrate their commercial and technical feasibility.
Application details and timelines have not been announced yet. Those interested in the programme can find out more and register their interest on the “Accelerating FemTech” website.