PATHOS – Platforms Added Together for Med-Tech Sector Innovations Originate Transnational Synergy

PATHOS will be a platform for all BSR countries including Russia to increase the competitiveness of the med-tech sector by sharing innovation expertise from the BSR. Project partners of the seed money project come from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland and Estonia. The idea is to embed further partners from the different kind of stakeholders in the med tech sector and region as partners in the main project in order to fill PATHOS with relevant expertise and access to all parts of the region. Thus, PATHOS can enhance the maximum flow of information data and create optimal synergies across borders.

 

Partners:

  • Department of Health Care, Region Västra Götaland (SE)
  • ScanBalt®fmba (DK)
  • BioCon Valley GmbH (DE)
  • Turku Science Park Ltd (FI)
  • Entrepreneurship Development Centre for Biotechnology and Medicine (EE)
  • Foundation Klaster LifeScience Krakow (PL)

 

Priority Area Innovation – Exploiting the full potential of the region in research and innovation

 

Klaster is a leader of interest group #4:  Develop concepts for innovative hospitals.

 

The mixture of bigger and smaller countries, higher and less developed economies, regions with top-performers and those with only local acting SMEs builds the basis for smart specialization, which builds the basis to enhance development of clusters and make them competitive even on international level.

The project addresses the med tech sector as part of the Health and Life Sciences sector, which is one of the biggest clusters with high potential for further development in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Like other growing sectors also the med tech sector faces the problem of very different levels of research and development and top business performers and less successful actors in the BSR. In particular, the regions of the “south-east coast” are in many cases innovation followers in terms of technological capacities and potential. The different levels of know-how and equipment, different rules and regulatory framework conditions and diverse national strategies limit an equal and sustainable growth of the med tech sector in the BSR despite its high potential for growing.  Specifically in highly regulated med –tech sector the changes in the health care systems demands new thinking to stay competitive with e.g. specific product and services combinations. Med-tech is built by a wide variety of organisations such as from medical device industry to small biomaterial companies, high – tech and manufactures, product and service providers combined with interdisciplinary research and development topics. Transnational cooperation and maximum usage of existing solutions is crucial to overcome the gaps between the different countries, regions and stakeholders, because at the end of the day med-tech serves the patients.

The project’s  target is to bundle diverse knowledge platforms and tools to one new innovation platform in order to:

  1. to increase development and implementation of innovative products, technologies or services inside the med-tech sector
  2. to accelerate market access for innovative med tech products, technologies and services.

Target groups are stakeholders of research and development, industry, hospitals, policy and administration level of the med tech sector. The main output of the planned project is “PATHOS at work”, a unique platform bundling know-how and offering new tools around innovative products to stakeholders in the BSR and Russia.

With this focus PATHOS directly contributes to the EUSBSR goal “to make the BSR a more prosperous place” with emphasis on the Priority Area 7: To exploit the full potential of region in research and innovation.

To build the project on a region’s strength and competitive advantages and rallying regional stakeholders and resources is in line with the Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialization of the European Union. Regional innovation systems shall be strengthened, knowledge flows maximized and benefits of innovation spread throughout the entire economy.

Medical technology brings many benefits. Many people live healthier, more productive and independent lives as a result of the innovations the medical technology industry. Furthermore, medical technology is also improving the productivity and efficiency of healthcare systems. The medical technology sector does not only consist of medical device and diagnostics manufacturers, but also includes medical service providers, manufacturers of radiological equipment and medical accessory manufacturers. The sector directly employs around 500,000 people in Europe. Some 80% of the sales come from the SMEs sector. It includes a wide variety of organsiations in both industry and research. Within the BSR HealthPort project, the BSR SME innovation cluster and other initiatives a number of barriers in the med tech sector that hinder the successful collaboration across borders to increase BSR competitiveness have been identified: Existing solutions are not shared enough through cooperation of different actors, long delays from research to market due to complex regulatory environment exist, a lack venture or any other type of early stage capital and entrepreneurial skills of stakeholders are further hindrances. Further hurdles that exist are public procurement rules in health care disfavor SMEs and thus hinder diffusion and implementation of med tech innovations. Finally there exist basic cross-sectoral gaps and challenges between different sectors of health care and technology sciences.

By setting up the idea of the project partners decided to start PATHOS with five thematic pilot areas which are directly addressing to the major needs for enhanced innovation in the med tech sector. These are:

  1. There is a strong need to provide test beds and test platforms to prove innovative med tech solutions in a clinical environment.
  2. Furthermore there is a need of better sharing clinical med-tech data and related services in transnational areas. The orientation to internal solutions in a clinical organization must be overcome.
  3. Regulatory bottlenecks have to be decreased with organizational innovation.
  4.  An open innovation paradigm should be introduced
  5. PATHOS shall be further developed to a full service platform for the med tech and neighboring sectors.

Several ideas to serve the needs have been already developed by different projects, stakeholders and regions. There is a strong need for sharing, demonstration and implementation across borders and organisations in the BSR in order to enhance the international competitiveness of the region within the med tech sector. Therefore the project partners jointly developed the project “Platforms Added Together for Med-Tech Sector Innovations Originate Transnational Synergy” (PATHOS), following a cross-sectoral and macro-economic approach.

The idea of PATHOS is the following: In line with the major needs five thematic pilot areas are defined covering different aspects of the med-tech sector. Within each pilot area a specific collaboration and infrastructure will be established. Later all pilot themes will be added together in an overall BSR med tech support platform as a service oriented PPP following the motto “sharing is caring” as med-tech is oriented to patient needs.

 

The five thematic pilot areas are the following:

  1. Test bed for SME med tech products in the clinic

The aim of “Test bed in clinics” concept is to help the innovation transfer from universities and companies into clinics. Concept supports the development and testing of the MedTech innovations in the real clinical settings. For example in the medical diagnostics and in the biomaterial sector clinical tests are an essential step in the product development and are needed before products can be taken into the markets. “Test beds in clinics” concept will enhance the communication and networking between different actors creating a creative atmosphere where more innovations could be developed for the benefit of hospitals and clinics and finally for the benefit of the patients.

  1. Align interoperability for medical image analyses

Shared med tech metadata can represent the semantic interoperability that must be in place to support enterprise workflow across organizational boundaries. The use of metadata between actors marks the beginning of a progress change form a local workflow (i.e. in one pathology department) to an enterprise workflow over several pathology departments located even in different countries. The enterprise workflow collaboration could be established even with actors outside the BSR debouching into a common workshop for the patient’s best “Good Care” in BRS.

  1. Reducing infections with new products and diagnostic tools

Multi-resistant organisms (MRO) pose a serious threat to patient safety as well as health care systems around the world. The continuous spread of MRO and the increasing number of antibiotic resistant strains call for a differentiated approach to MRO management.

Within the project the scope of MRO management shall be widened by looking at med tech developments and potential in diagnostics and implant medicine. Best practice examples from various countries and institutions will be examined to tackle comprehensive issues like choice of antibiotics, diagnostic tools, patient preparation and specific risk factors.

  1. Develop concepts for innovative hospitals

Open innovation paradigm needs to be explored and set operational to accelerate developments. Technology transfer services available in each region have to ensure effective processes on international scale. This specifically includes issues like safe disclosure facilitation and protection of the Intellectual Property or Funding & Resource Assistance. The task will be to identify and evaluate practical tools and methods already in place or just under development and set policy framework to integrate those assets in order to enable and foster international co-operation.  Specific focus will be given to collaboration resulting in developments in med tech sector and it’s applications in health-care practice.

  1. Align med-tech business accelerator in BSR

Within the last thematic pilot area concrete results of the Med-tech related business acceleration program Accelerace shall be included in the new platform. Accelerace aims to build top level accelerator in Europe in health technologies. Its scope is on digital health (e/m-health, healthy life-style tools), medical devices and equipment, diagnostics (esp. Companion diagnostics, point of care diagnostics), preventive care, drug development, enabling technologies (biological reagents, bioprocessing, bioinformatics), etc.

Overall aim of the PATHOS is to enhance innovation. Doing so, the project is based on existing innovative solutions to be introduced and shared on a transnational innovation platform.

In the BSR different approaches are used to transfer innovations from companies and research groups into hospitals and clinics. Firstly benchmarking of current systems is needed. It needs to be analyzed what is good in different systems and how good practices could be utilized in the different countries of the BSR.  At the same time it is essential to work closely with the local Med-Tech companies and hospital districts in order to take into account the local needs.

PATHOS will be based on a modular shared business service and support between clusters as a basic practical organizational model. PATHOS should be delivered and marketed as a virtual portfolio with different themes to be initiated depending on customer demand. The total portfolio will rely upon the regional competencies of the partner organizations and each module partnership should include competence hubs and satellites from around the BSR.

Members of PATHOS can use the diverse tools the platform offers such as entrepreneurship training-mentoring, business platforms, idea competition, branding and communication, public procurement and business accelerator exchange. Furthermore they have access to the competences of its members and stakeholders. Next to the project partners as initiative members new partners will be embedded. They can be from other flagships of the BSR, health agencies and the med tech industry. A special focus will be laid on attracting new partners from Russia.

Main output of the project will be PATHOS at work, which means an active working and used platform offered to stakeholders from the med tech sector in the BSR and Russia with the aim to enhance the development and implementation of innovative products, technologies and services and to accelerate their market access.

More information can be found at  http://seed.eusbsr.eu/index.php/projects/001-freshwater