SPARK-BIH supports translational projects from BIH and Charité Scientists and Clinicians at all career levels. The program helps to accelerate and validate scientific inventions for drug development (small molecule, biologics, ATMP, gene therapy), medical devices and diagnostics from all medical fields and their translation into therapies, products and services that benefit patients. Support includes funding, mentoring and targeted education.
SPARK-BIH is a mentoring program that supports early stage academic inventions with education, mentorship and funding. The SPARK-BIH program is designed to de-risk projects with high potential impact, addressing critical unmet medical needs for any medical indication. Charité including BIH scientists as well as clinicians at all career levels are eligible to apply for the SPARK-BIH program.
While the SPARK-BIH program aims to validate biomedical research results in drug development, medical technology and diagnostics, the BIH Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) program supports projects to turn their digital health ideas and concepts into market-ready digital health solutions and bring them to patients/market, e.g., via license or spin-off company formation. In focus are solutions driven by digital technologies such as 3D, AR/MR/VR, machine learning/A.I., robotics, sensors, and software. The next Call for Applications of the BIH Digital Health Accelerator program will be issued in Q3 2021. The BIH Biomedical Innovation Academy (BIA) focuses on young scientists and acts as a think tank for strategic personnel development in biomedicine and for new models of academic innovation. The programs of both areas can generally be combined, as long as double funding is excluded. Prior coordination with the respective program management is absolutely necessary for this.
The SPARK-BIH program was founded in 2015 and is based on the successful SPARK program developed at Stanford University. Since its founding in 2006, the program is expanding and has been established in over 50 institutions worldwide. SPARK-BIH is part of SPARK Global, a network of SPARK institutions from all over the world with joint activities. The shared mission is to accelerate discoveries from laboratories to patients around the world. Information and news on SPARK Global are available here.
Collaborations of SPARK-BIH
Inventors for Health Program (I4H)
As of 2019, the Stiftung Charité in collaboration with SPARK-BIH have launched the Inventors for Health Program (I4H). The I4H was initially designed as a pilot program to enhance the development of breakthrough medical innovations and help create a new generation of inventors. This was accomplished by working with early stage medical innovators making use of a medical design thinking approach to develop viable and robust solutions that carefully consider both the potential end user and who would ultimately pay for delivering the solution. Two innovator bootcamps were run during the spring of 2019 and the summer of 2020 for 10 teams and 6 teams were further supported for 12-18 months by SPARK-BIH. The effort was highly successful, leading several teams to receive follow on funding, or found a startup. It is anticipated that the I4H program will be continued in collaboration with SPARK-BIH. Information and news on the I4H program are available here.
As of 2020, NeuroCure collaborates with the SPARK-BIH program addressing projects with potential for clinically relevant therapies, diagnostics, and devices in the field of neurology. The collaboration seeks to tackle the lab-to-clinic translational hurdles. Information and news on the NeuroCure program are available here.
Support of SPARK-BIH Projects
Selected projects within the SPARK-BIH, I4H and NeuroCure program become part of the SPARK-BIH mentoring and education program. We …
… define a clear project goal including work packages and milestones together with you and experts in the field.
… assign project managers to your team to support you along the project development path.
… help you to establish Intellectual Property.
… connect you to experts in the field for coaching and mentoring.
… organize regular meetings with the other project teams enrolled in the SPARK-BIH program for interdisciplinary discussion and input.
… offer education on the principles of drug, medical device & diagnostic development and topics relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation in different formats.
… organize workshops targeted at the needs of supported SPARK-BIH projects (e.g. GLP, MDR, Business Model).
Two Tracks of Funding
Once a year, SPARK-BIH offers the opportunity to submit translational project proposals. The funding program consists of two different tracks (Track 1 and Track 2) and funding is strictly milestone-based. The projects are carried out over a period of 12-24 months.
To apply and learn more about the application process, please visit the SPARK-BIH call for proposals section here. Selected projects become part of the SPARK-BIH program.
Some examples of past and current projects include unmet needs in pediatric, neglected or orphan diseases, cardiovascular, oncology, inflammatory, respiratory, neurological, autoimmune indications and infectious disease. An overview of past and current SPARK project teams and their translational projects can be found here.
SPARK Educational Lecture Series
SPARK-BIH together with other SPARK sites offers an educational lecture series on translational research and technology transfer. Top-quality speakers cover the principles of drug, medical device & diagnostic development and topics relevant to entrepreneurship and innovation. More information on the different types of lecture series is available here.
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