Bayer and NUS Enterprise, the entrepreneurial arm of the National University of Singapore (NUS), recently unveiled the inaugural “Grants4Apps Singapore”, a web-based crowdsourcing initiative that calls for innovative health tech solutions in Singapore and across Asia Pacific to improve medication adherence in elderly people with chronic diseases.
The challenge was launched at the Transforming Aging with Health Innovation Forum, officiated by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Health, Singapore, and attended by Yoriko Yasukawa, Regional Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Asia Pacific and other stakeholders including healthcare experts, policy makers, innovators, academia, corporations, NGOs and media from across Asia Pacific.
As the percentage of people aged 60 and above in Asia Pacific is set to double from 12% of the population in 2016 to 24% in 2050, so will the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes, and age-related eye diseases escalate significantly.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the yearly number of deaths from chronic diseases in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific will continue to be the highest globally, and are projected to increase to 13 million and 14 million respectively in 2030.
While long-term treatment is critical to the management of chronic diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that only 50% of patients adhere to long-term therapies. In the aging population, cognitive decline and polypharmacy (having to take four or more medications) usually lead to poor medication adherence. These result in decreased therapeutic benefits for the patient, frequent physician visits due to the deterioration of their medical condition, increased healthcare expenditure or even over-treatment of a medical condition.
The first challenge of “Grants4Apps Singapore” aims to improve health outcomes in this group of elderly patients by partnering with innovators to discover and design innovative health tech solutions to help them overcome the barriers of medication adherence.
“While innovative medicines can transform the outcomes for these patients, medications are only effective for people who take them. Barriers to medical adherence are complex and varied, influenced by the patient, healthcare provider and healthcare system. Bayer believes in supporting innovation across the value chain to help patients and society in tackling their healthcare challenges. We have partnered with the NUS for many years, and are excited to broaden our partnership from classical clinical research into open innovation platforms which foster entrepreneurship and engagement of the wider community to address this important public health issue in our aging societies,” said Claus Zieler, Senior Vice President & Head of Commercial Operations, Bayer Pharmaceuticals Division Asia / Pacific.
“Grants4Apps Singapore” is open to everyone in Singapore and across Asia Pacific, including healthcare professionals, caregivers, scientists, engineers, students, programmers, developers, start-ups and entrepreneurs. The challenge will select three winners who will each receive S$10,000 as financial support and access to mentorships from Bayer, NUS Enterprise and other industry partners, which will support them in advancing their project ideas and digital strategies for innovative technologies for doctors, patients, and consumers in the health sector. The winners will also be eligible for incubator support from NUS Enterprise; as well as access to the Modern Aging Singapore business accelerator program, organized by ACCESS Health international and NUS Enterprise.
Submissions to the “Grants4Apps Singapore” program close 14th February 2017. Up to five semi-finalist teams will be selected in early March 2017 for a final round of coaching and pitching, culminating in a Final Awards Ceremony in May 2017.
For more information on “Grants4Apps Singapore”, please visit www.grants4apps.com/Singapore.
“Grants4Apps Singapore” is an extension of the global Bayer Grants4Apps initiative, a web-based crowdsourcing initiative launched by Bayer in 2013 which grants financial support to developers, startups and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas for apps, hardware and software technology; contributing to improved health outcomes, pharmaceutical processes and better patient outcomes.
Winners of “Grants4Apps Singapore” may be admitted to the global “Grants4Apps” program and the “Grants4Apps Accelerator” and stand a chance to receive additional financial support, mentorships by Bayer managers and an international network of external entrepreneurs as well as co-working space at the global headquarters of Bayer Pharmaceuticals division in Berlin, Germany.