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Frontiers Health ‘23 Speaker highlights from VITA Accelerator: Suggestions for startups.

VITA Accelerator is proud to be a Strategic and Ecosystem Partner of the upcoming Frontiers Health 2023 Global Conference, taking place in Rome and online on November 8-10th. Frontiers is a premier international event, gathering the brightest health innovation players, thought leaders and digital health pioneers. If you are joining Frontiers this year, you will be able to network with industry visionaries, promote your company and attend sessions on various health innovation topics – including VITA's 2023 Program Demo Day on Nov 9th!

Frontiers Health is a big event, hosting more than 1300 innovators from all over the world together with many hours of rich content, which may leave your startup wondering what to focus on. At VITA, we have prepared a selection of speakers whom, for us, any digital health or biotech startup should hear from on stage or connect with during the networking breaks as part of their Frontiers Health experience.

We hope this highlight will be useful for the startups from our community and will help them discover the world of Frontiers!

Who: Alison Darcy, Founder & President at Woebot Health Alison Darcy

Areas of interest: mental health, CBT, AI, NLP

Why connect:

  • Learn about the work of intervention scientists from a clinical research psychologist.
  • Understand how humans can build bonds with robots
  • Converse on the future of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the digital setting

Alison’s work in exploring digital treatments began more than 20 years ago, when she created one of the first online support groups for people with eating disorders which at first caused a lot of skepticism about the possibility that it could indeed help patients.

Later, during her post-doc at Stanford School of Medicine, Alison worked with the AI pioneer and visionary Andrew Ng, focusing on NLP and leading Andrew’s health innovation lab.

In 2016, she started working on Woebot which led to the founding of the company in 2017 with Andrew Ng chairing the board. Woebot is a CBT-based digital mental health solution, delivered through an online chat with a robot. The company’s proprietary conversational interface and natural language processing capabilities can help people “talk” their way through self-guided therapy, improve engagement and satisfaction, and allow health systems and plans to augment the current care pathway.

Woebot fields one to two million messages each week, from people in 130 countries - more than a therapist could do in a lifetime. Recently, Woebot Health was selected as the winner of the “Best Overall Mental Health Solution” award in the 7th annual MedTech Breakthrough Awards program.

Who: Alex Zhavoronkov, Founder & CEO at Insilico MedicineAlex Zhavoronkov

Areas of interest: AI-powered drug discovery, biotechnology, clinical  development, R&D

Why connect:

With the help of an autonomous robotics laboratory in China, Alex’s Insilico Medicine is using end-to-end AI-based drug discovery and development pipeline to efficiently make new medicines. Under Alex’s leadership Insilico raised over $400 million in multiple rounds from expert investors, opened R&D centers in six countries or regions, and partnered with multiple pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic institutions. Additionally, the company has nominated 8 preclinical candidates.

Insilico created the drug as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease. The discovery process for the new drug began in 2020.

Insilico’s AI platforms could potentially halve the time required to discover new drugs and slash the cost of bringing medicines to market — estimated at $2.3bn on average per therapy. Sanofi, Fosun and Johnson & Johnson are the several pharma companies that have signed partnership deals to access Insilico’s technology.

Insilico’s AI could save two to four years in pre-clinical discovery depending on the novelty and complexity of the target.

Alex believes that the future is much better than we think and also much faster. He believes that in 20 years we are likely to see AI systems going after personalized drug discovery where drugs will be tailored towards a specific individual.

Who: Pierre Leurent, President at Aptar Digital Health Pierre Leurent

Areas of interest: Digital Therapeutics (DTx), M&A, exits in pharma

Why connect:

  • Understand how Aptar became the first company from the DTx sector to complete an IPO on a leading international stock exchange (Voluntis raised €30.1M on the regulated market of Euronext in Paris in 2018).
  • Find out how to exit with a valuation of approximately $79 million
  • Learn about the details of integration process between a startup and pharma

Pierre Leurent was CEO and co-founder of Voluntis, a French digital therapeutics development company, optimizing existing therapies with DTx products, which was acquired by Aptar Pharma in 2021. At Frontiers Health 2021 Pierre, together with Sai Shankar, VP Global Digital Healthcare Systems at Aptar, shared insights on the integration process of the two companies and their approach towards creating an integrated offering.

Two approved DTx products of Voluntis were Insulia, designed for use by people with type 2 diabetes to help them titrate to the correct dose of insulin and Oleena, an app to help cancer patients manage their symptoms, as well as allow care teams to manage patients remotely.

Aptar Pharma's main business is in drug delivery devices which has a broader ambition in digital health – developing a platform that hosts medical devices and digital health products alongside the services that complement and enhance them.

The acquisition of Voluntis, has significantly advanced this vision. With the integration of the DTx platform called Theraxium, driven by proprietary algorithms, Aptar can now create new mobile and cloud-based applications for just about any chronic condition. Currently the platform is branded as Aptar Digital Health and is used by care teams to tap into real-time remote data monitoring to track a person's adherence to therapy and gather patient-recorded outcome (PRO) data. Harnessing its proprietary technology, Aptar Digital Health has developed digital solutions for diabetes, respiratory diseases, cancer, anticoagulation and hemophilia.

Pierre is also founding Director of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, where he served as Chairman, and an here  and stay tuned for even more exciting announcements!

Will you join us and other health innovators? Use our promo code FH23TIV20 for 20% off your tickets. Register here!

VITA Frontiers Health 2023



The Vita Accelerator is a novel startup acceleration program launched by CDP together with Healthware and Accelerace that aims to support a new generation of digital health startups.