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In the last few years, the health-tech sector in Porto, Portugal, has experienced a considerable development. That’s due to a mix of entrepreneurial energy, effective public incentives, and the growing challenges in global health.

One of the drivers for the development of the health tech sector in Portugal’s second-largest city will be Digital Health Porto. It is a collaborative programme from the University of Porto for start-ups from Portugal and Europe, as a whole, that are involved in the development of tech solutions.

The programme is also for companies that are looking to refine their strategies, attract investments, and improve both their liquidity and revenue.

Rising Stars and Success Stories from the Local Ecosystem

There’s a growing number of local, health-tech rising stars. The two that have attained outstanding achievements are TONIC APP and BIAL.

TONIC APP is a start-up that aims to become the “Google for Practitioners”. The company develops solutions for diagnostics, treatment, communication, and other necessary tools for practitioners.

TONIC APP took part in the Digital Health Venture Forum 2019, and was chosen as one of the top 10 companies during the event. During the event, the start-up’s founder met with investors and VCs. The meeting with Vesalius Biocapital Partners, in particular, ended in a Series A investment in TONIC APP to the tune of €3,5M.

BIAL is a pharma company. It prides itself on introducing the first pharma product made in Portugal to international markets. Recently, opened a new BIAL branch in USA, named Bial Biotech Investments Inc, with the acquisition to USA company Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc of its Parkinson disease R&D rights.

How Does the University of Porto Help Local Entrepreneurs?

Local entrepreneurs in the health-tech sector benefit from the work of three main players from University of Porto:

U. Porto Innovation gathers and nurtures a community of almost 100 University of Porto spin-offs.

EIT Health Hub Porto is dedicated to the development of the local ecosystem in innovation in health. It helps students, researchers, and entrepreneurs to find the best way to develop their hard and soft skills and to successfully translate their ideas into the market.

UPTEC provides shared lab spaces and dedicated business development services to health tech start-ups. UPTEC established a joint venture with the University of Porto’s research centre i3S (Institute for Research and Innovation in Health) to support entrepreneurial projects on the certification process of medical devices, providing specialised equipment in laboratory spaces, as well as advanced services.

How Could a Tech Tour Programme Support the Digital Health Ecosystem?

“We have high expectations regarding the Digital Health Porto programme. In particular, we expect it to help the participating start-ups to become stronger and attract seed investments.”