Heads Up, Startups: Bayer is Bringing Its Grants4Apps Accelerator Program to San Francisco

Published: Feb 08, 2017

Heads Up, Startups: Bayer AG is Bringing Its Grants4Apps Accelerator Program to San Francisco February 8, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Germany-based Bayer is bringing its Grants4Apps Accelerator program to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bayer’s Grants4Apps program in general is focused on novel software, hardware, technologies, or processes that can be used to improve health outcomes or pharmaceutical processes. The Grants4Apps Accelerator is a mentoring program for digital health startups.

To date, the Grants4Apps Accelerator ran out of Berlin, Germany. Dirk Schapeler, head of Bayer’s Lifescience iHub, located in Mountain View, California, recently spoke at the Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Silicon Valley conference at Stanford University. He announced that Bayer was bringing the accelerator to the U.S.

“We are also now working on a version here for San Francisco that we will launch this year,” he said during the presentation.

The Grants4Apps Accelerator has received more than 1,050 startup applications from more than 70 countries. Approximately 50 startups have received grants and 14 fledgling companies have participated in the accelerator program. Out of that 14, 11 are still in business.

Bayer’s Lifescience iHub creates collaborations between Bayer and tech companies. The focus is to find uses for sensors, AI/machine learning and digital apps for human health, animal health and agriculture.

In 2016, at Bayer’s Demo Day, the company introduced four digital health startups that had been accepted in the program.

1. Oasis Websoft, located in Ghana (bisaapp.com). Bisa, which means “ask” in the Ghanaian Twi language, is a telemedicine mobile app that allows users to directly interact with healthcare practitioners. It is available on Android, iPhone or Windows phone.

2. Turbine, based in Hungary (turbine.ai). Turbine is an AI company focused on oncology. Per the company website, “Turbine tests combinations of entire drug libraries by combining a Simulated Cell based on systems biology, disease-specific OMICS data and learning artificial intelligence algorithms. This approach can design effective drugs that handle tumor heterogeneity and aren’t overly toxic for patients—before preclinical experiments even begin.”

3. Vital Smith, located in Korea (vitalsmith.com). The company’s Bbless is a saliva-based test for fertility. The company indicates that, “The crystalline structures in saliva correlate with a woman’s estrogen level. As the ovulation date is more imminent, estrogen levels rise and the crystalline structures form a circular pattern to a [ferning] pattern. Bbless identifies this change through or algorithm.”

Xbird, based in Germany (xxbird.io). MedCity News says, “The German AI company has an ambitious goal: use technology to save 1 million lives by 2020. The clock is ticking on xbird as they use data science and machine learning using data captured by smartphones and wearables to analyze and detect adverse health events before they occur.

Per the company website, “Critical symptoms are simply detected too late. Is this necessary? We believe it’s not. A more reliable, automatic and early detection of the very first signs could significantly improve this shortcoming. We think technology is the remedy to overcome this systematic health care problem.”

Although details about the San Francisco-based program aren’t released yet, the Grants4Apps website says, “We are looking for startups beyond the ideation phase developing health technology or IT solutions that can connect and empower patients or healthcare stakeholders—mobile apps, digital services, wearables, medical devices, software, hardware. Any integrated next-generation technology that supports adherence, diagnosis, therapy control or prevention is welcome to submit a nomination.”

Companies accepted in the original program received at least l5 hours of mentoring by Bayer experts, in addition to various entrepreneurs and investors, 50,000 euros in startup funds paid in four monthly installments of 12,500 euros, incubation space at National University of Singapore (NUS), and the opportunity to attend various networking events.

Details for the U.S.-based program are likely to be forthcoming.

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