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The Future of Digital Health: Q&A with Capricorn Venture Partners’ Marc Lambrechts

As new technologies look to play an ever-increasing role in addressing health challenges and in supporting staff providing patient care, a panel of industry experts will come together at the LSX World Congress 2019 to discuss emerging technologies’ impact on the industry. The ‘Healthcare Evolution: Innovations Giving Medtech a Lasting Edge’ panel discussion, taking place on 6 February in London, will include: Marc Lambrechts, Senior Investment Manager at Capricorn Venture Partners; Angeli Möller, Head of IT Business Partnering Research at Bayer Business Services; Patrik Sobocki, Investment Manager at Industrifonden; Amina Albeyatti, Head of Business Development at MyClinic.com; and Victor Dillard, CEO at Desktop Genetics.

As the event approaches, panellist Marc Lambrechts (pictured) explains how Capricorn Venture Partners supports the development of companies in its digital health portfolio and highlights recently-achieved milestones. He also offers some initial insights on the ingredients required to build a sustainable digital health business model, why it is important to manage expectations, and how emerging technologies should be positioned for adoption.

Capricorn-3357 - MarcL 4Please could you outline Capricorn Venture Partners’ primary areas of focus?

Capricorn Venture Partners is an independent European manager of venture capital and equity funds, investing in innovative European companies with technology as a competitive advantage. I work for the fund that invests in digital health opportunities. We are preparing the successor fund that will continue to invest in the digital health space, including connected medtech.

What have been some of the key developments and achievements for the firm and its digital healthcare portfolio over the last 12 months?

We have experienced real interest of medtech and pharma companies in digital health. More specifically in real world data: a good example is the exit of our portfolio company Noona Healthcare to Varian.

We are also proud that Icometrix received FDA 510(k) clearance for the use of icobrain to aid in the diagnosis and patient follow-up for multiple sclerosis, dementia and traumatic brain injury.

Several of our portfolio companies achieved important milestones. FEops, one of our portfolio companies commercialising patient-specific simulations for structural heart interventions, reached high visibility with clinicians and traction with key valve manufacturers.

How do you believe emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and analytics, IoT, and blockchain will shape the medtech landscape and patient care over the next five years?

I am confident that these technologies will contribute substantially to the “improved care at lower cost” target of future health. For adoption however, we have to position the applications as tools to support medical staff, not to replace them.

As described in the recent article by Eric Topol in Nature Medicine1, AI and related tools are expected to lay the foundation for “high-performance medicine” or the convergence of human and artificial intelligence.

What do you see as venture capital specialists' role in fostering innovative medtech solutions and supporting the development of companies in the sector?

Our role is a sparring partner for the team on topics such as strategy, new hires, development roadmap, fund raising and exits.

In digital healthcare, one of the more difficult points is the business model where we put emphasis on recurrent revenue and monetising the value from actionable insights.

We make the team aware of new developments in the field and together learn from adjacent fields and prior success stories.

What are your expectations for medtech and healthtech investment, and particularly investment in companies utilising emerging technologies, over the year ahead?

It is important to manage expectations. I always encourage our entrepreneurs to follow an intelligent “underpromise-overdeliver” strategy. This, unfortunately, is not what media, tech gurus and researchers in these emerging technologies do.

To build a sustainable business you need more than a dataset and some machine learning-based stuff claiming to be x times better than a clinician. At a minimum, you need actionable insights, regulatory approvals with real-world clinical evidence and a suitable business model.

Scalability, security and privacy of data also need to be managed properly. Bluebee, one of our companies presenting at the LSX World Congress, has an interesting offering to support you in this in case you are active in the genomics space.

What would you like those attending your LSX World Congress panel to take away from the discussion?

Future health will be digital, powered by the convergence of human and artificial intelligence. 

The 5th annual LSX World Congress will take place in London on 5-6 February 2019. Find out more here. To join the conversation, follow #LSXWorld and @LSXLeaders.

 

1. High-performance medicine: the convergence of human and artificial intelligence, Eric J. Topol, Nature Medicine, Volume 25, pages 44–56 (2019), https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-018-0300-7

 

Feature image © Sergey Nivens– stock.adobe.com 

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