PharmStars announces today the launch of its global digital health accelerator to transform how pharma and startups do business. PharmStars is the first and only non-proprietary accelerator for digital health startups that wish to improve their ability to engage with pharma as clients and partners. For its pharma members, PharmStars offers premium access to a curated group of the most promising digital health startups that align with their digital health strategy. The first cohort of startups will begin the program on September 1.
How will it work?
Selected startups participate in PharmaU, a uniquely tailored curriculum focused on the business of pharma. At the end of the 10-week intensive program, startups will better understand how pharma companies work and think. The program culminates in a members-only Showcase Event where graduating startups pitch their digital solutions and meet with PharmStars’ pharma members.
PharmStars is helping to bridge the “pharma-startup gap,” a disconnect between pharma and startups which often arises from differences in culture, communication, and timing. Digital health has the potential to transform the pharmaceutical industry and patient experiences. Pharma continues to have high unmet needs for innovative “beyond the molecule” solutions. Startups offer an untapped wealth of these potential solutions. Yet digital health startups and pharma have historically found it challenging to create successful partnerships.
On the record
“Pharma companies and startups could and should be strong, symbiotic partners. But to do business together, they need to be on the same page around issues such as regulation, data management, and the value of digital health,” said Naomi Fried, founder and CEO of PharmStars. “For startups to successfully partner with pharma, they need to understand what drives pharma, what keeps them up at night, and how they can work together.”
There are also needs on the pharma side, says Laura Gunn, Managing Director of PharmStars. “Successful adoption of digital health requires a paradigm shift for pharma, both culturally and operationally. We understand these challenges, and PharmStars is designed to help bridge this gap.”
“Partnerships between pharma and startups are vital to driving digital health innovation,” added former head of Digital Medicine at Amgen, Dr. Yan Chow. “There is both tremendous opportunity and inherent challenge in integrating digital health into the traditional pharma model. PharmStars’ deliberate focus, well-developed curriculum, mentoring, and depth of expertise will catalyze successful engagement between pharma and startups.”
In recent years, investment in digital health has skyrocketed with over $6.7B flowing to U.S. startups in Q1 of 2021 alone. Despite a clear need, mutual interests, and available capital, there are few successful deals reported between pharma and digital health companies.