Moonshot Startup Initiatives in the Fight Against Cancer

July 15, 2021

The torch for the EU Council Presidency has officially been passed on to Slovenia, who will chair meetings at every level of the Council for the next six months. In the Covid-19 recovery era, Slovenia has announced to hold the Presidency under the slogan Together. Resilient. Europe. and place building a better Health Union at the top of its agenda. At Allied for Startups, we look forward to engaging with the Slovenian Presidency to further build Europe into a startup-friendly union!

One of Slovenia’s key health priorities will be in the fight against cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in the EU after cardiovascular diseases. Every year, 2.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer in Europe. Not only does this disease affect quality of life and mortality, but it also has a considerable social and economic impact. Evidence has shown that 40% of cancers are preventable, which opens the door for an immense scope of action. Building resilient health systems underpins the need for healthcare promotion on lifestyle factors, and investing in high quality cancer prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and care – areas startups continue to deliver solutions for.  

According to Slovenia’s Health Minister, Janez Poklukar, “We think that we have to diminish the difference between Member States… Cancer management has to be accessible to all the citizens of Europe.” Beating cancer is a moonshot that startups are absolutely central to. Startups continue to develop cutting-edge technology and solutions to save lives, improve quality of life, and support stakeholders along the cancer-care continuum. We explored 5 different startups working in Europe who have made it their mission to tackle cancer and empower patients fighting this disease.

With cancer care at the core of Slovenia’s health priorities, we encourage policy makers to tap into the potential of startup innovation and provide clear pathways for digital health startups to continue contributing to Europe’s fight against cancer. 

As part of our Digital Health Startup Voices campaign, we spoke to Door Vonk, founder of the digital health app Untire that aims to address cancer related fatigue. As one of the many startups working within the cancer care continuum across the EU, Untire seeks to improve the mental health of cancer patients and ultimately tackle one of the underrepresented areas in cancer care. Such initiatives reflect the agile and reactive nature of startups in creating patient-centric solutions. However,  startups are also most often smaller actors with access to less resources – which makes navigating complex regulatory barriers more challenging and takes away from time spent on innovating. According to Door, startup technologies are one of our biggest allies in the fight against cancer. Facilitating the ability to scale such solutions across borders lies in creating a clear, unified regulatory environment that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation.

At Allied for Startups we aim to improve the policy-environment for startups to continue innovating across the globe. We urge the Slovenian Presidency and European policy makers to see legislation through the lens of entrepreneurs and ensure startups are empowered to continue creating cutting-edge innovation.