A word from SIFI, Corporate Partner of VITA Accelerator: Sharing the SIFI experience after 2 years of the acceleration program
We are excited to publish this blogpost on behalf of Francesco Guiliano, Senior Manager, Business Development and Alliance Management at SIFI who talks about key activities and learnings from SIFI’s partnership with VITA Accelerator. This text gives an insider look into the pharma company, and its open innovation and change management activities.
Intro & Summary
SIFI is dedicated to advancing eye care through innovation. We develop new therapeutic solutions like pharmaceuticals, medical devices (including IOLs), and food supplements exported to 40 countries.
With VITA, we are scouting startups at the forefront of digital health, exploring new technologies for DTx and PSPs to be deployed in ophthalmology. Our selection approach prioritizes visionary ideas, strong foundations, and solving big challenges. We empower these startups with resources, expertise, and support for growth and impact.
While our mentorship provides guidance across business, tech, strategy, and regulatory topics. Moreover, in October 2023 SIFI hosted the sessions of Sprint 5 of VITA Accelerator in our HQ in Catania, Sicily.
We appreciated the culture of innovation fostered by such engagements as we gained insights into digital health’s evolution and our potential impact. This expanded understanding charts our course as we develop cutting-edge eye care tech.
By participating in VITA, SIFI stays at the forefront of innovation. We are committed to advancing eye care through digital solutions, and the collaborations formed from VITA’s acceleration program give us the tools and perspectives to do so. Most importantly, we have access to the insights that help us identify where we can make a meaningful impact and where potential limitations may exist.
SIFI's Support for Deal Flow & Selection Activities
SIFI is deeply committed to identifying and nurturing startups in digital health. Within VITA we have been actively engaged in the scouting and selection activities for early-stage companies that exhibit exceptional potential in transforming the healthcare landscape, with a special focus on ophthalmology.
Our selection process is rigorous and focused on identifying startups with visionary ideas, strong technical foundations, and the ability to address significant challenges within the digital health sector. We prioritize innovation, scalability, and the potential to improve patient outcomes.
We believe that by fostering the growth of these emerging companies, we contribute to the evolution of healthcare solutions for the better.
Active Mentoring | POC Support | Guest team | Key learnings
SIFI doesn't stop at selecting promising startups; we roll up our sleeves and actively mentor them throughout their journey. Our mentorship extends across various aspects, from business development and technology guidance to market strategy and regulatory compliance. Our involvement and support have had a significant impact on the startups we have worked with as they benefit from our collective experience, resources, and industry insights.
Glakolens, one of VITA’s 23’ alumni, is an academic spin-off startup developing proprietary wearable medical sensor technologies. The first application the company is focusing on, the GlakoSense Platform, is a smart (sensor-embedded) contact lens system capable of 24-hour continuous monitoring of intraocular pressure (IOP) fluctuations for improving glaucoma management.
SIFI's mentorship of GlakoLens exemplifies our dedication to reinforcing the digital health ecosystem. In this collaboration, we've shared our expertise in ophthalmology and IOLs development and production. We've also offered insights on the crucial regulatory considerations necessary for market access, while tapping into our network of partners and focusing on public funding opportunities to secure essential support for their early-stage growth. Our goal has been to provide our knowledge, guidance, and connections to drive GlakoLens' success and enhance the impact of their technology.
We recognize the importance of helping startups validate their ideas and technologies. SIFI provides valuable POC support, enabling these entrepreneurs to take their concepts from the drawing board to practical application, preliminarily proving their worth in real-world scenarios.
Another 2023 alumni, Train, has successfully generated a statistically relevant synthetic dataset starting from a real clinical dataset provided by our team at SIFI.
Given the promise of this technology, SIFI and Train will further investigate its potential to transform healthcare, while also proactively addressing forthcoming regulatory requirements around the use of synthetic data in clinical settings.
POC - Guest Team
Thanks to VITA, we had a unique opportunity to engage with GlaucoT, an advanced-stage startup at the forefront of digital health solutions for eye care, specifically retinal neuroprotection. The talks with GlaucoT were facilitated by VITA, even though they were conducted outside of the formal acceleration program. This is a testament to the collaborative spirit and the network-building opportunities that organizations like VITA offer, enabling us to connect with promising innovators like GlaucoT to further our mission of advancing eye care through digital technologies. An LoI is in its final stages of negotiation by the parties to structure the collaboration going forward.
Sprint 5, hosted in SIFI’s HQ in Catania, clearly demonstrated to us that these engagements not only foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and networking, and ultimately a culture of innovation and creativity, but also offer a window into our vast potential and the growth opportunities that lie ahead.
Through events like these, we gain a better understanding of the rapidly evolving landscape of digital health and how it pertains to eye care. Most importantly, we gain the necessary insights to identify where we can make a meaningful impact and where potential limitations may exist.
We're committed to making a significant contribution to the advancement of eye care through digital technologies, and these engagements provide us with the tools and perspectives we need to do so effectively.
SIFI is an international group of companies focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of therapeutic solutions for patients with ophthalmic disorders. SIFI’s products include innovative pharmaceuticals, medical devices, including intraocular lenses, and food supplements that are exported to 40 countries worldwide. SIFI has capabilities to internally manage the full R&D value chain starting from ideation through to pre-clinical and clinical research. Thanks to its R&D capabilities and experience, Open Innovation is among the approaches that SIFI may leverage to introduce innovation in its product portfolio, fulfilling unmet needs in eye care.
DTx and PSPs
SIFI intends to explore new technologies related to DTx and PSPs. The Digital Innovation path embraced by SIFI has created a company-wide digital eco-system that has become the basis to symbiotically develop enhanced interconnected PSPs and DTx solutions under one umbrella. This may help expand patient access to treatment options, improve adherence, and enhance therapeutic outcomes, ultimately elevating patient's quality of life.