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Future Forward shone a spotlight on the incredible opportunities for investment in Health Tech

Leveraging the power of technology to improve the discovery, delivery, and consumption of healthcare, health tech is highly innovative and is continually revolutionising the healthcare landscape. From remote treatment and patient care to screening and diagnostics, drug discovery, R&D and more, the global health tech market is expected to reach $660 billion by 2025 and shows no signs of slowing.

On 21st June, we presented Future Forward: Investing in Health Tech, in partnership with SETsquared, and explored the incredible opportunities for investment within the health tech and digital health sectors. Presented virtually, we brought together an incredible group of speakers to spotlight what innovations are on the rise, the trends making waves in the healthcare landscape, as well as the challenges faced by the NHS and how innovators and entrepreneurship have the potential to make a major impact.

Kicking the day off, we welcomed Professor Tony Young OBE who is a practising frontline NHS consultant urological surgeon and the National Clinical Lead for Innovation for NHS England and NHS Improvement. Tony shared perspectives on the integral role innovation has in driving forward change in the NHS and how the size and scale of the NHS make it primed to embrace and accelerate industry-leading improvements. Additionally, Tony put the spotlight on the unique systems and structures put in place by the NHS, like their clinical entrepreneurship programme, to tap into the latest proven innovations and get them to market and to patients faster than ever before.

Following Tony, Dr Fiona Pathiraja who is the Managing Partner at Crista Galli Ventures took the virtual stage to share her perspectives on why health tech is such an exciting space for investors. Looking at community-based health tech, Fiona noted that this is an area that is especially opportune for investors. As more people look to engage in online communities, there is huge potential for virtual healthcare that offers specific support for niche communities that has yet to be fully tapped into. Fiona also looked at the more macro trends as well, where she noted that we are seeing a diffusion of healthcare at the peripheries of organisations like the NHS, but increasingly health tech innovations are making major impacts and therefore, we are seeing global adoption by health organisations.

Next up, we welcomed an impressive group of leading investors and industry experts to join in a panel discussion which explored why now is the time to invest in health tech and how fusing technologies like AI, machine learning, blockchain and more contribute to game-changing solutions and disruption in healthcare.

The panel included:

The panel covered an array of topics relating to investing in health tech including what areas angel investors can consider investing in, the trends turning heads, where horizontal technologies are converging with healthcare, and notably some of the major industry challenges that are ripe for innovation. Highlighted on the panel were areas like biomarkers and diagnostics which enable stratification of patients, ensuring they are receiving the correct treatments. The panel also underpinned the increasing importance of innovation in direct patient-facing areas, whereby there is a focus on specific disease areas. Looking into the future, the panel noted there is an opportunity to have certain aspects of patient care move from the hospital and into homes. This move will be supported by modern technologies like remote monitoring sensors that not only offer cost and resource savings, but also continuous monitoring providing in-time, accurate data for doctors, which has the potential to majorly change how long-term patient care is facilitated.

Shifting to a demonstration of the relationship between an angel investor and heath tech investee business, we welcomed Paul Tselentis, Co-Founder and CEO of 24Haymarket and Tom Whicher, Founder and CEO of DrDoctor, a 24Haymarket portfolio company. Together, Paul and Tom talked about the role angel investment played in DrDoctor’s growth, as well as why this sector offers such strong potential for investors. During this discussion, they underpinned the importance of digitisation of healthcare and how innovations like DrDoctor help improve patient engagement outside of the hospital or physician’s office. To demonstrate this, Tom and Paul looked at the various stages of digitisation of healthcare, from billing and administration to internal workflows, as well as how patients interact with healthcare services in daily life, and why technology platforms are integral in simplifying these processes for doctors and patients alike.

To close the day off, we welcomed 5 innovative health tech companies from across SETsquared’s portfolio. From the world’s first 100% needle-free continuous glucose monitor to cutting-edge, tech-led prosthetics and orthotics – the businesses represented an array of health tech applications. Chris Hill, Programme Manager at SETsquared welcomed each of the businesses to deliver a quick-fire 3-minute pitch to our investor audience, offering the businesses the chance to profile their ventures, demonstrate how they have the potential to disrupt the health tech space, and what they need to build and grow.

The businesses included:

  • EarSwitch: EarSwitch is developing the next human-computer interface by unlocking the power of communication for everyone.
  • Emm Technology: Emm Technology is designing the next generation of period products with precise monitoring for the personal health of users.
  • Peninsula Medtech: Peninsula MedTech are developing a new generation of intelligent connected critical care devices that improve the safety and outcomes of patients in the critical care environment.
  • Radii Devices: AI-driven software to support clinicians in delivering the best quality of fit for skin-connecting medical devices, transforming the lives of patients with evidence-based design.
  • Transdermal Diagnostics: Transdermal Diagnostics is a spin-out MedTech company focused on transforming chronic diseases’ prevention, diagnosis and monitoring with innovative needle-free wearable technologies for health biomarkers monitoring.

The day offered many invaluable insights on not only how important investing in health tech is, but how vast the sector is and how much opportunity there is for change-makers to make a dramatic impact. Like any other sector, we know there are major challenges present and that transformation takes time, but what our speakers emphasised is how with capacity, strong business cases, innovative thought, and of course, equity investment, we will see a shift in the healthcare landscape – one that is significant and for the better.

Head to the Future Forward Investing in Health Tech website to watch each of the sessions and hear from our speakers.

By UKBAA22 Jun 2022