The Asia Pacific region faces the formidable task of grappling with rapidly aging societies as well as defining the critical role of health innovation in addressing some of these challenges.
This was the focal point of discussions at a forum jointly organized by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and pharmaceutical company Bayer held December 1 in the island state. The issue is particularly serious in East Asia and the Pacific which, according to World Bank data, is aging faster than any other region of the world.
It is in this light that NUS Enterprise and Bayer launched a pioneering, state-of-the-art project called “Grants4Apps Bayer-NUS Open Innovation Challenge” at the event dubbed “Transforming Aging with Health Innovation”.
The web-based crowd sourcing initiative calls for innovative health tech solutions in Singapore and across Asia Pacific to improve medication adherence among elderly people with chronic diseases. “Grants4Apps Singapore” is open to healthcare professionals, caregivers, scientists, engineers, students, programmers, developers, start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The challenge will select three winners who will each receive S$10,000 as financial support and access to mentorships from Bayer, NUS Enterprise and other industry partners that will provide support in advancing their ideas and digital strategies for doctors, patients and consumers in the health sector.
The winners will also be eligible for incubator support from NUS Enterprise as well as access to the Modern Aging Singapore business accelerator program organized by ACCESS Health International and NUS Enterprise.
“While innovative medicines can transform the outcomes for patients, medications are only effective for people who take them,” said Claus Zieler, senior vice president and head of commercial operations of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division Asia/Pacific.
“Barriers to medical adherence are complex and varied, influenced by the patient, healthcare provider and the healthcare system,” Zieler continued. “Bayer believes in supporting innovation across the value chain to help patients and society in tackling their healthcare challenges. We have partnered with NUS for many years and we are excited to broaden our partnership from classical clinical research into open innovation platforms which foster entrepreneurship and engagement of the wider community to address this important public health issue in our aging societies.”
Deadline for submissions to the “Grants4Apps Singapore” program has been set on February 14, 2017. Up to five semi-finalists will be chosen in early March 2017 for a final round of coaching and pitching, with the culminating rites to be held in May 2017. For more information on the project, log on to www.grants4apps.com/Singapore.
“Grants4Apps Singapore” is an extension of the global Bayer Grants4Apps initiative launched by Bayer in 2013 which grants financial support to developers, start-ups and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas for applications, hardware and software technology that would contribute to improved health outcomes, pharmaceutical processes and better patient results.
Winners may be admitted to the global “Grants4Apps” program and the “Grants4Apps Accelerator”. They will stand to receive additional financial support, mentorships by Bayer managers and an international network of external entrepreneurs as well as co-working space at the global headquarters of Bayer Pharmaceuticals division in Berlin, Germany.