ChallengEIT: Novartis

Open call for startups looking to disrupt the healthcare industry, with leading pharmaceutical company Novartis

The Organisers

What is ChallengEIT: Novartis?

Novartis, EIT Health InnoStars and EIT Hub Israel joined forces to support and test some of the most exciting solutions that can fundamentally change our healthcare systems in several different ways.

Selected start-ups will have the opportunity to test and grow their solutions with the support of global mentors compiled by Novartis, EIT Health InnoStars & EIT Hub Israel.

The Challenges

Following are the four most major challenges existing in today’s pharma world, assembled by the multinational pharmaceutical corporation Novartis. Become one of the few selected start-ups that manage to solve them!

Peer-to-Peer Medical Exchange

How might we improve Health Care Professionals (HCP) medical exchange and HCP education, that would enable physicians to easily communicate, share cases, consult, and exchange opinions leveraging knowledge & expertise?

Patient Journey Navigation

How can we support patients through their navigation of the complexity of their disease and treatment, ensuring they have accurate information about their conditions, rights & treatment, and to be able to manage their care effectively?

Predictive Treatment

HCPs want to better predict treatment response, given the uncertainty around which treatment to prescribe to which patient and when to prescribe. How do we risk assess the patients and match them with the right, personalized, treatment? How can we transform the wealth of data and link it to the predictive nature how the patient will respond?

Access to Healthcare

How might we improve the access to healthcare services for patients and/or people who seek healthcare support, at an EU & the Member States healthcare systems level? This is especially relevant in a time of crisis in Europe.


For start-ups in the pharmaceutical industry today, the big pharma companies are the one & only market.
Those selected will have the opportunity to work with one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, Novartis, and start their journey into the pharmaceutical industry.


Pilot, validate and possibly scale your solution across Novartis’ global market

Mentors & Experts

Tailored mentoring by top tier global experts based on your needs

Market Access

Join EIT’s largest health innovation ecosystem


Chosen start-ups’ pilot stage will be financed

EIT Network

Join the EIT global community alumni network


Any start-up that answers one or two of the challenges, and fits the following criteria:

  • Legally incorporated in one of the Horizon Europe or associated countries.
  • Own and/or are entitled to use the intellectual property (if applicable) that is the basis for the project.
  • Currently not in the process of implementing a pilot project targeting similar objectives.


The applications will be assessed by a joint committee of Novartis, EIT Health InnoStars & EIT Hub Israel based on three phases:

Phase #1: Fill out the online application form (submission deadline is 15 August 2022).

*A team of experts and partners will review your application on a rolling basis, which means that the earlier you apply the earlier we could review your submission and invite you for an online meeting to discuss further.

The initial application will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Patient and HCP impact, and the extend of answering the challenge
  • Scalability Potential
  • Feasibility and business promise of suggested solution
  • Market validation and past business traction
  • Technology maturity level
  • Motivation and expertise of the team
  • Preference for start-ups from the EIT Health RIS region

Phase #2: Eligible applicants will be invited to a short online qualification interview (up to 30 minutes). 

Phase #3: The ranking committee will choose between 4-6 start-ups, based on eligibility and excellence (August).


Mentors & Experts


Kristupas Saikus

Digital Lead - Eastern Europe Cluster
Kristupas Saikus@2x

Werchota Malcolm

Central Eastern Europe Head of Strategy & Operations Planning - Novartis
Artboard – 7@2x

Juan Jose Ventura

Senior Health and Research Projects Manager at European Cancer Patient Coalition - ECPC
Artboard – 6@2x

Anna Loughran

Oncology Poland Healthcare Digital Solutions Manager - Novartis
Artboard – 8

Bartek Madej

Oncology Data & Digital Global Partner - Novartis
Artboard – 9

Cinzia Gussoni

Head - InnoTech Strategy
Artboard – 10

Jake LaPorte

Global Head - Novartis Biome
Artboard – 11

Chrystalla Charalambous

Oncology General Manager Cyprus & Malta - Novartis

Mato Borja

Region Europe Customer Solutions Manager - Novartis
Artboard – 12

Guy Yavin

Investment Director at Doral Energy-Tech Ventures
Guy Yavin

EIT Health InnoStars

Timo Alalaakkola

Manager of Testing and Innovations - Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District / Oulu University Hospital
Timo Alalaakkola@2x

Prof. Tim McGloughlin

Emeritus Professor, Biomedical Engineering - University of Limerick
Prof Tim McGloughlin@2x

Max Mohammadi

Co-founder, CTO & Chairman - Hippogriff AB
Max Mohammadi@2x

Karolina Czarnecka-Chrebelska

Assistant Professor - Medical University of Lodz
Karolina Czarnecka-Chrebelska@2x

Dirk Groenewegen

Managing Director - Intellectual Property Development BV
Dirk Groenewegen@2x

Carlos Boto

Global Head of Operations - Envision Pharma Group
Carlos Boto@2x

Allen Mohammadi

Co-founder, CEO - Hippogriff AB
Allen Mohammadi@2x

Alexandra Bush

Managing Director - Oxantia, Global Innovation Consultancy
Alexandra Bush@2x

EIT Hub Israel

Tamar Kornitzer

Applied Behavioural Scientist, Founder & CEO - AURORA
Tamar - Photo@2x

Or Haviv

Partner & Head of Global Innovation - Arieli Capital
Artboard – 1@2x

Yoav Trenter Moser

Life Sciences & Healthcare Domain Manager - Deloitte Catalyst
Artboard – 3@2x

Lena Rogovin

Investment Principal - Maverick Ventures Israel
Artboard – 2@2x

Uri Fishelson

Director, Head of Technology Scouting - Deloitte Catalyst
Artboard – 4@2x

Uri Adoni

General Partner - Sanara Capital
Artboard – 5@2x


In addition to a potential market expansion with Novartis and top-tier customised mentorship, by participating in the ChallengEIT, you will have access to Europe’s largest health innovation network and beyond, thanks to the global outreach of EIT Hub Israel.

The programme has a wide array of mentors and experts available to support participating start-ups based on your needs, assembled by Novartis, EIT Health InnoStars & EIT Hub Israel.

The process will be structured in such a way that every participating start-up receives 1:1 tailored mentoring based on its needs, from several of our mentors in different sectors & subjects.

To be eligible for the programme, you must give consent to sharing some basic information about your application with organisers, EIT Hub Israel and EIT Health InnoStars do not request any rights. Participants may not have to disclose underlying detailed data and results when they commit to publishing, patenting, or protecting their results or demonstrating concrete exploitation, i.e., plan a specific use of the results for commercial purposes.

However, the winning teams can enter the negotiation phase with Novartis, which may constitute a step towards exploitation. Still, concrete exploitation will have to be materialized through a written commitment by the entity.

Phase #1: Fill out the online application form (submission deadline is 15 August 2022)

A team of experts and partners will review your application on a rolling basis, which means that the earlier you apply the earlier we could review your submission and invite you for an online meeting to discuss further. 

Phase #2: Eligible applicants will be invited to a short online qualification interview (up to 30 minutes). 

Phase #3: The ranking committee will choose between 4-6 start-ups, based on eligibility and excellence (August).

If your start-up is from one of the Horizon Europe and Associated countries, you are eligible and encouraged to apply. Additionally, you have to own and/or be entitled to use the intellectual property of your innovation, and not be in the process of implementing a similar pilot programme.

A startup from UK is eligible for applying to the programme as well as receiving all the programme’s benefits, nonetheless, we can’t commit to a PoC in the UK. Startups will be introduced to the UK BIOME, which is part of the wide BIOME network and will be considered by them for further engagement.

Every chosen start-up is considered to be part of EIT Alumni once the programme ends. As alumni, you gain first access to EIT opportunities, events, network, grants, etc. Overall, you become part of a peer community in your domain and others, in which shared knowledge and discussion is encouraged and mutually beneficial.

The selected startups will go into a boot camp and receive mentorship from Novartis & EIT experts. Between 2-3 starts-ups will complete the boot camp, and afterwards will be selected and matched with a specific use case, and lastly, into a pilot. Expected timelines are Q1/2023.

As Novartis is looking to explore solutions to be piloted within their ecosystems, we are looking for startups with a mature developed product which has a validated PoC and has been piloted at least in 1 country already.

ChallengEIT is an end-to-end programme, in purpose to scout and test technological solutions based on pre-defined business challenges utilising EIT’s global network and extensive innovation know-how. As part of the launch of the new Central Eastern European (CEE) & Israel BIOME, Novartis requested a challenge-based innovation programme to brand and attract start-ups, based on specific cluster challenges. Hence, the three bodies will work together in synchronization to find the requested start-ups, mentor them, and lead them to an eventual PoC.

Do you have any questions? Get in touch with us at 

Appliction for ChallengEIT is closed.
We’ll be in touch with our future opportunities.
Interested in participating in the next cohort?


Full access to the community network

Connect & Experience offers more than training. The C&E community network is an active EU online and offline community offering easy access to opportunities, curated content, matchmaking, soft landing services, and support. The community provides a space for community builders from Europe and Horizon Europe associated countries to interact, share best practices, and collaborate to enhance your startup community.

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*For the best experience, we highly recommend reading the report on your desktop and not your mobile.

Access to Healthcare

The Health not The Death is a fundamental human right. A healthy population is not to be seen as human and social capital, an input, or by-product, towards economic growth. Alongside a healthy and sustainable environment, a solidarity, a healthy population must be the ultimate goal especially nowadays in helping Ukrainian migrants with cancer and their families.

Solidarity in health is a cornerstone of EU health policy. There are wide disparities in many health outcomes across the region and those outcomes. The access rules dramatically affect healthcare systems which are at the forefront of the migrant way, the people who are searching for help and the way how we could enhance and support their healthier and wellbeing status.

In order to ensure their access to care and continued cure in need, the probability of receiving a timely diagnosis and of surviving differs greatly from country to country where they are now. There is lack of information, help and inequalities in access. People need help in navigating cancer knowledge, diagnostics, secondary monitoring and prevention, way of treatments, and care.

Shifting our mindset, supporting healthcare connectivity, removing inequalities overall across Europe is our mission and even more now in a time of crisis, helping the Ukrainian people dealing with cancer is a good place to begin this transformative revolution.

1) Whether we have a chance to foster more holistic and integrated approaches to receive information and care, by supporting coordination and maximising an enabling and health-enhancing effect of care across services from different countries?

2) Whether actions should address the social determinants of health, the countries where they are now, the health need which they have, the social and language barriers are the conditions which have to be taken into consideration in a coordinated manner?

How might we improve patients and /or people who seek healthcare support, access to healthcare services at an EU & the Member States Healthcare systems level? Especially in a time of crisis in Europe.

How might we support refugees fleeing from their countries by navigating them to medical centres to receive best available care?  


Predictive Treatment

Precision medicine aims to personalise care for every individual. Nongenomic and genomic determinants, combined with information from patient symptoms, clinical history, and lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, stress etc.), can facilitate personalised diagnosis and prognostics. Yet this goal requires access to massive amounts of data which may come from different structured and unstructured sources; these can be our medical records, laboratory testing, a range of medical devices as well as from the patient himself. AI & ML can combine input from these multiple sources, analyse them and identify biomarkers that can support health professionals make more informed decisions. The convergence of precision medicine with the advanced AI capabilities will improve the ability to personalise care – improve diagnosis, risk prediction as well as therapy planning.  

HCPs want to better predict treatment response, given uncertainty around which treatment to prescribe to which patient and when to prescribe. How do we risk assess the patients, match them with the right treatment (personalised). How can we transform the wealth of data and link it to the predictive nature of how the patient will respond?


Patient Journey Navigation

Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming and comes as a blow. Patients may feel on a roller coaster of emotions—they are scared, lost & confused not knowing what to expect, who to refer to, what to do and how to tell their loved ones.  They directly refer to “Dr. Google” to look for information about their disease, possible treatments, QoL strategies with the aim to have better understanding of their disease and learn how to better cope with their disease & treatment, yet information is not always valid, accessible, nor personalised or tailored to the patient’s status and needs therefore left with huge amounts of non-relevant information. Coming to the doctor, the physician’s time is limited and mostly focusing on the physical aspects of the disease & treatment, not leaving much time to ask questions nor discuss more holistic aspects of the disease such as emotional, psychological, social aspects. The patient (& caregiver in many cases) leaves the room with unanswered questions, doesn’t remember much of what has been said, and feels he is not heard, nor seen as a whole.

The need for navigating this journey along the emotional psychological stress is overwhelming & patients and their caregivers look for support (case manager/companion/partner) to help manage their disease holistically – starting from having clarity around their disease and treatment by having access to reliable and personalised information during their journey as well as having an integrated holistic care system , supporting them and their loved ones to navigate through the different aspects of their disease – medical, emotional, logistical, psychological, social, rights.

How can we support patients to navigate through the complexity of their disease and treatment ensuring they have validated holistic information about their disease journey & treatment and be empowered to  effectively manage their care 


Peer-to-Peer Medical Exchange

As medical events pivoted from conference centres and meeting rooms to the virtual settings, learning opportunities continue. Lectures and presentations are translated to the new digital world, yet the ability to connect and network is relatively lost. Peer interaction is essential not only for information exchange but to share practical insights, allows consultation & in-person experience cross country and across borders leading to better disease management.

This peer-based learning/ consultation is highly valued amongst practising clinicians and was generally achieved when HCPs and KOLs met their peers in national & Intl conferences, group debates, advisory boards and even during quick corridor conversations. Attempting to replicate these in-person experiences into the digital space creates challenges and are not effective nor impactful as face-to-face engagements. 

How might we improve HCP medical exchange enabling physicians to easily communicate, consult, exchange opinions leveraging individual experts & centres of excellence knowledge, experiences, and practices?

How can we leverage the technological expertise to allow HCPs to connect with leading experts across countries to get advice / counselling for their cases?


Application for 2022Calling2Scale is closed.
Interested in participating in the next cohort?