Launch of NEXTHEALTH community (RIS3CAT)

In June 2016, the government of Catalonia announced the first five RIS3CAT Communities –including the NEXTHEALTH community coordinated by Biocat– so they could each execute their respective action plans through collaborative projects with a high impact on innovation.

This gave rise to the NEXTHEALTH community, made up of 22 companies from different sectors and 35 stakeholders from the research, development and innovation system. It was founded with the general aim of tackling the health-related challenges facing society and improving the Catalan healthcare system; boosting the collaboration and competitiveness of participating organizations; and identifying and promoting new business opportunities and emerging activities.

NEXTHEALTH includes 5 projects, led by the University of Barcelona, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Eurecat, the Institut Universitari de Ciència i Tecnologia and Institut Guttmann, respectively. The project is co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

In June 2016, Biocat began coordinating and dynamizing the following five projects:

1. ADVANCE CAT: Accelerator to develop advanced therapies in Catalonia

The ADVANCE CAT project, led by the University of Barcelona, was launched to create an accelerator to develop advanced therapies in Catalonia by setting up a network of Catalan centers involved in this type of work. The project aims to innovate and quickly advance from idea to clinical application and/or industrial production of these therapies.

This way, the project will develop the right computer tools, establish complementary facilities needed in addition to those already available and automatize and standardize projects and production systems.

The main goals set for this project are:

  • SWOT and CAME analyses of advanced therapies in Catalonia
  • Promoting an organizational structure to encourage transversal technology
  • Conducting the clinical phase of several innovative advanced-therapies projects that include cell and gene therapy and tissue engineering. Although there are already projects in the clinical phase in Europe, ADVANCE CAT will develop treatments that include different types of pluripotent and somatic cells, gene modifications, etc.

2. HL4.0: Hospital Liquid 4.0

Hospital Sant Joan de Déu is leading this project that aims to identify and collect all healthcare data generated both inside and outside of the hospital and take advantage of it using big data and analysis systems. The project will involve clinical and genomic data, biomedical images or other hospital systems, such as those generated by patients themselves in online communities, mHealth, etc.

Furthermore, this project aims to ensure a multi-channel care model and provision of services. It aims to move from a reactive model based on “receiving and managing calls” without information on the individual, to a proactive management model that takes into account patients’ health and the population that interacts with the hospital through different communication channels (phone, email, social media, digital channels, etc.).

Members of NextHealth community met several times during 2016.

3. NEXTCARE: Personalized care for chronic patients in a digital healthcare framework

Eurecat is leading the NEXTCARE project that is promoting a new personalized care model for chronic patients using ICT tools. This proposal for innovation in healthcare services sets three main goals:

  • Rolling out integrated care services for chronic patients in the region with a personalized medicine approach
  • Developing a test bench to take global leadership in applying ICT to new services that generate value in the Catalan Health System
  • Developing and monetizing new products and services that can be easily transferred to other systems and help strengthen the Catalan industrial fabric

4. AMMIC: Platform to develop new therapeutic strategies for minority (rare) diseases

Institut Universitari de Ciència i Tecnologia (IUCT) is leading this project that seeks to advance in developing new drugs to treat minority diseases, as well as joint therapeutic strategies. This project aims to advance in both the discovery of new molecules and the early stages of efficacy in clinical practice in order to meet the existing therapeutic needs associated with these diseases.

5. INNOBRAIN: New technology for innovation in cognitive stimulation and rehabilitation

Institut Guttmann is leading the INNOBRAIN project, which aims to consolidate and strengthen the competitiveness of the community involved in the Guttmann, NeuroPersonalTrainer®, cognitive stimulation platform, a tool promoted by Institut Guttmann, along with other members of Esfera UAB and strategic partners.

The platform works on cognitive stimulation and rehabilitation for people with cognitive deficits or deterioration as a result of a neurological disease, psychiatric condition, dementia or developmental disorder with the aim of improving care.

The project’s goals include researching:

  • Multi-touch strategies to optimize human-computer interaction in cognitive rehabilitation
  • Artificial intelligence technology
  • Interactive video technology
  • Monitoring strategies in cognitive rehabilitation with EEG
  • Monitoring strategies in emotional expression through artificial vision