Recently, we had the chance to sit down with our good friend, Aline Noizet. If you´ve ever been at a conference with Aline (and I have), this woman knows everyone and is generous in making connections to advance Digital Health in Europe and beyond.
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What did you work on in 2018?
2018 was full of exciting new experiences with a focus on collaboration between startups and pharma. I was in New York for 3 months with Bayer to support the launch of the G4A Generator, a matchmaking program between Bayer and startups focused on consumer health, then I moved to Berlin to run the Bayer G4A pharma accelerator program with the 6 selected startups that we hosted and accelerated for 3 months in Bayer offices. During this year, I also spent time building community through meaningful connections in the digital health space, mainly in the US and Germany.
What emerging technologies do you think will advance Digital Health?
I’m a big fan of microbiome! I see a huge potential in understanding better our body and making sense of certain chronic diseases such as Crohn and finding cures. The microbiome can also play a major role in the prevention and optimization of our wellness and energy.
Genomics is another promising area. It’s moving fast and is at the core of personalized medicine. It helps to understand how patients respond to certain drugs or therapy, develop new drugs based on those inputs and predict better which treatment will be effective. In the future, pharma will be able to develop drugs for a specific patient based on their genomic profiles.
I’m also excited about AI to help diagnose diseases earlier when applied to radiology for instance.
But the biggest advancement will actually come from the convergence of those technologies – using AI with genomics for example to determine the right treatment for cancer patients.
A favorite event of 2018?
Exponential Medicine from Singularity University. It brings together key experts from the international healthcare scene as well as inspiring patients sharing their stories. It talks about the latest advances in genomics, microbiome, AI, stem cells, cancer research, neurology, etc 4 days of mind-blowing content.
I also enjoyed a lot the Data Natives conference in Berlin, a conference dedicated to data in general, not just in healthcare. It’s amazing to see the power and potential of data and what comes out of their analysis. Always very inspiring to see what is happening in other sectors and imagine the impact it could have on healthcare.
What advice would you offer digital startups?
Understand your final users and involve them in the development of your solution early. The main pitfall for startups is a mismatch between the solution they developed and the user: it doesn’t meet the market needs or the user experience is not adequate, ending up in low or no adoption.
Don’t develop a solution because you have an amazing technology but because there is a real need in the market. If there is a personal reason that led you to create your solution, share it! It will give you even more credibility. If you are not here to make a difference in patients’ life if you don’t care, move on to another sector.
Your market is the world! Don’t limit yourself to your home market. Maybe another market will be even better and more adapted. Think big! But make sure you understand the healthcare system in other countries, how the markets work and how to enter them best.
If you could change one thing in Digital Health, what would it be?
The regulation bodies! Yes, they are important to ensure the safety of the patients and that solutions that are not safe don’t end up on the market but decision making needs to speed up and processes to be more effective and adapted to digital health products.
There are amazing startups developing innovative solutions that can really make a difference and have an impact on patients’ life but regulation processes like CE or FDA create more hurdles for them to get their products on the market.
It would also be helpful for those startups to have better support to file those regulation processes.
What do you think is the most over-hyped technology?
Blockchain! Everybody is talking about Blockchain and wants to use it but Blockchain is a tool and people should only use it if it makes sense with their solution and overall strategy.
Barcelona or Berlin?
I spent most of 2018 in Berlin and 7 years in Barcelona before that so quite a relevant question. Both cities are very dynamic and top destinations for entrepreneurs. Berlin has a strong digital health ecosystem with key players like Charité hospital and their innovation arm – Berlin Health Innovations. Both Charité and Helios (the largest European hospital group since they bought Quironsalud) have innovation divisions in Berlin that collaborate with external startups with the possibility to do pilots to validate their solution. The different pharma groups in Berlin are very active in the digital health space offering different collaboration programs to startups: Bayer G4A, Amgen Technology Hub, Pfizer Healthcare Hub, etc. Berlin is also a great place to raise money with various VCs focused on Healthcare: Digital Health ventures, Earlybirds, Atlantic Labs, etc and there are great institutions like Flying Health or the health division of Berlin Partners, supporting startups and connecting them with big players like pharma or insurance. Although Berlin is very active, the ecosystem is quite fragmented and maybe missing a common place for all those different players to meet contrary to Barcelona who just opened the Barcelona Health Hub (BHH), in the beautiful Sant Pau former hospital which is now a museum. BHH is a +2000 m2 space hosting digital health startups, pharma, insurance companies, VCs and other players. This will be key in growing and consolidating the local ecosystem. There are only a few VCs in Barcelona investing in digital health like Alta, but the good news is, a new fund is coming to Barcelona, dedicated to digital health with a team from both Spain and the Silicon Valley.
The big advantage of Barcelona is for sure the weather and quality of life, which attracts many qualified engineers, founders, and corporate companies. On the downside, both cities are suffering from rents’ increase and the scarcity of available flats. From a travel point of you, I found it easier and cheaper to fly anywhere from Barcelona than from Berlin.
What are you focused on in 2019?
In 2019, my keywords will be exploring, traveling and connecting. One of my goals is to reactivate the meetings of our Health 2.0 España community that we started 7 years ago in Barcelona to bring together the digital health community through regular meetups in 8 cities across Spain. I will give an overview of the latest global trends in digital health, sharing what I learned in 2018 and the cool companies I met.
In 2019, I will be supporting the amazing eHealth Hub team in bringing their services to the market by validating the market fit. (EHealth Hub is on a mission to support European digital health startups).
I am also working on different projects with the US, bridging the gap with Europe to help digital health startups enter the US market. I will spend time in Asia too, I want to explore Singapore since a lot is happening there in digital health, and Australia.
My 2019 will be a year for new adventures, new professional challenges and surprises and I’m very excited about it.