Digital/ICT, Healthcare & Biomedical
|Opportunities and Support||Opportunities to connect and collaborate with open innovation leaders in Singapore and the region|
|Application Start Date||1 November 2021|
|Application End Date||3 January 2022|
|Website||Click here to learn more|
Novartis wants to identify ways to accelerate the diagnosis of patients with non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) and facilitate clinical decision support. Axial spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a chronic inflammatory spinal disease and includes nr-axSpA and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Patients with AS have structural damage in the sacroiliac joints and/or the spine that is visible on X-rays. Patients with nr-axSpA do not have features of sacroiliitis that are visible on X-rays but have a disease burden comparable to that of patients with AS, including inflammatory back pain (IBP; predominantly in the pelvis and lower back), morning stiffness, nocturnal awakening, fatigue, and reduced spinal mobility.
The prevalence of nr-axSpA is reported to be ~0.1% – 0.4% in the general population, more prevalent in women, and ~16% – 37% in patients with IBP.
Early diagnosis of nr-axSpA is vital for symptom/disease management and to potentially limit spinal damage. However, diagnostic delays of nr-axSpA are common due to the non-radiographic nature of the disease and the need for a more expensive and less accessible (to patients) imaging modality – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Hence we are looking for an advanced technological solution that utilises conventional X-rays to predict sacroiliitis and negates the need for an MRI. Ultimately, this approach may facilitate earlier nr-axSpA diagnosis and treatment for patients.
Digital/ICT, Healthcare & Biomedical
The diagnosis of non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-AxSpA) is complicated and at times protracted, beginning with a clinician’s interpretation of X-rays and requiring an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) for confirmation.
Together with our partner in the rheumatology department of a major hospital, we want to identify ways to accelerate the diagnosis of patients with such conditions and facilitate and support clinical decision-making.
Technology that has the ability to predict nr-AxSpA from X-rays alone is one example, or as a precursor to that, able to draw highly accurate (sensitive/specific) correlations between X-rays and MRIs. These approaches are not exhaustive, and we are open to ideas from across the patient journey, be it awareness, screening, diagnosis, treatment or otherwise.
Conditions to Apply:
o Ideally, startups who have validated their solution in a clinical setting, whether for nr-AxSpA or related indications (eg. chronic disease).
o Otherwise, companies who have validated results from a proof-of-concept (POC) and/or pilot and who are seeking a partner with deep scientific and medical expertise.
o The startup will be a Singapore-based company with the ambition to scale either regionally (Asia-Pacific) or globally.
o Team members with prior pharmaceutical, medical and/or healthcare-related expertise are preferred but not a prerequisite.
o Novartis will provide a dedicated digital innovation lead to work with the startup to design and deliver a POC within a clinical setting.
o Selected mentors from Novartis and a leading Singapore hospital will provide medical and scientific guidance.
o A small, representative dataset (X-ray) is available for the purposes of a POC but is subject to the regulations and responsibilities required from our partnering clinician and hospital.
o POC funding is available for startups on a case-by-case basis, and as deemed necessary by Novartis.
o Novartis will provide an optional co-working space for the startup, which sits within the Biome Digital Innovation Lab in Mapletree Business City.
For more information and to submit your solution, please click here