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Life-Science Healthcare News | February 2022

Germany's biotech firms are booming, innovations are being made using 3D printing and digital apps are an export hit in the thriving life sciences sector.

German biotech companies experience financing boom

Germany’s biotech companies are experiencing a financing boom according to Handelsblatt. Last year they raised around EUR 2.3 billion in fresh capital – the second-highest amount of financing for the sector in three decades. In 2020, record investment of more than EUR 3 billion was ploughed into the biotech sector – half of which was earmarked for Covid-19 vaccine developers Biontech and Curevac. The success of Biontech has helped put the spotlight on the German biotech industry and is attracting international investors to the country. Germany’s biotech sector counts more than 700 companies who generated sales of around EUR 6.5 billion in 2020. Germany’s new coalition government has committed to significant investment in biotech R&D funding in order to consolidate the country’s international biotech profile and strengthen existing competencies and development potential.

Novartis plans new Munich headquarters

Swiss pharmaceutical concern Novartis has announced plans to establish a second administrative headquarters for its German subsidiary in Munich. The headquarters in Nuremberg will be retained. According to Novartis CEO Heinrich Moisa, the presence of a leading biotech cluster was instrumental to the decision to open a temporary Munich site in 2022 before completion of the new site in 2024. Novartis currently employs around 7,000 staff at ten sites nationwide in Germany. In other news, Novartis announced the shortlist for its EUR 60,000 Germany Digital Health Prize in January. Seven of nominated projects have been finalized for the prize that will be awarded in March this year.

Health-i Awards 2021 awarded

The Handelsblatt and Techniker Krankenkasse Health-i Awards were awarded for the sixth time at the end of last year. The 2021 awards generated unprecedented interest from young talents, start-ups and companies in the digital health sector. The winners in the Young Talents, Start-ups and Companies award categories were announced at the Handelsblatt Annual Conference Health - The Digital Future. App-based platform Myalink won the Young Talents prize, with Mentalis taking the Start-up prize and Centogene taking the Company category award. Since 2016, the Health-i Initiative has provided a platform and community for pioneering projects and initiatives.

Researchers develop insulin-producing tissue using 3D printing

Researchers at Heidelberg University Hospital have developed a new type of tissue that can produce insulin using 3D printing techniques. The advance could mean a significant improvement in the life for diabetes patients and reduce the need for donor organs according to the Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The tissue has been developed by a research team working as part of the Eurostars 3D-PIVOT project.

New Guide to German Medtech Companies published

The seventh Guide to German Medtech Companies has been published. The publication covers the entire range and value chain of medical technology products and healthcare services in Germany. The annual guide is published by Medtech Zwo in cooperation with partners  BVMed, Medical Mountains, SPECTARIS, IVAM, Life Science Nord, Medical Valley EMN, Forum MedTech Pharma, microTEC Südwest e.V., and VDMA.

EUR 2.4 billion Innovative Health Initiative launched

A new EU health initiative – the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) – has been launched to put EUR 2.4 billion into funding health research and innovation. The EU public-private partnership is the successor program to the Innovative Medicines Initiatives (IMI) 1 and 2, which has been in place since 2008. The new brief sees the portfolio of activities extended beyond pharmaceuticals to include biotechnology, medical technology, diagnostics, and digital health. The IHI will roll out funding into collaborative health research projects between industry, academic and small and medium-sized enterprises from June of this year.

E-Health Monitor 2021: Germany a pioneer in digital app reimbursement

Germany is a global leader in the approval and reimbursement of digital health applications (DiGa) according to the latest “E-Health Monitor 2021” report published by McKinsey. According to the report authors, the country is a DiGa success story, with the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices approval procedure singled out as a global leader and international role model. There are currently 30 prescribable DiGAs available through the German healthcare system.

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