London BioLink – Transforming Medicine through Healthcare Technology Innovation

The Royal Society of Medicine hosted an incredible exciting event in London. Global leaders come together to share insights and accelerate innovation in the Digital Space.

Merck (@Merck )the international global leader, distributor and manufacturer of pharmaceuticals has organised the event with the support of MedCity and Health 2.0 London, the event was invitation only for selected influencers, stakeholders, innovators and leaders within the growing healthcare technology industry. Many familiar faces were amongst the attendees, Dr.Tamer Shahin@Nuviun; Dr. Klaus Stöckemann @Peppermint; Jani Ahonala @NoonaHealthcare; Rich Khatib @Medopad; Loy Lobo Wegyanik; Charles Lowe @DHACA; Jackie Oldham Manchester Health Innovation; Maxine Mackintosh @HealthTechWomenUK; Anne Bruinvels @PxHealthcare; Cristina De Juan @Health2.0London Luis Garcia-Gancedo @GSK; David Champeaux @Accenture; Prof. Richard Barker @Casmi ; Dr. Gurpreet Singh @CassBusinessSchool; Ruth Krestin @Astrazeneca; Ian Gallifant @medelinked to name a few.

The evening started with a networking and drinks reception followed by welcoming remarks from Pearl Freier @CambridgeBioPartners and fund announcements. Merck’s leadership team was well represented, Bill Taranto – President Merck Global Health Fund; David Stevenson – Managing Director Merck Global Health Fund and Dr. Francesca Wuttke – Merck Global Innovation Fund ( Spain ).

The purpose of the event was to announce Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund of $500M , the evergreen fund aims to identify new business models and adjacent opportunities in healthcare globally.

 Merck’s has clearly stated that they would like to attract more investments in Europe in order to grow their ecosystem of innovative companies and advanced their research-intensive biopharmaceutical company where the focus is on providing leading innovations and solutions for today and the future. So far Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund has invested in 35 innovative companies with 5 successful exits to date.

The investment target areas in Europe will be solutions that add value along the care path in therapeutic areas of interest:

– Infectious Diseases

– Oncology

– Diabetes

– Vaccines

Plus, digital clinical trial technologies that meaningfully improve R&D effectiveness:

– Patient identification, recruitment and engagement

– Data capture and statistical analysis

– Remote monitoring and drug compliance

technology enabled solutions

After all the fund announcements, its strategy and primary objectives shared with the audience, a prestigious panel discussion took place. Leading and moderating the proceedings- Nigel Gaymond took charge. The panel was composed by Dr. Andrew Elder @AlbionVentures; Vincent Fert @HalioDX; Jonathan O’Halloran @QuantuMDxGroup; Claire Perry @TheKing’sFund and Dr. Tim Ringrose @M3(EU )Ltd entertained the audience with thought leading knowledge, approaches and experiences.

To share some insights about the panel discussions, I would like to brief outline the following:

– Data as the Currency – data is the new “gold “, however some challenges present themselves with this huge opportunity. Also transform health data into valuable information is another colossal challenge to all innovators and healthcare stakeholders.

– New business models required, relying on existent public services and county systems seems to be opposed to accelerate innovation. Furthermore, adoption is not achieved at the pace that we all wanted and need to advance faster in accompanying the industry pace.

– The necessity ( especially in UK ) to create a reward / incentive healthcare system to encourage the mass population to take charge of their health.

global health innovation merck pic

In conclusion, digital health continues to evolved with a particular focus on platform and technologies that help to deliver better healthcare, an industry that is complicated given the regulatory, reimbursement and workflow of the business. Merck has clearly set out their strategy in terms of investment that is designed to unlock the full value of healthcare worldwide.

Author : João Bocas – Digital Health Influencer & Thought Leader