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SIFI Challenge

SIFI Innovation Challenges: From Patient Education to DTx in Ophtalmology

TA: Ophtalmology, Eye Care

About SIFI

SIFI is an international company focused on the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of therapeutic solutions for patients with ophthalmic disorders, both on the pharmaceutical and surgical side.

SIFI’s products include innovative Rx pharmaceuticals, medical devices including intraocular lenses, and food supplements. SIFI's pipeline is focused on therapeutic areas presenting opportunities to deliver medical solutions addressing unmet needs in eye care.

SIFI exports to more than 40 countries with a mixed business model including direct presence, business partners and JVs in the different territories. SIFI’s HQ, Manufacturing and R&D facilities are based in in Catania, Italy.

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Innovation at SIFI

SIFI has embarked on a comprehensive digital transformation project with a vision to create new outstanding experiences in the relationships with their customers and be perceived as the most engaging organization in ophthalmology, strengthening business partnerships and increasing the company’s competitive advantage.

At SIFI, the team believes that innovation can only arise from collaboration among different stakeholders - institutional, academic, industrial partners, startups, healthcare professionals - who share the same goal: improving patients' lives. That is why the comapany invests heavily in research and development activities aimed at bringing new treatments to market faster.

The R&D team is deeply dedicated to leading the collaborative effort towards digital medicine innovation. SIFI is pioneering advancements across various areas, from seeking to developing AI-powered medical devices to creating cutting-edge pathology-specific digital twins. SIFI's focus on robust digital R&D initiatives is aimed at accelerating the development of solutions designed to prevent vision loss, personalize patient care, and ensure that innovative and effective eye care solutions are accessible to a wider population.

SIFI’s Current Interests & Context

SIFI seeks to partner with startups in pursuing advancements for common eye conditions like infections and inflammations, chronic diseases like dry eye, glaucoma, retinopathies, cataract, and orphan diseases. The team is especially keen to support digital solutions that, while providing new therapeutic approaches, can also be adopted by more people in easier, and more affordable ways - ultimately helping patients and progressing healthcare.

The company is especially keen to support digital solutions that, while providing new therapeutic approaches, can also be adopted by more people in easier, and more affordable ways - ultimately helping patients and progressing healthcare.

Emerging digital tools have the potential to transform the way eye health is managed, with a focus on personalized treatment and patient empowerment. SIFI's goal is to also explore new technology solutions that promise a more personal and practical approach to eye care.

In the years to come, SIFI anticipates a shift from treatment-focused approaches to a more preventive and proactive model of eye care.

Teaming up with those equally driven to innovate eye care could get SIFI to that future faster. The team's hope is that by backing the right ideas, they can positively impact the lives of patients fighting for their eyesight.

Open Call for Startups

SIFI identifies several challenges related to therapeutic areas of interest, which the company is interested to tackle together with innovative startups:

- Patient education & funneling to treatment services with branded companion apps & data collection, with special reference to chronic and orphan pathologies

- Solutions on the way to Digital Therapeutics (vision acuity, quality of vision, vision training approach, Lifestyle & Behavior/diet, …) and Digital Medicine

- Generative AI-powered Big Data Analytics for personalized diagnosis and treatment of chronic ophthalmic pathologies

- Generative AI-powered creation of synthetic data and digital twins in the area of dry eye, glaucoma, retinal degenerative pathologies and cataract surgery.

The solutions may be focused on any of the patient journey points (prevention, detection, treatment of pathologies).

Selection Criteria

Tier 1 - Developed device and/or software with or without MDR certification, and relative services. Initial market traction is preferred.

Tier 2 - Innovative ideas supported by one or more patents.

Tier 3 - Innovative ideas that may be patentable.

What’s in there for selected startups?

During the course of the acceleration program, SIFI plans to run an experimental PoC also involving SIFI’s network of KOLs and Research Institution, develop a functional prototype and launch of an MVP.

Once the acceleration program is completed, SIFI has a potential interest to enter a commercial agreement to further scale and commercialize the solution.




Note: the company’s detailed objectives and goals will be shared with short-listed startups only.


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.