Digital technologies enable innovation to snap at the heels of many industries, success will come to the businesses that ensure their workforce is skilled in the best practices of the digital age. Of all the industries on the cusp of digital transformation, none are more politically contentious, tightly regulated, scientifically significant or economically important than health care and medical industries. Hospitals around the globe will drive, and at the same time be shaped by these disruptive innovations.
On the other hand, one of the most observed trends for global healthcare is the impact of the aging population. This will in turn lead to greater demands for pushing more investments into medical innovation. Emerging trends show collaboration between startups, medical centers and venture capitalists that accelerate the further development of smart healthcare innovations.
The BEx Accelerator program aims at medical startups
In this interview, Arthur Chen, Executive Director of BE Capital, alongside Dr. Wayne Huang, Dean of IRCAD-Taiwan/AITS, share their perspectives on how to join efforts for both teams to initiate seed funding partnership programs to turn medical challenges in Taiwan into opportunities. The accelerator fund has raised US$ 5 million and next year will raise another 30 million US dollars to support further development. Through this startup fund platform, BE Capital is linking to a global network of entrepreneurs and innovators to accelerate medical devices of minimally invasive surgery being developed at Show Chwan Health Care System.
Meanwhile, the dedicated BEx Accelerator program, a new breed of accelerator model designed by BE Capital, will kick off a proprietary evaluation and commercialization process that helps startups identify and advance medical innovation. Unlike most accelerators, the BEx program does not have your traditional Demo Day deadline. With one year period of time to provide one-on-one coaching support from BE Capital staff and mentors, BE Capital will work intensively with the startup teams to help them meet their individual business goals including to gain customers, raise capital, build marketing and sales collateral, and refining an investor pitch.
Chen indicates that traditional accelerator model might work in the technology startup space such as Internet of Things, smart retailing or information technologies. But it rarely goes well in the complex world of healthcare. The BEx program is focusing on the medical products designed and evaluated for safety and efficacy for patients, Chen highlights. The long-term development cycle of higher end medical technology products rely on intensively in health care coordination, patient engagement, and workflow improvement. At the same time, it is also playing an important role in giving candid feedback from key opinion leaders (KOL), who are generally an experienced and trusted physician in the community. That's the reason why the collaboration with larger medical center is so important.
Leveraging IRCAD-Taiwan to build the platform for medical innovations
Show Chwan Health Care System is a family own hospital chains with 8 hospitals located in Taiwan. With revenue of over US$ 400 million dollars in a year and a professional team of more than 600 physicians, Show Chwan setup a goal to be an international medical care center. One of the major actions to achieve this goal is through innovation. And medical devices innovation is an exciting area for Show Chwan that requires surgeons and engineers to work closely together, to create a viable business that will not only succeed financially, but also benefit patient outcome at the end.
In 2008, Show Chwan cooperated with French Minimally Invasive Surgery Training Centre (IRCAD) to set up Asian Minimally Invasive Surgery Training Centre (AITS), or short named "IRCAD-Taiwan," at Chang Bing Show Chwan Health Park, aiming to nurture first-class minimally invasive surgery talents in Asia. Today, IRCAD-Taiwan has trained over 8000 surgeons and invited over 1000 experts including leading surgeon educators from around the world and top management executives from market leaders in endoscopy and surgery.
All these training activities link with other registered Asian surgeons through high speed internet connection. It is bringing the on-line education models and comes together for a powerful platform to discuss the future of surgical education and medical innovation. IRCAD-Taiwan is creating a great opportunity for Show Chwan. Huang points out, "Taiwan market is limited. With technology innovation and good quality of products, Taiwan will have the chance to position itself as a hub for technological innovation in the medical sector."
The global medical devices market size is scaling fast. The medical device market is projected to expand in value to over USD 500 billion. Need-based innovation is a process in which problems are identified and sorted based on impact and opportunity. Through IRCAD-Taiwan, it will provide a platform to explore the possibility for medical innovation. As a physician-innovator, Huang sees the value how IRCAD-Taiwan to provide a powerful platform for gathering resources and linking with KOL communities to validate products to reach its full potential.
Furthermore, the hospital is the gateway to the entire healthcare ecosystem. This startup fund associated with hospitals will encourage the physician-innovators to collaborate with the startup teams for developing products to identify unmet user needs and fulfill them. With IRCAD communities, the collaboration of startups and physicians will help each other to accurately develop medical products that have high market demand. This will in turn save time and R&D costs.
Select Japan market as the first stop for global reaching
The Vision of this joint fund of BE Capital and Show Chwan Health Care System is making Taiwan becoming "The Gateway to Asia for HealthTech and MedTech" and assisting international medical startups to go to Taiwan for clinical evaluation and testing medical products through resources of Taiwan hospital chains. The medical R&D teams from around the world gather to share pioneering research and improve efficiencies with clinical trials leveraging Taiwan hospital chains to form a powerful platform. Once the medical products passed the certification, it will open up sales opportunities for expansion through international medical distribution channels to expand the Asia markets.
The link with global investors and partners will be the next big step for medical startups, Chen continues. Through the long time cooperative training programs between BE Capital and Show Chwan, they have brought the Standford Biodesign program to Taiwan for helping R&D teams to build an innovation process from medical needs identification to product design and fulfill the needs. This approach is tightly linked with industrial ecosystem partners to solve the problems to create a great business potential in the market. Through this partnership, BE Capital will help medical device startups to develop their products faster and more efficiently.
As Japan's pharmaceutical industry opens up to the world, for quickly scaling up the medical products and expanding global market, BE Capital is linking the global network to the Japan market bridging Taiwan medical products to test and certify them in Japan. The massive goal is making Taiwan medical products into the Japan health insurance coverage medications listing or in the self-paid listings. To achieve this goal, the one-year BEx Accelerator program provides hand in hand assistance and training courses to selected 10 to 12 startup teams. Each of them will receive an investment of $200 thousand US dollars as a maximum. Through the strong relationships with Stanford Biodesign Alumnus in Japan and other areas in Asia, BE Capital will help the global partners and investors recognizing Taiwan's strengths and seek commercial opportunities to work with Taiwan startups to realize their full potential supporting global health needs.
The BE Capital will run the selection process for startup teams from December 16, 2019. For the further details, please visit the website at https://beaccelerator.com
BE Capital and Show Chwan HealthCare System to invest in Medical Startups building Gateway to Asia for global presence
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