At the Swiss Medtech Day held at the Kursaal in Bern the EPFL spin-off Intento SA from Ecublens was presented with the CTI Swiss Medtech Award, endowed with prize money of CHF 15,000. This year the award went to the SME from western Switzerland and the EPFL for developing a user-friendly neuro-stimulations device, which helps with the therapy of stroke patients with individual movement patterns. The award was presented by President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann in front of an audience around 600 delegates. For the first time this year, Swiss Medtech Day was jointly organised by the CTI and the industry associations Medical Cluster and Fasmed.
President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann and Gábor Székely, CTI Commission member and head of CTI Medtech, presented Dr Andrea Maesani and Dr Andrea Biasiucci of Intento SA with the award in the form of a stone trophy and cheque for CHF 15,000. “All three of the projects nominated deserved to win the award. They demonstrate the enormous spirit of innovation in this country and how it benefits the medtech industry and Switzerland’s standing as a location for business”, said President Schneider-Ammann in his address in praise of the nominees. The winning project was selected by the 600 delegates from medtech research and industry during a live voting session at Swiss Medtech Day 2016.
Innovation for patients with brain injuries caused by strokes
Every year, 17 million people worldwide suffer strokes – a third are left severely paralysed. Rehabilitation therapies available today can offer only little help. A CTI-funded project carried out by the EPFL and its spin-off Intento is giving new hope to people with brain injuries. The user-friendly system they have developed consists of tablet software and a motion control device which is connected to an electrical stimulator. The therapist selects one of several programmed movements on the tablet and loads them wirelessly onto the motion-control device. The patient is connected to the stimulator via electrodes. Turning a dial on the device controls the electrical stimulation of the muscles and nerves – and thereby the degree of movement of the paralysed arm according to the programmed movement selected. Initial studies show how effective the system is: 80 per cent of patients showed a clinically relevant improvement after two weeks compared to only 30% undergoing conventional intensive therapy. Intento plans to launch two versions of the product – one for use in hospitals, followed by a second for simple use at home.
Hope for cancer and eye patients
Two other promising projects were also nominated for the CTI Swiss Medtech Award: a compact, wireless probe, which allows the precise and simple localisation of cancer cells in diagnosis and operations. This innovation developed by Forimtech SA, Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the EPFL opens up a new chapter in the fight against cancer. The third project nominated comes from Ziemer Ophthalmic Systems and the HuCE-optoLab at Bern University of Applied Sciences: they have developed an imaging procedure which allows surgeons to make precise incisions deep in the eye. This innovation makes a significant contribution to improving eye surgery, as the use of laser treatment was previously only possible in certain cases.
Successful Swiss Medtech Day with new organisers
The CTI has organised the annual CTI Medtech Event for the last ten years. In 2015 the industry associations Medical Cluster and held the Swiss Medtech Day for the first time. To underline the importance of medical technology, the three organisers decided to merge the two events in 2016, thereby creating the largest national platform for industry, commerce, research and start-ups from the medtech sector. The centrepiece of this year’s Swiss Medtech Day was a series of four ‘Breakout Sessions’. A large number of medtech experts talked with delegates on the subjects of market access, Workplace 2020, sustainable innovation culture and the current state of research. Promising ongoing research projects were also presented in a science slam and delegates were also able to find out the latest about medtech research and industry at an exhibition.
Last modification 08.06.2016