“The technologies driving medtech innovation in 2024 are reshaping the landscape of the healthcare sector. European companies and research institutions are actively engaged in developing solutions to advance our understanding and response to genetics, widespread diseases, and public health emergencies.
As we look ahead to 2024, the momentum of technological progress in medtech is set to continue, with specific emphasis on key areas.
Artificial Intelligence in TECH
(AI) is at the forefront, playing a pivotal role in predicting genetic diseases, enhancing cancer treatments, and fortifying the development of variant-proof vaccines. The transformative impact of AI on healthcare challenges is already evident.
Dr. Diana Rottger, Principal at APEX Ventures, anticipates significant strides in techbio, particularly in the realm of generative AI for drug discovery. She foresees an increase in the number of companies in this sector advancing into clinical development phases, employing both in silico and in vivo approaches.
Moreover, the trend towards improved diagnostics is expected to persist, driven by the capabilities of large language models (LLMs). According to Dag Larsson, CEO and founder of Doccla, an innovative healthtech startup, AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of medical data, including patient records, genetic information, and imaging results. This enables the identification of subtle patterns and correlations that might be elusive with smaller datasets, facilitating early disease detection and providing more accurate predictions, particularly in diverse patient populations.
Another significant trend is the alleviation of pressure on the healthcare system, as noted by Julia Hawkings, General Partner at VC firm LocalGlobe. While GenAI holds potential for enhancing medical research, aiding drug discovery, and diagnosing diseases, its immediate impact is expected in streamlining less visible tasks. This includes the automation of administrative processes, providing learning support for clinicians, automating insurance and provider workflows, and facilitating communication around early disease detection.”
The Quantum Leap in Healthcare TECH
Although the full-scale quantum revolution may be a few years away, industries and states are eagerly embracing what could be a transformative technology. In the realm of healthcare, quantum computing is poised to achieve a global market size of $1 billion (€0.9 billion) by 2030, emphasizing its growing significance in shaping the future of the medical sector.
The potential impact of quantum computing on healthcare is staggering, thanks to its capability to process trillions of units of information simultaneously, making it exponentially faster than traditional computers.
Ilana Wisby, CEO of UK-based Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC), highlights various quantum technologies that could revolutionize the medtech arena. Quantum simulation, powered by high-quality qubits in quantum computers, allows the modeling of molecules and simulation of chemistry. According to Wisby, quantum simulation could profoundly impact drug discovery and address currently incurable diseases.
“Quantum computers can theoretically simulate the entire drug development problem by modeling chemistry and molecules with unprecedented precision,” she explains. This capability enables pharmaceutical companies to simulate larger, more complex molecules during the development of new drugs—how they interact and react—something classical computers cannot achieve. This breakthrough can result in significant savings in research and development costs, as well as a reduced time to bring new drugs to market.
Another promising aspect is the potential of quantum machine learning, which can provide faster and more accurate identification, classification, data compression, and image classification. This advancement has the potential to enhance diagnostic tools and facilitate the creation of predictive models for diseases.”
Advancements in Virtual Care, Remote Monitoring, and VR
In 2024, we anticipate a continued surge in the utilization and refinement of remote treatment options, designed to better address the clinical needs of a broader patient base while alleviating the strain on hospital capacity and staff, according to Dr. Owain Rhys Hughes, the founder and CEO of Cinapsis, a London-based platform offering planned and urgent care advice and guidance.
Dr. Hughes envisions a wider adoption of these solutions in the coming year, encompassing virtual hospital wards and the increased integration of remote monitoring equipment such as wearables. The global market value of wearables is estimated to have reached $30.06 billion (€27.3 billion) in 2023.
Amanda Philpott, co-founder and CEO of the hearing training app eargym, predicts that the continued growth of wearables and health apps will bring about an additional benefit: heightened awareness of under-recognized health conditions with significant implications for individuals and healthcare resources. For instance, there has been a notable uptick in demand for cardiac monitoring apps, providing users with education about invisible illnesses and associated symptoms that impact millions worldwide.
In response to record-high waiting times for operations across Europe, 2024 is expected to witness the prominence of virtual and mixed reality technologies. Alison Sundset, CEO of Oslo-based Holocare, a provider of a holographic toolkit for 3D surgical planning, anticipates surgeons using VR headsets to visualize a patient’s organs through interactive holograms. This immersive technology will enable smarter, safer surgical planning.
The ability of these technologies to offer a shared spatial view of a patient’s anatomy will not only enhance surgical planning but also facilitate in-person and virtual communication among healthcare teams. This, in turn, will enable collaboration beyond geographical boundaries.
Beyond the operating room, VR and MR technologies are positioned to act as catalysts for the evolving healthcare workforce. Healthcare professionals can practice in risk-free virtual environments, expedite their learning process, and potentially reduce the risk of burnout. According to Sundset, these developments in 2024 will shape the new norm of surgical practice.”
“In 2024, the medical technology landscape is undergoing a transformative shift driven by AI, quantum computing, and immersive technologies. AI is revolutionizing diagnostics and drug discovery, with a focus on genomics. Quantum computing is on the horizon, poised to reshape drug development with precision and cost-effectiveness. The integration of virtual care, wearables, and virtual reality is enhancing remote treatment options, diagnostic capabilities, and surgical planning. These advancements collectively promise to redefine healthcare delivery, improve patient outcomes, and shape the future of medical practice.”