Third consecutive edition of F4F partnership program aims to build a healthier society via technology-based digital solutions co-developed with start-ups

Participating start-ups entering the F4F program can propose patient-oriented digital solutions, focused on neurological disorders, via online platform open from June to September 2021

Barcelona, Spain, 17 June, 2021 – Ferrer, a privately-held Spanish pharmaceutical company whose aim is to make a positive impact in society, today announces its continued commitment to digital health with the third edition of its innovation program Ferrer 4 Future (F4F). The open innovation program aims to empower entrepreneurs and digital health businesses, to develop disruptive health solutions – using digital technology. Participating start-ups can propose digital healthcare solutions, using new technologies, against the latest challenges set by Ferrer, via an online platform

The purpose of the F4F program is the co-development of technology-based healthcare solutions, between start-ups and Ferrer. The collaboration begins with a careful selection process of proposed solutions against two challenges posed by Ferrer. Following an initial scoring process, the start-ups present and defend their solutions before the start-up advisory board, who picks the winner. The winning start-up participates in the program, which includes the possibility of piloting the solution on a real-use case and holds the potential to explore commercial alliances and collaborations with Ferrer in the future. The collaboration agreements are customized – according to the nature and maturity of each project. The duration of the co-development varies between 3 and 18 months, during which time, access to Ferrer mentors and experts, combined with access to internal resources, is guaranteed, and speeds up the creation of the solution.

Through this innovative program, we embrace the collaborative path to promote future projects with value, for patients and stakeholders alike within the healthcare system, said Tatjana Naranda, Ferrer’s Chief R&D Officer. We believe in the key role that digital health plays in the present and will play in the future when it comes to building a more efficient healthcare system – one that is accessible to all sectors of the population.

Ferrer’s F4F 2021 program offers two challenges to participating start-ups:

  • Challenge 1: Is there a digital solution that may help screen people with mild cognitive impairment and distinguish if there is a pathological evolution in cognitive functions, to allow long-term monitoring of the disease and provide the appropriate treatment?
  • Challenge 2: Is there an easy to use digital solution to maximise independence in the daily tasks of patients living with mild cognitive impairment, through personalized cognitive or motor rehabilitation?

The challenges require patient-centric solutions which facilitate the daily activity of healthcare professionals who are supporting patients with neurological disorders, whilst in primary healthcare settings or specialized neurology clinics, as they care for people with mild cognitive impairment. The solutions should also provide the healthcare professionals with precise follow-up tools and features.

The empowerment of patients and doctors with digital health tools to address some of the concerns around cost, equity and access to healthcare is aligned  with the company vision and the purpose of Ferrer’s digital health department; to build a healthier society through digital technologies and contribute to the sustainability of healthcare systems, added Gemma Estrada, Head of Digital Health in Ferrer.

Previous year winners

Year 2019: Wellthy Therapeutics and Ferrer have co-developed a CE marked digital solution to support patients with a chronic complex clinical condition. The software medical device enhances patients’ autonomy in the management of the disease, provides structured training and gives access to health coaches. Currently, the solution is being tested in a clinical study to measure its impact on clinical outcomes and quality of life of patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

Year 2020: Portabiles Healthcare Technologies and Ferrer share an interest for neurological disorders that involve gait disturbances and are working together in improving monitoring and generating objective parameters to enhance therapies that better the quality of life for patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Program: at a glance

  • 16/06/2021 Applications open
  • 29/09/2021 Application deadline
  • July-September 2021: If shortlisted, participants will deliver initial pitch
  • October-November 2021: If successful, participants are given the chance to present to expert panel, lasting one hour
  • Early 2022: Program initiation

Program benefits for the winner

  • Mentorship & training
  • Partnership
  • Access to resources
  • Investment