We’re so delighted to welcome ANDHealth on board as a supporting partner of INNOVATE HEALTH this year! Like us, this awesome team is committed to connecting the digital health ecosystem in Australia and promoting innovation across the industry.
This week, we spoke to ANDHealth’s powerhouse female founder & MD, Bronwyn Le Grice about ANDHealth’s purpose, her visions for innovation in the health industry and what it will take to create a cohesive and collaborative digital health industry.
Can you tell us a little of your personal story and how you came to set up the first (and only) female founded, female managed and majority female governed accelerator in Australia?
I’ve been in and around the life sciences and medical technology industry in Australia and New Zealand for almost 20 years, primarily in commercial roles. Since 2012, I have largely been working in and alongside venture capital firm BioScience Managers to identify promising health technology companies and raise significant capital for them. During my time at Adherium, it became clear that the Australia’s global competitive advantage in health and medical research would only be fully realised when we increased our understanding of the role of digital health technologies in the healthcare industry, and focused on supporting commercialisation and investment into digital health companies here in Australia.
I’ve always been an advocate for gender parity, diversity and the mentoring and support of young women in the industry, so for me, when I co-founded ANDHealth with James Dromey of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, it was a fantastic opportunity to bring together a group of amazing women (and men) to create something unique and valuable to the Australian community.
Tell us about ANDHealth – what is your purpose? What have been your achievements to date?
ANDHealth is a unique non-profit industry-led organisation focused on strengthening the Australia digital health ecosystem and de-risking innovations in digital health, with a focus on clinical evidence, commercialisation and investment readiness. We are very much focused on supporting promising mid-stage companies to address barriers to investment and international commercialisation, often in the form of clinical and/ or commercial validation in a way which is focused on lowering their future costs of capital and commercialisation. Our ANDHealth+ program is unique in that it is focused on industry and capability development, and we don’t require any equity or financial consideration for the support we provide.
So far, we’re in the process of putting 6 Australian companies through our ANDHealth+ program for mid-stage companies with the aim of helping them meet investor, partner and customer requirements around clinical and commercial validation. We are opening another round of applications for our 2018 cohort in April.
But I think one of our biggest achievements has been in bringing an industry-led commercialisation support initiative to market for the benefit for the entire industry, and building an extremely effective Board of Directors and management team around that program, in less than 12 months.
There’s a lot of noise about innovation in Australia’s healthcare system. What does true success with innovation across Australia’s health industry look like to you?
Success can be measured in many ways. As an investor and an Australian, I would like to see our promising companies supported and invested in here, in Australia. We have a fantastic opportunity to test and deploy cutting edge, evidence-based technologies and to become a global centre for innovation and implementation in digital health.
From a company standpoint, I think seeing our emerging companies succeed in penetrating major offshore markets, like the US, and having some true success stories we can point to, is critical to inspire the next generation of innovators.
Finally, at the population level, true success lies in Australia’s healthcare system leveraging evidence-based technologies to improve patient outcomes across our healthcare and health services systems. Healthier Australians, able to interact with a seamless healthcare system in which patients take the role of empowered healthcare consumers, has to be the ultimate definition of success.
ANDHealth is focused on building a collaborative digital health industry – what does it take to achieve this?
Our approach draws on industry leaders with proven track records in delivering products, penetrating international markets and raising significant capital in the local and international digital health communities to bring them together. Digital health is now becoming a sector in its own right, so a lot of what we aim to do is to bring together these people from across diverse and traditionally disparate segments of the healthcare system, in order to share knowledge and create a forum for information sharing and education. We are fortunate to be able to bring these industry leaders and champions around our cohort companies and also around ANDHealth’s own activities. We very much believe in bringing knowledge, innovation, networks and people together, and in improving collaboration, as a key driver for success for the industry, on a global scale.
What role does an event like INNOVATE HEALTH have to play in helping build a collaborative digital health industry?
Innovate Health is a great opportunity to bring multiple stakeholder groups together and see the challenges and successes in health as healthcare evolves. Its really important to consider the whole landscape, from technology development and regulation through to commercialization and implementation of digital health innovations into the hands of patients. We’re delighted to be a part of it.