Merck startup competition: Healthtech fosters innovation

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(Image credit: TechCrunch 中国)

Editor’s note: This article is produced in cooperation with Merck Holding (China). We believe in transparency in our publishing and monetization model. Read more here.

Jointly organized by TechNode and Merck Accelerator China, the Merck Stage – Healthtech, a health technology startup competition, concluded on Nov. 19, at Shenzhen Bay Inno Mall. Twelve finalists stood out from more than 100 projects from around the world, demonstrating their excellence in the global arena.

The finalists were required to pitch their projects in a short span of just 13 minutes. (Image credit: TechCrunch 中国)

Seven professionals from different fields came together to form the panel of judges that provided professional views for the participating teams. The panel included: Jerry Li, director of cross-sector innovation collaboration, Merck Innovation Hub; Mark Zhang, head of strategy & business operations China R&D, Merck Serono (Beijing) Pharmaceutical R&D; Guo Mingfei, head of diagnostics business in China, Merck Chemicals (Shanghai); Poon Hong Wa, manager of Merck Accelerator Germany, Merck KGaA; as well as three other external professionals. Taking the scoring criteria as the first consideration, the panelists engaged in deep discussion before selecting the winners.

The top three teams were: by Xujie Research & Development Team, Shenzhen Xingdong Biotech and Seein Health.

Xujie R&D came first with their product related to tumour immunotherapy precursor drug PD-LYSO and related patented technology. (Image credit: TechCrunch 中国)

Malignant neoplasms are among the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in China, and although PD-L1 drugs have made progress in the treatment of cancer, there are still some problems such as low efficiency and long-term use drug resistance.

As a result, the team refined and developed PD-L1, which can reduce both intracellular and extracellular PD-L1. This drug is expected to be a new class of tumour immunotherapy precursor with significant potential value in follow-up drug development and optimization.

(Image credit: TechCrunch 中国)

The first runner-up went to Shenzhen Xingdong Biotech, whose team developed an automated production system for immunotherapy cell drugs. Immune cell therapy has become the most advanced cancer treatment method after surgery, radiotherapy and drug chemotherapy. Therefore, Shenzhen Xingdong Biotech developed Sunscell bioreactor, which provides highly efficient production of immune cell drugs for biotech companies, clinical hospitals, research institutes and other customers.

(Image credit: TechCrunch 中国)

Seein Health came in as the second runner-up, whose team developed their own Seein Intelligent Monitoring. As a medical company that focuses on women’s health and wellbeing, Seein Health has developed this one-of-a-kind device for non-invasive female fertility hormone monitoring at household medical levels. It can monitor and promote the effect of ovulation-stimulating agent, manage patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, and accurately monitor females’ ovulation periods. On the other hand, it has a more supplemental approach towards men, and has supported in the research of products like proenhance.

In addition to being able to communicate directly with Merck China Accelerator, all the winning teams will have a better chance of getting into the accelerator program first, secure a three-month partnership with Merck, and access developmental support from the Merck China Accelerator.

As the highlight of TechCrunch Shenzhen 2018, Merck Stage – Healthtech brought a large number of outstanding health technology projects from China and abroad, and integrated advanced research in the fields of scientific and technological health such as artificial intelligence, big data, biosensors, liquid detection techniques and the Internet of Things.

This provides startups with a better platform to showcase themselves to the world, and promotes the health technology ecology in China to develop a more apt and mature system.

“The Chinese market accounts for more than 10 percent of Merck Group’s total business. When a country has double-digit businesses in a transnational corporation, it is definitely the engine of development and social strategic innovation. Not to mention the rapid growth of Chinese leapfrogging, it is also the fastest in the world. So Merck has invested heavily in the Chinese market, in terms of both capital and business value,” Li said.

(Image credit: TechCrunch 中国)

Merck Group, a pharmaceutical and chemical enterprise with a long history of more than 350 years, has been devoted to the exploration and development of products and services, contributing to the survival of human life. Merck China Accelerator, as an important innovation practice in the Chinese market, also provides a good opportunity to explore China’s innovation ecosystem, and find and create the value between Merck and startups.

Merck Stage – Healthtech was a highlight of TechCrunch Shenzhen 2018. Not only did it leave the health technology industry around the world in awe, it has also succeeded in attracting the attention of many viewers who have a strong interest in health technology.

Merck Stage – Healthtech will continue to build on its unique expertise in medicine, life sciences and performance materials, and provide a unique opportunity for local health technology startups and markets to lay a solid foundation for further development through close integration with the local market environment.