Antwerp: breeding ground for health innovation

Antwerp acts as a living laboratory for innovative digital and technological applications, products and services. More and more high-tech projects are seeing the light of day in the healthcare sector, thanks to financial support from the city. Minze and Salvus are two perfect examples of innovative companies that were able to realise their health project with extra funding by the Antwerp’s city council. In this way, the vibrant ecosystem of Antwerp offers every opportunity for the development of new technologies in the field of e-health.

© copyright Frederik Beyens - Stad Antwerpen


The growing strength of e-health

Apps and sensors are increasingly monitoring our health from a distance. They detect our health parameters before the patient does and alert our specialists when necessary. Telemonitoring is here to stay, in all its facets: with apps, sensors, shared platforms between hospitals, doctors, specialists and patients. This reduces the pressure on hospitals and improves the follow-up of each patient.

Antwerp as a catalyst for health innovation

Antwerp has a vibrant innovative ecosystem: a true catalyst for companies with cutting-edge healthcare products. On its territory, Antwerp has 28 hospital campuses with a total of 5300 hospital beds, 2300 doctors and nurses. In addition, world-renowned research institutions such as the Institute of Tropical Medicine and the University of Antwerp are located here. Finally, the recent construction of the Vaccinopolis in Antwerp shows that we are conducting research into fighting pandemics at the highest level. The healthcare sector is certainly one of the most important innovation clusters in Antwerp. In 2021 the focus will shift to smart health (e-health) and infectious diseases. Today more than 50 Antwerp start-ups are active in health, which is an increase of more than 100% compared to 2015.

Financial support

Antwerp takes the lead in innovation and digitalisation and develops further as a smart city. Smart technology is making life more enjoyable for Antwerp's citizens, businesses, students and visitors. Earlier in 2021, the city therefore launched an open call for innovative projects, releasing EUR 500,000 in financial support. In this context, two e-health projects will receive a total of 142,000 euros: Minze and Salvus.

Minze – the Diary Pod 

Minze Health is a digital health company based in Antwerp that aims to become the world leader in urological, pelvic floor and incontinence care. For patients with urological problems and incontinence, it has already developed Homeflow, a system to collect uroflowmetry measurements at home. Minze Homeflow and its hospital brother, Hospiflow, are currently used on a daily basis in over 300 hospitals or practices in 10 different countries. However, capturing and processing bladder diaries (an important tool for measuring urinary disorders), is still done manually. This is time-consuming for both patient and clinician and is anything but reliable.

Thanks to extra financial support from the city government of Antwerp, Minze Health came up with a new development: an automated bladder diary called the Minze Diary Pod. The Minze Dairy Pod is a portable, single-patient-use medical device that is easy to take with you during the day. The Diary Pod connects via bluetooth to the Minze Flow App. All the collected data is automatically uploaded via the app to the Minze Clinician Portal, where the calculation is done automatically and the doctor is presented with the results in a clear overview.

Salvus – Diabetes Care 

Salvus Health is an Antwerp-based digital health startup that has developed and commercialised a smart health platform: Salvus Care. It allows patients to measure important medical parameters themselves at local pharmacies, such as blood pressure, electrocardiogram, oxygen saturation and more. Since its launch in 2020, over a thousand patients have used the platform to monitor their health condition, increasing their awareness and providing them with reliable results.

Salvus joined forces with an Antwerp pharmacy group to collaborate on an innovative project on diabetes prevention, thanks to extra funds by Antwerp’s city government. The startup is now developing a new digital tool called Diabetes Care, to raise awareness of (pre-)diabetes, detecting those at risk, and prompting lifestyle changes. The innovation is based on knowledge of the Diabetes League and experience of actors in the field, such as dieticians and pharmacists. Patients who are willing to change their lifestyle are guided towards healthier habits through a personalised, gamified programme with challenges, achievable goals and rewards, as well as educational content tailored to the user.

Minze - The Diary Pod
Minze - The Diary Pod

Are you working on innovations in e-health? Do you want to be part of the vibrant ecosystem of the Antwerp health sector? The city government of Antwerp supports your innovations and offers you every opportunity to develop to the fullest.

Contact us and discover all the possibilities.