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Top 10 innovative healthcare pioneers

The World Economic Forum has released its top Technology Pioneers. We take a look at the top 10 which made the list.

  1. Applied Brain Research Inc

An AI company in the field of neuromorphic artificial intelligence interactive development, Applied Brain Research has sought to utilise artificial neurons which compute like a brain. The process has guaranteed a reduction in power, as well as increased responsivity and precision.

It software tool, Nengo, has been used to create its 2.5mn neuron brain model, named Spaun. The model has been described as “smarter than monkeys when it comes to recognising syntactic patterns, structured patterns in the input, that monkeys won't recognise.”

  1. BenevolentAI

With a growing interest in the AI pharmaceutical sector, UK company BenevolentAI has recently been valued at over $2bn following its latest $115mn funding round.

Utilising AI as a way of discovering new medicines and treatments for complex diseases, such as Parkinson’s, its drug development portfolio has proven that it can cut drug discovery by up to four years and deliver increased efficiencies of 60% in the development process, compared to the averages displayed in the pharma industry.

For an industry that spends $180bn on research and development annually, its technology offers significant potential.

  1. Seismic

Integrating apparel with robotics, Seismic has developed ‘Powered Clothing’ to help users maintain their movement. Its flex drives house electric motors that act like additional muscles to support those with limited mobility.

Sensors also work to help track the movement to assist users and learn more about how it can provide further support.

With a global ageing population, Seismic encompasses wellness products, as well as medical and industrial applications, with the aim to support those to maintain independence, dignity and confidence.

  1. Soft Robotics

Soft Robotics strives to develop automation solutions and soft robotic gripping systems that can grasp and manipulate items.

Encompassing human hand-like dexterity, its technologies can be used in packing applications, and can support pharmaceutical manufacturing, handling small, defined objects with minimal impact.

  1. Vayyar

Winning a number of awards, Israeli based Vayyar has developed a sophisticated, low-cost imaging sensor, which will become invaluable in the medical sector.

Tracking all information in real-time, its sensor can monitor vital signs and identify obstacles. With the ability to penetrate through materials, such as plastic, it can be safety used in early stage breast cancer detection, providing a 3D scan of breast tissue that identifies tumours in under five seconds.

  1. 1928 Diagnostics

Gothenburg-based Swedish company 1928 Diagnostics works to fight antibiotic resistance through its automated platform to analyse the genetic code of bacteria.

By analysing raw data from whole genome sequencing (WGS) machines, the company matches the data to proprietary databases through the use of cloud web services.

Results surrounding the form of resistance and typing profile is delivered to clients are provided in minutes, providing exceptional support within antibiotic treatment for infected patients.

The results also include virulence factor detection and epidemiologic typing.

“The recent award encourages the 1928 Diagnostics team to work even harder to erase and/or bridge the gap between DNA technology and infection control, an effort that will ultimately save many lives,” said CEO Kristina Lagerstedt.

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“At the same time, we want to use this opportunity to leverage the importance of global collaboration to save the power of antibiotics and fight antibiotic resistant bacteria – one of the greatest threats against humanity.”

  1. Color Genomics

Featured in the February edition of Healthcare Global, Color Genomics is helping to solve one of the world's biggest healthcare problems: cancer, combining state-of-the-art technology and genetics.

Prevention and early detection could create huge savings for healthcare services around the world, as well as the clear benefits to people's lives.

"There is no incentive for people to not get genetic counselling," explained Othman Laraki, Co-founder and CEO of Color.

Color’s tests currently analyse 30 different genes associated with eight common types of hereditary cancer as well as cardiovascular risk. Patients order the testing kits online, provide a blood or saliva sample, and within a couple of weeks the results are emailed back to both them and their doctors.

After this, they can discuss the results with Color's genetic counsellors and move on to the next steps. With all the initial consultations done online, this is a low overhead process saving doctors valuable time.

The technology is extremely precise and is being used in clinical labs around the world, including the UK’s NHS. When a gene mutation is found it is sequenced for a second time to ensure accuracy. "We've literally never had one where the first one proved to be wrong," Laraki adds.

Color constantly updates its model when new genes are discovered, and when there is a medical consensus to confirm these can lead to serious health problems. Recently it launched Color Prime for people to keep up to date with these latest discoveries.

  1. Narrative Science (data)

Located in Chicago, Narrative Science has developed Quill, which helps businesses analyse and interpret data to provide actionable insights. Underpinned by Natural Language Generation (NLG), its narrative guarantees enhanced decision making, empowering employees and improving the customer experience.

  1. uBiome

Similar to Color Genomics, uBiome provides home-testing kits in its bid to support customers in the analysis of their microbiome and take greater control of their health.

Providing tests to look ways to manage gut conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease (through SmartGut), STIs and HPV (through its SmartJane test) and track diet and lifestyle choices (through Explorer), the wellness company utilises machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced statistical techniques, as well as precision sequencing. Customers can collect their sample in under two minutes, where results are able to be downloaded.

  1. Modern Meadow (animal free leather)

Harnessing biofabrication, Modern Meadow has developed the first bioleather materials made without animals, where waste has also been reduced by up to 80% in the process.

Optimising collagen production, the company has created a bioleather material, Zoa, which can be created into any form and combine seamlessly with any other material.

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