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Ferrer4FUTURE

CO-CREATIONLAB

An open innovation program that aims to empower entrepreneurs and digital health businesses to develop disruptive health solutions through the use of digital technologies.

What is ferrer 4 FUTURE Partnership Program?

We at Ferrer believe that digital health is about putting patient’s needs first and developing digital solutions across the patient care value chain (physicians, caregivers, payers, hospitals and so on) to address those needs in a manner that enhances the patient’s human experience. We also recognize that the knowledge and experience of pharma companies needs to be balanced with the creativity and agility of start-ups and small businesses.

Through ferrer 4 FUTURE program, we aim to create a platform for collaboration between start ups and us to explore digital health solutions together that can build healthier societies.

Who are we looking for?

  • You are passionate about disrupting the health industry using digital technologies.

  • You are addressing a real and verified need.

  • You are focused on Neurological Disorders and/or Vascular and Intersticial Lung Diseases

  • You are developing solutions for patients who are ill or suffering from illness related disabilities (i.e. not wellness).

GET READY!

DAYS
HOURS
MINUTES
SECONDS

CHALLENGE 2021

CHALLENGE_1

Screening of mild cognitive
impairment

Can digital technologies be used to support health professionals like general practitioners and neurologists in the screening of patients at risk of mild vascular cognitive impairment?

Challenges are not yet open

CHALLENGE_2

Cognitive and motor
rehabilitation of mild
cognitive impairment

Can digital technologies be used for the cognitive and motor rehabilitation of patients suffering of motor dysfunction or mild cognitive deficit in order to help the doctor have a more accurate follow-up of the patient's progress?

Challenges are not yet open

Challenge_1
x

Screening of mild cognitive impairment

Overview

Mild vascular cognitive impairment (MVCI) is mostly experimented by elderly people. It appears in the form of cognitive deficit especially in the domain of attention, processing speed, and frontal-executive function. The pathological origin of cognitive changes in elderly patients is difficult to distinguish from the aging factor1. So far, there is no consensus on where the borderline between disease and non-disease stands2. Accurate early detection of the population showing risk of MVCI is essential to redirect these patients the earliest possible to the specialist who will be able to implements the right interventions to prevent worsening of cognitive functions.

Challenge

We would be looking at a solution to support primary care health professionals and neurologists in the assessment of whether cognitive dysfunction in elderly people is due to MVCI or just age. Because it is cumbersome for health professionals to perform cognitive tests at every medical appointment, the ideal digital solution would periodically collect data on cognitive function and, after a certain period of time, the report would help the healthcare professional distinguish a normal evolution from a pathological one and redirect the patient to a specialist for appropriate treatment.

The digital solution might also fulfil the purpose of long term follow up to support the specialist healthcare professional in monitoring disease evolution and treatment adjustment.

1Petersen RC, Smith GE, Waring SC, Ivnik RJ, Tangalos EG, Kokmen E. Mild Cognitive Impairment: Clinical Characterization and Outcome. Arch Neurol. 1999;56(3):303–308. doi:10.1001/archneur.56.3.303

2Stephan BC, Matthews FE, McKeith IG, Bond J, Brayne C, Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Aging Study: Early cognitive change in the general population: How do different definitions work?. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007, 55: 1534-1540. 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01386.x.

Challenge_2
x

Cognitive and motor rehabilitation of mild cognitive impairment

Overview

The concept of mild vascular cognitive impairment (MVCI) refer to all forms of cognitive disorder associated with cerebrovascular disease, ranging from mild cognitive impairment of vascular origin to vascular dementia. The prevalence of MVCI is strongly age related 1. Patients experiencing vascular disease may rapidly show signs of motor deterioration such as loss of strength in the limbs2. In the long term, mild cognitive deficit can appear in at least one cognitive domain such as attention, memory, language, perception or executive function.

Experiencing cognitive and motor declines can be challenging for the patient and their relatives. Providing a personalized rehabilitation can help to maximise patients' independence in the daily tasks.

Challenge

We would be looking at a digital therapeutic that provides cognitive or motor rehabilitation for MVCI patients, to help all the stakeholders cope with this condition.

Ideally this solution would be a stand-alone solution that allows the health professional in charge of the rehabilitation process to easily follow the patient's cognitive or motor evolution outside of medical visits. To be accurate, this type of treatment requires long-term adherence, therefore the solution we are looking for should be easy to handle and adaptable to the clinical profile of each patient. Additional features can be also considered such as information on management of the disease (nutrition, prevention of risk factors, etc.) and health status assessment.

Cognitive rehabilitation:

Can we use digital technologies to help doctors assess the patient's cognitive progress in an easy manner? The ideal solution would benefit the patient’s rehabilitation compliance and would support the doctor’s in decision making.

Motor Rehabilitation:

The patient's motor rehabilitation must be triggered quickly so that the motor damage effects are less likely to be prolonged. Through a digital tool, can we give the doctor the possibility to offer the patients a rehabilitation that follows them outside the medical facilities and is used in between medical visits?

1 Mariani E, Monastero R, Mecocci P. Mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review. J Alzheimers Dis. 2007 Aug;12(1):23-35. doi: 10.3233/jad-2007-12104. PMID: 17851192.

2 P. A. Boyle, R. S. Wilson, A. S. Buchman, N. T. Aggarwal, Y. Tang, Z. Arvanitakis, J. Kelly & D. A. Bennett (2007) Lower Extremity Motor Function and Disability in Mild Cognitive Impairment, Experimental Aging Research, 33:3, 355-371, DOI: 10.1080/03610730701319210

Challenge_3
x

Reducing pain severity and managing drug dosage

Overview

Pain is a psychosomatic response dependent on an objective component (the strength of sensory signal sent to the brain) and a subjective component (a combination of cognitive, emotional and behavioural response) that affects how the pain is perceived and reported.1 As a result, not only patient’s response to pain medication is highly variable but patient’s self-reporting of pain may also be erratic and unreliable making it difficult for the doctor to decide on optimal drug dosage.2 This challenge aims at finding digital technologies for optimal dose-adjustment of pain medications, including opioid treatments, where there is a need to guarantee enough comfort to the patient while reducing the risk of adverse events.

Challenge

Can we improve pain management of patients, including those that rely on opioids, using digital technologies? Can we help doctor-patient relationship and communication by objectivizing reporting of pain? The solution should present a systematic and measurable approach to pain management involving all relevant stakeholders.

1. The first sub-challenge looks at how to predict, detect and reduce opioid misuse to prevent dosage escalation? The solution would involve monitoring the actual dose (i.e. surrogate marker for the concentration of drug in the patients’s body) vs. the actual need of the patient (i.e. captured through digital pain biomarkers). The goal being to ensure that the patient is not under-treated and, at the same time, is not bearing pain.

2. The second sub-challenge explores whether multi-modular treatments (i.e. digital support in combination with drug therapies) may be an alternative to dose escalation of anti-pain drugs in rehabilitation patients, athletes with intensive articular use or elderly population. The solution could involve connected Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) devices, etc.

1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3438523/

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24051610

 

Past Editions Challenge Winners

WINNER OF
2019

wellthy

Wellthy and Ferrer have co-developed a CE marked digital solution to support patients with a chronic complex clinical condition. The software medical device enhances patients’ autonomy in the management of the disease, provides structured training and gives access to health coaches. Currently, the solution is being tested in a clinical study to measure its impact on clinical outcomes and quality of life of patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.

Improve Care
for chronic patients

Deadline: 20/12/2019
Challenge Owner

Eloi Torcal
Corporate product manager
Claudia Roca
Corporate marketing manager

Overview

Patients who suffer from severe chronic illnesses are often reliant on care givers in order to their maintain quality of life. This loss of freedom coupled with an already stressed care system in many parts of the world leads to a challenging life for many patients.

For example, PAH (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) patients currently have a bleak outlook as the disease is progressive and without cure. Patients live an average of 7-10 year from diagnosis and gradually see their mobility decreased. Patients eventually have to rely on continuous infusion pump therapy1 and are completely reliant on their support network (i.e. family members, doctors, nurses and physicians).

Challenge

How can we improve care, for chronic patients such as those suffering from advanced PAH symptoms and reduce the burden on their support network using digital solutions?

  1. Can we better track and monitor patients through a digitally enhanced solution?
  2. Can we provide guidance and troubleshoot common issues for patients digitally?
  3. Can we complement the patient support network, which is primarily face to face, though digital means?
  4. Can we help patients cope with pain and emotional distress using digital technologies?
  5. Can we reduce frequent patient visits to care centres for medicine collection and related tests?
1 Continuous pump therapy involves patients receiving a continuous dosage of drug(on a 24/7 basis) through a subcutaneous or implantable pump. Please click on each type to see an example.

WINNER OF
2020

wellthy

Portabiles and Ferrer share an interest for neurological disorders that involve gait disturbances and are working together in improving the monitoring of gait to generate objective parameters that, in combination with the appropriate therapies, have the potential to enhance the quality of life for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Improve patient engagement and adherence


Deadline: 20/12/2019
Challenge Owner

Carme Trepat
Head of Marketing

Overview

Half of the patients suffering from silent chronic cardiovascular diseases (CVD) stop taking their medication within 3 months of being diagnosed.1 The silent CVDs include coronary artery diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and patients who are at an increased risk of heart attack and stoke (due to a previous event) and are now the leading cause of death.

In order for a person to take an action, three things need to happen first according to Dr. BJ Fogg (a psychologist and founder of Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab). First, the person needs to be motivated to perform the action. Second, the person needs to have the ability to perform that action. Finally, the person needs to have a trigger or a prompt which initiates the action2.

Most of the medical adherence solutions tend to focus on triggers through reminder applications etc. however the majority of non-adherence issues arise from lack of motivation or ability.

Challenge

How can we improve medication adherence using digital technologies for chronic patients suffering from silent CVDs so that they can live longer and healthier lives?

  1. Can we better motivate patients to adhere to medication?
  2. Can we increase the ability of patients to adhere to medication?
  3. Can we find novel and non intrusive ways to trigger people to take their medication?
1 Please refer to following article to learn more about medication adherence issues.
2Please refer to following article to learn more about BJ Fogg’s Behaviour Model.
Improve Care
for chronic patients

Deadline: 20/12/2019
Challenge Owner

Eloi Torcal
Corporate product manager
Claudia Roca
Corporate marketing manager

Overview

Patients who suffer from severe chronic illnesses are often reliant on care givers in order to their maintain quality of life. This loss of freedom coupled with an already stressed care system in many parts of the world leads to a challenging life for many patients.

For example, PAH (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) patients currently have a bleak outlook as the disease is progressive and without cure. Patients live an average of 7-10 year from diagnosis and gradually see their mobility decreased. Patients eventually have to rely on continuous infusion pump therapy1 and are completely reliant on their support network (i.e. family members, doctors, nurses and physicians).

Challenge

How can we improve care, for chronic patients such as those suffering from advanced PAH symptoms and reduce the burden on their support network using digital solutions?

  1. Can we better track and monitor patients through a digitally enhanced solution?
  2. Can we provide guidance and troubleshoot common issues for patients digitally?
  3. Can we complement the patient support network, which is primarily face to face, though digital means?
  4. Can we help patients cope with pain and emotional distress using digital technologies?
  5. Can we reduce frequent patient visits to care centres for medicine collection and related tests?
1 Continuous pump therapy involves patients receiving a continuous dosage of drug(on a 24/7 basis) through a subcutaneous or implantable pump. Please click on each type to see an example.
Improve patient engagement and adherence
Deadline: 20/12/2019
Challenge Owner

Carme Trepat
Head of Marketing

Overview

Half of the patients suffering from silent chronic cardiovascular diseases (CVD) stop taking their medication within 3 months of being diagnosed.1 The silent CVDs include coronary artery diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and patients who are at an increased risk of heart attack and stoke (due to a previous event) and are now the leading cause of death.

In order for a person to take an action, three things need to happen first according to Dr. BJ Fogg (a psychologist and founder of Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab). First, the person needs to be motivated to perform the action. Second, the person needs to have the ability to perform that action. Finally, the person needs to have a trigger or a prompt which initiates the action2.

Most of the medical adherence solutions tend to focus on triggers through reminder applications etc. however the majority of non-adherence issues arise from lack of motivation or ability.

Challenge

How can we improve medication adherence using digital technologies for chronic patients suffering from silent CVDs so that they can live longer and healthier lives?

  1. Can we better motivate patients to adhere to medication?
  2. Can we increase the ability of patients to adhere to medication?
  3. Can we find novel and non intrusive ways to trigger people to take their medication?
1 Please refer to following article to learn more about medication adherence issues.
2Please refer to following article to learn more about BJ Fogg’s Behaviour Model.
Manage chronic pain
Deadline: 20/12/2019
Challenge Owner

José Luís Lirio
Dir. U. Hospitals

Overview

Pain that a patient feels has two components: the objective component which is primarily the sensory response including the strength of signal sent to the brain and a subjective component which is a combination of cognitive, emotional and behavioural response that affects how the pain is perceived and reacted to. 1

The four responses (sensory, cognitive, emotional and behavioural) together create and modulate the intensity of pain felt by patients. Because pain is both physiological and psychological (i.e. psychophysiological) and hence personal to the individual, the current method of treatment which is somewhat generic and primarily focused on physiological aspects (i.e. sensory response) leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Challenge

How can we help patients suffering from chronic pain using digital solutions that enable them to have a better quality of life?

  1. Can we find a better and more objective way for patients to communicate the intensity of pain felt with doctors? Use cases: regular clinical practice, clinical trials, etc.
  2. Can we deliver targeted pain therapies digitally to patients leveraging one or more of the four responses above to reduce pain and dependence on drugs?
  3. Can we help patients, doctors and caregivers better track and monitor pain using digital technologies?
  4. Can we leverage digital technologies to build more connected pain therapy devices? Example: TENS 2
1 Please read this article by Eric L Garland to learn more about how pain is processed by us. 2 TENS is short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation which use s electric current (low intensity) through a small hand held device to treat neuropathic pain.

Benefits

 

Mentorship

We train you and mentor you and give you access to members of Start-up Advisory Board.

 

Partnership

We will partner with you on an ad-hoc basis to help develop your solution and accelerate your growth.

 

Access

We will serve as a reference for you and introduce you to stakeholders and leaders in the health industry.

 

Investment

We will provide funding to pilot the solution and reach a commercial agreement.

PROGRAM AT A GLANCE

SIGN-UP FOR A CHALLENGE

If you think you have a novel solution to one of our challenges, please apply by clicking on the "Apply" button below and choosing the specific challenge

16/06/2021

APPLICATION
OPENING

29/09/2021

APPLICATION
DEADLINE

Submit your proposed solution before 29th of September 2021 in no more than 10 slides.

JUL-SEP. 2021

INITIAL
PITCH

If shortlisted, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your solution in 5-10 minutes. The solution will be evaluated on 5 dimensions of Need, Competitive Advantage, Business Model, Team and Compatibility with Ferrer.

OCT-NOV. 2021

FINAL
PITCH

Successful Pitches will have the chance to present their solutions to Ferrer's Panel of Experts in a one-hour Final Pitch. The expert panel will evaluate the proposed solution on the five dimensions in a greater depth and explore how f4F program can be adapted to your needs.

BEGINNING
2022

PROGRAM
INITIATION

If a potential for collaboration is foreseen the Winner solution will be announced and will be formally invited to enrol in f4F program with Ad hoc content and duration (3-18 months).

EXPECTED OVERALL DURATION OF STEPS 1 THROUGH 4<4 MONTHS

Collaborate with us

If you have a solution that doesn’t quite fit one of our challenges but would like to collaborate with us, we’d love to hear from you. Please tell us about your proposal by clicking the Collaborate With Us button and we will engage in conversation to learn more.

Start-up Advisory Board

Highlights

Ferrer launches the third edition of the Ferrer 4 Future program to improve the health of society through technology

Barcelona, June 16st, 2021

Challenges

  1. How can we use digital technologies to detect patients with mild cognitive impairment at an early stage so that they can start treatment earlier and improve their quality of life?
  2. How can we use digital technologies to help patients suffering from neurological disorders improve their cognitive and motor functions?
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Come and meet us soon

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Contact Us

CONTROLLER Grupo Ferrer Internacional, S.A. with address at Av. Diagonal 549, 5th Floor, 08029, Barcelona (Spain).
PURPOSE Management, evaluation and monitoring of your communication, inquiries and / or comments.
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RIGHTS Access, rectification, deletion, opposition, limitation of processing, portability and presentation of a claim before a supervisory authority.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION You can consult the additional and detailed information on data protection in the following link.

FAQ

How to apply for a challenge?
Go to the Challenge page and click on the “Apply” button for each individual challenge that you wish to apply. In case that your solution does not quite solve any of the challenges but you would like to collaborate with us, we are curious to hear from you. Please click on the “Collaborate with us “ button and send us your message.
Who can apply for challenges?
We invite entrepreneurs and businesses from all stages to apply for challenges. However, as we look for concrete solutions, the start-ups we work with tend to have a working minimum viable product or prototype.
Can I apply to more than one challenge?
Yes, you may apply to as many challenges as you wish.
What is the criteria for selection?
We evaluate your solution on five key areas: does your solution address a verified need, is your solution unique or has a clear competitive edge over other solutions, is the business model suitable, sustainable and scalable, does the team have the right experience, motivation and capabilities, and finally, the degree of compatibility with Ferrer.
How can I learn more about Ferrer 4 Future program?
Click on Contact Us above and send us your query or meet us at one of the events such as 4YFN.
How many start-ups will be part of the program?
There is no fixed number of start-ups who will be part of the program. We will evaluate the solutions based on merit and whether there is an opportunity for collaboration.
What will happen to challenge winners?
Challenge winners will be invited to enroll into Ferrer for future partnership program.
Who will finance my trips and stays in X city or Y country?
We do not sponsor trips/ stays. As such, you will be responsible for your own expenses associated with challenges and pitches.
How to apply for collaboration outside of challenges?
Our active therapeutic areas of interests are Neurological Disorders and/or Vascular and Intersticial Lung Diseases.
Are you open for collaboration in areas other than Central Nervous System?
Yes, we are interested in collaborating in all therapeutic areas that are core to Ferrer like Neurological Disorders and/or Vascular and Intersticial Lung Diseases.
How long will the collaboration last?
The collaboration timeline depends on multiple factors such as your solution, pace of development, internal and external influences & hurdles. However, you consider that we are looking for long term collaboration partners to disrupt digital health.
Is Ferrer 4 Future a venture fund/ arm of Ferrer?
No, Ferrer 4 Future is not a venture fund. Ferrer 4 future is a collaboration platform between us and the start-ups. We are interested in solutions that we can collaborate on to disrupt or build capabilities in digital health instead of solely returns. However, funds for investment will be available on a case by case basis as required.
Whom can I contact if I have more questions?
Click on Contact Us above and send us your query.
What to do if I have an IT issue?
Click on Contact Us above and tell about the issue.