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AI health tech ventures win vital backing



The new start-ups are helping drive healthcare innovation

Six start-ups aiming to use AI to improve healthcare have been backed by a new accelerator programme.

The scheme, led by Edinburgh University in partnership with start-up support organisation Scale Space, has identified the brightest 15 AI prospects among 86 applications.

The six health tech ventures among them, who will now be supported in scaling up and unlocking their global potential, are:

  • BioLiberty – has designed an AI-powered robotic glove that strengthens the user’s grip. Grip strength declines as we age and BioLiberty’s glove has the potential to restore independence for millions of people in the UK and globally. It is particularly relevant now when people are living longer, are more isolated and can’t easily get support from friends, family and carers.
  • Neeuro – provides personalised home-based digital therapeutics programmes utilising Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology that incorporates machine learning to help ADHD children improve their attention span. The technology has the potential to be applicable to other brain health conditions.
  • Data Innovation Al ltd – has created WorkSafeAI that assesses bio-safety risks and optimises mitigations to limit pathogens being transmitted in workplaces, to protect the health of workers.
  • iLoF – is using AI to build a cloud-based library of diseases biomarkers and biological profiles, with the aim of providing affordable screening and stratification tools that will save time and money for clinical trials.
  • MyWay Digital Health – working to transform chronic disease outcomes globally, through data-driven, digital solutions and delivery of personalised precision medicine at scale.
  • The Health Data Exchange – allows population-sized pools of individuals to form a copy of their medical, behavioural and genomic data, while AI tools identify correlations between medical and non-medical markers.  Single source, event based, longitudinal records can be shared with doctors, digital therapeutics and researchers and enable them to build optimised cohorts for trials in near real time.

The six-month programme started this week and runs until 15 July. It aims to help pioneering AI start-ups with high growth potential to scale globally so they can go on to become world-leading companies.

Scale Space will work with the founders to address challenges they encounter in building their businesses, and introducing them to mentors, academics and investors who can help accelerate their companies’ development.

Scale Space executive chairman Mark Sanders Mark Sanders said: “These successful companies are all bringing innovative thinking and technology to solve problems. The strength of the applicants is a testament to the burgeoning AI industry in Scotland and the University of Edinburgh’s role as a global leader in this area.”

Jim Ashe of Edinburgh University’s Bayes Centre, which hosts the accelerator programme, said: “In the lead up to COP26 [the UN Climate Change Conference happening in Glasgow this November], Scotland has the opportunity to take its global focus and demonstrate its leadership in AI, to deliver solutions to climate change, and economic challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are delighted to have received funding from the Scottish funding council through the DDI programme, to enable these dynamic AI companies to grow through participation in the successful Bayes AI accelerator programme.”

Dr John Lonsdale, head of enterprise services at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “The University of Edinburgh is a world leader in developing AI and Data Driven Innovation. The number and diversity of participants from around the world applying to the Post Covid AI Accelerator is a real endorsement.

“We’re looking forward to working with Mark and the Scale Space team to help the selected companies achieve their fullest potential.

“The chosen entrepreneurs have a fantastic opportunity to learn from scale up experts and leaders of other high growth businesses; helping them to grow their companies globally, contribute to our economic growth and make Scotland an even more attractive destination for inward investment.”

AI Accelerator participants will benefit from tailored advice, group working sessions and conferences to help their businesses grow. 

The 15 companies will each receive a £7,500 grant from the Scottish Funding Council through the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) scheme.

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