Virtue, TestCard and ExSeed join Novartis & Wayra UK health tech accelerator

The nine-month programme is designed to help entrepreneurs addressing pressing health and care challenges scale their businesses.
By Leontina Postelnicu
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Novartis

Pharma giant Novartis and O2 innovation arm Wayra UK revealed last week that Virtue, TestCard and ExSeed would join its nine-month Health Hub accelerator programme.

“After a rigorous judging day, I believe the innovations these three startups offer will make a significant difference to patients and the NHS,” said Novartis Market Access Director Fiona Bride. “I look forward to supporting them over the course of the programme and wish them every success.”

London-based digital therapeutics startup Virtue made headlines last year with its LookBack digital therapy platform, which uses VR to help those affected by dementia. Other solutions include Nia, a personal physical therapy coach to help people with arthritis manage their condition; Hiro, a personalised programme for heart disease prevention; and Evo, which aims to help women experiencing menopause and perimenopause through CBT.

TestCard offers a non-invasive urine test kit embedded within a postcard, with an accompanying app that turns a mobile phone’s camera into a clinical grade scanner. In September last year, the startup announced that it had completed a £1.25m seed financing round led by Neo Ventures for the launch of its solution.

ExSeed Health has developed a device that can be used to test sperm quality at home and connects to a smartphone with an app providing analysis and results. It has been available in Denmark since January, and it will be launched in the UK in April this year.

“We are eager to work with Novartis to support clever entrepreneurs that will find the solutions that will help our loved ones and ourselves all live longer, healthier lives," said Wayra UK Director Gary Stewart.

During the nine-month programme, Novartis will provide the startups with access to its network and support with NHS engagement. Wayra UK will offer, among others, mentoring, business development support and help to raise funds.

Earlier this year, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock encouraged health tech startups to apply for the programme.

So far, Wayra UK has reportedly raised more than $180m through third-party investors for its startups, including lifestyle change programme Our Path and sleep app Pzizz.