BIO-Europe Spring® 2015 in Paris featured two days of targeted presentations by ICT health start-ups, the first time this topic has been featured at a large partnering event. The following are excerpts taken from a conversation with Jean-Marc Bourez, in charge of ICT Health, Strategy Development, Innovation and Business Excellence department at Sanofi and Jean-Roch Meunier, CEO of Medicen Paris Region, the biocluster for innovative therapies and advanced technologies in healthcare, on their collaboration in the ICT for Health initiative.
“We are working here in the Paris region to combine all the clusters that are linked to ICT for Health,” said JR Meunier. In particular, the three different clusters with three different technological areas of expertise involved are Medicen Paris Region, Cap Digital the cluster of digital transformation , and Systematic Paris region (IT and IS technologies). Said JR Meunier, “We have one commission for the entire Paris region which combines these three ecosystems, and Jean-Marc Bourez is the President of that commission. The ICT Health commission gathers the academic research with CEA, INRIA, and AP-HP.”
This commission has brought together academic research, industry, universities, big companies, SMEs, incubators such as Paris & Co ICT Health incubators, Boucicaut as well as the AP-HP hospital network.
Two years ago, Sanofi helped Medicen to write the strategic plan on ICT for Health, and then combine the various players within the ecosystem to work together in an open innovation perspective. In that respect, it was quite relevant to involve Cap Digital and Systematic to help Medicen to focus its roadmap on its main assets and complete the gap with assets of the other competitiveness clusters to catalyze synergies and mutualize efforts within the ecosystem, said Bourez.
“This is a unique initiative in France,” said Meunier. “We are also connected with the other regional centers of expertise in France, including life science clusters and technology-centric clusters and with Cap Digital and Systematic connected to European initiatives such as the KIC EIT ‘Health’,” said Meunier.
“What we would like to say is really simple and concrete. In my opinion there is no single player on the market in Europe able to develop alone an ICT health solution, because very few actors have all capabilities within the value chain to put it on the market,” said Bourez. It’s a really complex value chain of capabilities, expertise, know-how, knowledge and technologies, he said. Being open within the ecosystem and partnership are a key ingredient to success.
“That is why it is crucial to collaborate between the various players including academics, universities, industry, start-ups, and living labs, to develop and test the solution with patients and healthcare professionals in a real life setting,” said Bourez.
The ICT Health commission Paris Region aims to help members to develop attractiveness and know how to boost open innovation and collaboration between players, authorities and payers, to expand massively the relationships between start-ups, SMEs and large companies through collaborative projects for better access to public funding, and to provide white papers and proposals to notified bodies and authorities to support the market access of innovations, said Bourez.
This was a factor in emphasizing specific start-ups and SMEs during BIO-Europe Spring 2015 to demonstrate the excellence of the ecosystem in France, their huge hospital network, the excellence of the academic research and university, and the industry, according to Bourez. The ICT Health Commission selected ten start-ups and SMEs currently working on ICT Health projects within the ecosystem to present. They are also recipients of specific funding from French entities to develop their ICT health solutions in collaboration with large companies, universities and hospitals.
“In a nutshell,” said Bourez, “we would like to emphasize the fact that there is no single key player who is able to address the global value chain.”
Bourez outlined that the large companies endorse the responsibility of their involvement in the ecosystem. A large company must be exemplary to help start-ups like a huge boat, allowing the small companies to play in the water, and get into the market to compete, said Bourez. “That is why Sanofi has decided to be a strong committed leader within this ICT health commission to help the members in the ecosystem,” said Bourez.
According to Meunier, “the contribution of the cluster is to bring around the table all the actors from academia, industry, the SMEs and hospitals, and to also work with the other technological clusters which are not directly in the medicine or health area. This is critical these days in order to innovate in the healthcare system.” This innovation is in the form of robotics, microelectronics, software and a lot of technology which is not classically within the medicine sector. “This is really a multidisciplinary approach that will accelerate both innovation and the time to market these innovations,” said Meunier.
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