Prize winner in HealthTech with the voice biomarker solution for respiratory diseases at the European-wide URBAN TECH initiative.

Tue, 11 Jun 2024

Zana has been awarded the first prize in the HealthTech track at the final pitch competition of URBAN TECH, organized as part of Impact Days event in Vienna, on June 6th. Over the past three years, the European-wide URBAN TECH Project program supported the acceleration of SMEs by launching new or significantly improved products in the HealthTech, Smart City, and Greentech sectors.

Zana's remarkable journey with URBANTECH began as part the initial 500+ applications from all over Europe, narrowed down to 160 companies selected in phase one. In each of the following 4 phases from hackathon, to MVP & pilot development and then to market discovery phase, Zana was successfully past every selection, culminating in the final pitch competition with the top 12 solution providers.  

Zana not only passed all the phases successfully, but managed in the end to be at the top with the prize winning in the HealthTech category. In this project, Zana addressed the challenged posed by Maastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+) for patient-centric solutions in respiratory diseases.

Zana and MUMC+ entered a strategic partnership, honing the problem together and setting the focus on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is estimated to affect 480 million people and is referred to as a global pandemic with  high burden of hospitalizations. These are usually caused by unreported symptom worsening since the continuous health assessment at home remain inefficient

To support this problem, we identified a unexplored instrument that holds immense potential: the human voice. Zana´s solution is a Software-as-a-Service Platform that provides digital biomarkers extracted from voice samples, while AI models in background analyse and recognize patterns associated with specific health conditions.

The innovation of the technology lies in analysing voice longitudinally to predict possible health deterioration, particularly for two biomarkers: Shortness of Breath and risk of Exacerbation, by detecting acute worsening beyond day-to-day variability. This solution supports clinical decisions and objective measures of disease progression.

There has been a fruitful and insightful collaboration with the clinical partner and challenge owner, Dr. Sami Simons and team from MUMC+, who is now Zana´s closest collaborator and ambassador. 

The entire URBAN TECH Project was made successful through the mentorship from Cyberforum e.V. and the support of innovation hubs and organisation teams all over Europe.