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EIT Health Virtual Wild Card Hackathon kicks off

EIT Health Virtual Wild Card Hackathon kicks off

Breaking new ground in women’s health and digital therapeutics.

The EIT Health Wild Card Hackathon began on 1 July with a packed agenda for the 45 participants who came together online to find new solutions in women’s health and digital therapeutics.

Now in its third year, the EIT Health Wild Card programme builds game-changing life science companies to break new ground in health by challenging the status quo in areas of high unmet need. Beginning with two challenges set by EIT Health, the annual Wild Card programme invites talented innovators from across Europe to respond with their ideas. Successful applicants start their journey with a hackathon; putting them through their paces on everything from team formation, critical thinking, business model development and pitching. Finally, participants pitch their solution to a panel of industry leaders to secure a spot in the finals, at which point they pitch for EIT Health investment to incorporate their company and bring their solution to market.

'The Hackathon is a very exciting phase of the Wild Card programme – it’s where we see highly talented individuals come together with complementary skill sets, where initial ideas are transformed into game-changing and viable business ventures, and where participants go from entrepreneur to CEO-in-waiting,' said Jorge Juan Fernández García, Director of Innovation, EIT Health. 'Beyond the excitement, we are also reminded that we are here with a serious purpose – we simply must do more to drive advancements in women’s health and take advantage of the possibilities afforded to us by digital therapeutics. We look forward to discovering and developing the very best talent that can help us to improve the lives of patients and citizens in Europe.'

The Wild Card challenges

Women’s Health: Women’s health has historically been under-recognised, and understanding of women’s health conditions and solutions to treat them have been slow. Women in Europe live, on average, 10 years in ill health with cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health conditions being the main causes of morbidity and mortality. Women are generally underrepresented in medical research, and are significantly more likely to have an adverse reaction to medication than men.

Digital Therapeutics: Although a relatively new field of healthcare, digital therapeutics hold great promise in revolutionising current medical practice, particularly in therapeutic areas where traditional medicine has fallen short. With an ageing population in Europe and many healthcare systems under strain from the demand caused by aging and non-communicable diseases, new ways of treating and managing patients must be found. Defined as evidence-based therapeutic interventions to treat, manage or prevent a disease or condition using software programmes, digital therapeutics can be used independently, or combined with existing interventions to optimise patient care and improve outcomes.

What’s next for Wild Card

The participants will be coached by 20 leading mentors from Europe and beyond, pitching their final solution on the 10th July to the judging panel. Selected teams will be incubated by EIT Health and awarded up to two million euros each of EIT Health investment at the end of October to develop their company and solution. Past winners include Abtrace and Smart4Diagnostics, who were named winners in 2018 and have since launched their products onto the market; and iLoF and PIPRA, who were winners in 2019 and continue to develop their products.

EIT Health is in the process of finalising the challenges that will be posed to Europe’s innovators as part of the 2021 Wild Card programme.

To find out more about the EIT Health Wild Card programme, please visit