The world of health technology is rapidly evolving, and for those aiming to stay at the forefront, there is a continuous thirst for knowledge, networking, and inspiration. Aligned with our mission in the “Get Started In Health Innovation” program, we embarked on a three-day study journey to the UK, a hub of innovation in health technology. Our delegation, comprising eight representatives from five startups and our program team, aimed to learn from the rich source of knowledge that the UK’s health tech ecosystem provides.
Commencing in Cambridge
The historic city of Cambridge was our first destination. Despite the drowsiness after an early flight, we quickly awakened during a session with Dr. Jason Mellad, CEO and founder of the bio-science venture builder Start Codon. Mellad’s insights emphasized the intricacies of transforming scientific discoveries into commercially sustainable technologies.
A few lessons that inspired us were:
- Balancing funding for science and deriving financial benefits from it is delicate.
- Building the right team is the foundation of every successful venture.
- Identifying users is fundamental innovation – knowing what users need and want is crucial.
In the afternoon, we explored the expansive Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The campus is a vibrant hub, a testament to the strength of the partnership between the public and private sectors, where the ambition for research excellence coexists with compassionate patient care.
Royal Encounter in London
London was our next destination, with its lively streets and iconic landmarks. However, our attention was drawn to the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAENG) Enterprise Hub, an academy boasting a 50-year legacy and a key role in promoting engineering innovations addressing global challenges. Conversations with Katie Saddleton and Lisa Rose revealed the enormous role RAENG plays, especially in developing countries. The significance of their achievements is evident, with their startup alumni collectively raising over £1.3 billion post-program and creating 6,000 jobs over the decades.
In-Depth Look into the London Health Ecosystem
The third day began with an exploration of the national health system and its openness to innovations with the Health Innovation Network, emphasizing the importance of understanding the workings of the NHS and strategic partnerships with them. We also discovered the key role of DigitalHealth.London in nurturing health tech startups in London. Their accelerator program, supported by a network of experts, catalyzed the progress of numerous digital healthcare solutions in the city and beyond.
The organization MedCity stood out as another crucial element in the London health ecosystem, especially for founders of foreign health startups. Focused on investments, innovation, and infrastructure development, MedCity is an essential part of the London health tech mechanism.
Peak Innovation in Medical Devices
Our journey concluded with a visit to King’s College and the London Institute for Healthcare Engineering (LIHE). By connecting research capabilities, clinical excellence, and commercial innovation, LIHE is poised to revolutionize how medical devices reach the market. The upcoming MedTech Hub accelerator program, launching in 2024, promises to elevate the field of medical device innovation by offering expertise in development, manufacturing, and sales, with the goal of translating scientific achievements into real improvements in patient health.
Our journey across the UK was not just a study tour; it was a journey of inspiration, learning, and connection. We brought with us not only memories but invaluable insights, new collaborations, and renewed strength to promote innovation in the health tech industry. The UK, with its prosperous ecosystem, has given us a blueprint for success, and it is now up to us to replicate and adapt it in our respective areas. The future of health tech is bright, and armed with the lessons from this journey, we are better equipped to be its standard-bearers.
This journey was made possible thanks to the British Embassy Zagreb, a partner in the Get Started In Health Innovation program. We extend our gratitude to our friends from the United Kingdom, Dr. Aleksandra Love and Tony Kypreos, who facilitated these relevant contacts, making the study journey worthwhile.