Startups gather their forces to fight against COVID-19
BIOStartup CoronaSprint Project, which is supported under the Istanbul Development Agency’s “Fight against COVID-19 and Resilience Program”, started on 8 June to be completed in two months. BIOStartup CoronaSprint is being carried out in project partnership by AIFD and Health Institutes of Turkey (TUSEB).
BIO Startup Program graduates will step in to support the fight against COVID-19 through CoronaSprint project. CoronaSprint will speed up solutions for the needs in the field concerning COVID-19 related problems such as in pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical devices, diagnosis and digital health technologies.
AIFD Secretary General Dr. Ümit Dereli had this to say about the project: “We are excited and happy about bringing startups together in Turkey under the umbrella of BIOStartup CoronaSprint to address COVID-19 related problems at a time when global pharma R&D process in the world has been increasingly realized through startups. The experience and competence gained over the last 5 years with the BIOStartup Program enabled us to design a special project for urgent and new needs and act agile in a time of global crisis. In other words, innovation capacity does not appear suddenly; it takes long-term thinking, investing continuously and patiently and gaining experience over the years. We collect the fruits of our devoted efforts in the past years in this crisis environment. We believe that the ownership of the project by the relevant actors in the health ecosystem is very important in terms of supporting the innovation culture.”
Stating that the Sprint methodology is a method of producing rapid innovation developed by Google Ventures (GV), AIFD Investment Policies Director Cengiz Aydın had this to say: “Although the Sprint methodology may change from time to time, it brings together teams developing innovative ideas in six stages. These stages include, understanding, defining, sketching, deciding, prototyping and validating. With all these stages, the Sprint methodology accelerates long-time processes such as problem detection, producing solution alternatives, discussion, planning, design, prototyping, pilot production, testing, and reaching end users. We collect the fruits of our devoted efforts in the past years in this crisis environment. We believe that the ownership of the project by the relevant actors in the health ecosystem is very important in terms of supporting the innovation culture. Considering the complexity of a global problem such as COVID-19 and the pandemic environment for a longer period of time, we think that effective solutions in many different problem areas can only be developed by bringing together stakeholders such as the pharmaceutical industry, academia, startups and regulatory agencies. BIOStartup CoronaSprint applies a participatory model both in identifying and resolving problem areas and plays an accelerating role in realizing the wide-ranging collaborations needed in this area.”
BIOStartup CoronaSprint will last for two months and have four basic stages:
Stage 1: Participation to BIO Digital
Stage 2: Need analysis workshops
Stage 3: Creating solution roadmaps with the sprint process of the relevant teams for the prioritized needs
Stage 4: Assessment of the match between the sprint outputs the fields on the ground as well as reviewing and planning of the next stages
As part of the first phase of the BIOStartup CoronaSprint, five startups from the BIO Startup Program alumni participated in BIO Digital, the world’s largest biotechnology organization, which took place on 8-12 June and brought together top-level participants from 64 countries. Here they had the chance to present their projects for COVID-19 to global actors. Startups, who participated into BIO Digital offering an important opportunity to follow scientific and technological developments in biotechnology, to contact with different actors of the global biotechnology ecosystem, and to make one-on-one meetings, also took part in the sessions on COVID-19 and shared their experiences with other startups enrolled in CoronaSprint program.