Member of the Top Team and experienced entrepreneur Hans Schikan was the host of the event. According to Schikan the buzz words of that day were “Let’s do this together!”. With this in mind a wide variety of speakers presented their personal story on collaboration and the steps they are taking towards realising a growing Dutch LSH sector and making a difference for the end user.

Plenary speakers included David Pappie, Director of Top Sectors and Innovation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Sander Klous of the University of Amsterdam and KMPG, Rudi Pauwels of Biocartis on precision medicine, Anne Fliermand of IMDI.NL, and Bas van der Baan of Agendia. They addressed many elements of the sector from international representation, big data, R&D, and precision medicine to funding.

Hans Schikan, member of the Top Team: “A great event with many opportunities to become acquainted with inspiring innovations while strengthening my life sciences' network at the same time."

Before the closing keynote presentation, two prize-awarding ceremonies were held. Anda Hazenburg of the UMC Groningen received the Upcoming Scientist prize for the best PhD poster presentation. Hazenburg investigated whether the initiation of Home Mechanical Ventilation (HMV) for patients with chronic respiratory failure is non-inferior to an in hospital based setting. Marco de Boer of Ntrans Technologies received the Axon Innovation for Health Award. NTrans Technologies was founded in 2015 as spin-off of the Hubrecht Institute. The start-up is working on new therapies for the treatment of genetic diseases and cancer. The company has developed a proprietary technology that enables intracellular delivery of proteins and oligonucleotides into patient cells.

Nico van Meeteren, executive director of Top Sector LSH: “Patients included, the guiding principle for the LSH sector and an important topic at Innovation for Health, was reflected in the “Upcoming Scientist Award 2017” won at the conference by Dr Anda Hazenberg for the close involvement of patients in her excellent Home Mechanical Ventilation project. She will definitely be back at next year's conference to demonstrate the progress of this project.”

Watch the two minute impression of the fourth edition of Innovation for Health down below.

Patients and innovators together at Health Valley Event 2017

Innovation and technology development driven by the patient

The event was led by the refreshing chairmen MiER who introduced prominent speakers on stage. Speakers such as Jan Kimpen (chief medical officer at Philips) and Dianda Veldman (director of the Dutch Patient Federation) gave their views on technological innovation, the central role of the patients and new forms of collaboration in healthcare. According to Dianda Veldman: “Patients want to use digital healthcare, only it needs to be easily accessible and comprehensible.” Prince Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau (ambassador of Startup Delta) continued the programme with guests Rob Hoogma (Siza), Mark van Houdenhoven (Sint Maartens clinic), and Leon van Halder (Radboudumc) on the potential of startup companies.

This year the Health Valley Event was once again a multifaceted programme with several parallel sessions on various themes, an investor lounge, Pecha Kuchas and plenty of opportunity for networking. The day ended with Kris Verburgh (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Anne-Miek Vroom (IKONE Foundation) about the technology of the future and its contribution to people’s lives. Vroom also interviewed René Penning de Vries (Health~Valley), Michiel Scheffer (Executive Councillor Province of Gelderland), and Hans Schikan (Top Sector LSH) on the opportunities to develop technology on patient centered manner.  As a patient Anne-Miek Vroom contributed: “I am convinced that 50% of my hospital care could have been avoided through connectivity and selfcare.”

Finally Umenz was announced as the winner of the coveted National Care Innovation Award 2017 and they received 15,000 euros to invest in the further development of their product.  The Umenz app connects care consumers with all of their caregivers and provides survey, support, guidance, identification, registration and consultation with all of their treatments. The application has access to a large library of medical animations and instructional videos for informing, coaching and guiding patients. By using the app the patient is constantly in contact with the caregiver. It was a great success story to end the day with.

Watch the video of the Health Valley Event 2017 down below.

Grand final of the HHINT International Starters programme

During the ‘Grand Finale’ closing meeting on Thursday 16 March, the participants praised the informative, structuring and guiding elements of the programme. Without the programme, it would have taken them far longer to find relevant market insights and connections to the right people and networks in the target countries. In particular, gratitude was expressed to the Dutch Embassies, Consulates and NBSOs for their support. All HHINT participants made significant progress in structuring and preparing the organisation for international business, finding new contacts, consortia partners, business leads and - most importantly - sales and contracts in, for example, China, Denmark, Germany, United States, and Turkey as well as in less obvious markets for international starters like Australia, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Thailand.

The TFHC will continue to support and accelerate the international market entry of Dutch start-ups and entrepreneurs so as to further increase the innovation output of the Dutch Life Sciences & Health sector. If you are interested to participate, please contact us through

Inspiring Limburg visit to three companies and the MUMC+

It started off with Vivantes, a care provider that offers residential care centres focused on the well-being of seniors in the municipalities of Sittard-Geleen, Stein and Beek. In addition to care in the various complexes they also offer home care in assisted living facilities and in the community. Together with other private and public partners, they have developed a care innovation atelier. Thanks to this atelier, a variety of smart and innovative technologies have been developed that reduce the number of care personnel needed and increases the quality of care. For example, care personnel have access to 24/7 camera-monitoring and movement detection systems that replace the need for night rounds. During the visit to Vivantes all these kinds of innovative care solutions in the accommodation for the elderly were presented.

Next we visited the biotech companies Scannexus and Cristal Therapeutics. First we went to Scannexus, which is an European Centre of Excellence in Ultra-High-Field MRI. With their newly constructed facility Scannexus houses three Ultra-High-Field MRI scanners of 9.4, 7, and 3 Tesla which are intertwined in functions for clinical applications. Next we went to Cristal Therapeutics, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing the next generation of nanomedicines based on its proprietary CriPec platform to treat various diseases, including cancer. CriPec is perfectly suited for the development of highly customizable (targeted) nanomedicines with superior efficacy and safety profiles.

The Limburg visit ended with a meeting at the Maastricht University Medical Center+ (MUMC+). The MUMC+ is known both nationally and internationally for its focus on prevention and taking an integrated approach to healthcare: from prevention, promotion of good health and basic care, to top-level clinical diagnostics and treatment. Professors Paul Savelkoul, Pieter van Paassen and Vivianne Tjan-Heijnen shed some light on the respectively microbiology, immunology, and oncology developments in the region. According to Professor Savelkoul more attention is needed in the field of reimbursement of diagnostics and the prevention of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In addition, the pressure of AMR is increasingly rising in the region due to the aging population. Therefore, the MUMC+ places patient safety and interpersonal conduct as a top priority in all of their endeavours. Being surrounded by international medical centres in both Belgium and Germany the MUMC+ has a unique location. Finally, the professors want to draw attention to a regional commitment of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, more understanding of the position of rare diseases, and the limited budgets in healthcare costs.