Bayer's Grants4Apps: An accelerator run by a pharma company

By Jonah Comstock
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PharmAssistantBayer HealthCare, a German pharmaceutical company, has underscored pharma's growing interest in mobile health by starting a new health accelerator. Grants4Apps, which started last year as a crowdsourcing initiative, was releaunched as an accelerator at an event earlier this week.

The commitment on Bayer's part is pretty significant: they'll be offering 50,000 euro (about $65,000) to each of the five startups, and taking less than 10 percent equity in the companies, according to a report from VentureBeat. The accelerator will last three and a half months and companies will also get free office space at Bayer headquarters in Berlin and biweekly meetings with healthcare mentors. The program will end on December 1 with a demo day.

This isn't Bayer's first interaction with the healthcare accelerator scene. Bayer was a European partner for Healthbox London last year.

These are the five companies, selected from more than 70 applicants, that Bayer announced on Monday:

Cortrium is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based company working on wearable health sensors for clinical use. The startup's Bluetooth-equipped device, called the C3, can measure ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, skin surface temperature, heart rate recovery, sleep analysis, heart rate variability, physical activity level, body position and motion. The data can be viewed on an iPad application, which can also allow multiple patients' vitals to be viewed on a single doctor's screen.

Lisbon, Portugal-based PharmAssistant is working on a smart pill bottle with a connected app, similar to US companies Vitality GlowCaps or AdhereTech. PharmAssistant features a light-up bottle, an alert that tells the patient to take their medication, and a remote monitoring system for friends and relatives. The app will also track medication interactions, and is available on both Android and Apple devices.

FabUlyzer is a wearable activity tracker with a twist -- an additional sensor, that the user breathes into, will supposedly tell them how much fat was burned during a workout. Data is stored in the cloud and is viewable via the web or connected apps.

Early stage team Parica is working on non-contact vital signs monitoring systems for home use. These sensors would automatically alert specialists if warning signs are detected.

Qompium is a Berlin-based company working on medical apps. The startup's first app, CardiMoni, aims to detect irregular heart rhythms using the smartphone's camera. The app is currently available as a beta version on the Google Play store only.

"Qompium’s vision is to redefine mobile health by placing a doctor in your pocket," the Google Play description says, after reiterating that the current version is just to collect data to refine its algorithm. "CardiMoni is our first app with the objective to detect heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation. Then, by leveraging the smartphone’s connectivity we aim to directly connect the doctor to you if a heart problem is detected. Hereby improving your quality of life through faster diagnosis, faster treatment, and faster communication."