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Jean-Philippe Arié, what do you remember about the year 2021 which has just ended?

“Without a doubt, the launch of the ‘Public-Private Partnerships’ pilot, which has left its mark on the healthtech community. In addition to this unique cooperation between the National Research Fund, the Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation, hospitals, research centres and of course companies participated. The results of the evaluations should be made public next month and we are looking forward to the results.

While the year 2021 will of course be remembered for COVID, it has also seen the emergence of a number of innovations to fight the virus. I would like to mention a few outstanding examples at the national level: the development and marketing of the first machines from MPG that cover masks with an additional virucidal layer, as well as the public-private partnerships signed by Advanced Biological Laboratories (ABL) with the Laboratoire national de Santé in June and the Luxembourg Institute of Health in December aimed at developing innovative tools that will enable a better management of the disease.

In terms of public research, we can mention the ‘Con-Vince‘ study, which, after following Luxembourg volunteers, is yielding its first scientific results regarding the long-term effects of SARS-CoV2 infections. The creation of an incubator exclusively dedicated to health technologies under the guidance of public research should of course not be forgotten either.

On the business side, ABL has taken over the listed company Établissements Fauvet Girel to develop new activities in the field of diagnosis by genotyping of infectious diseases. It also signed a number of new agreements with new distributors, including one with Roche Diagnostics for Portugal. In a way, ABL joins the small circle of Luxembourg companies in the health sector that are listed on the stock exchange.

I would like to mention two other important facts. On the one hand, the announcement in November by MPG of its ability to use its plasma technology to deposit functional antibodies on different surfaces almost instantaneously, which opens the door to new applications in our fields. And secondly, the selection of start-ups in the health sector for the 12th edition of the Fit 4 Start programme, which starts in January.

What are the major challenges facing your sector in 2022?

“This year marks the beginning of the implementation of Luxinnovation’s 2022-2025 strategy, which has just been made public. The strategy will be the basis for the efforts of the HealThtech cluster to try to contribute even more to accelerating the national ecosystem. This will certainly be done through a digital approach, but also with innovative projects that take into account environmental impacts.

2022 is also the year of the launch of new European programmes Horizon Europe and Innovative Health Initiative (IHI, formerly Innovative Medicines Initiative, IMI), which aim to support the health sector in particular, on subjects such as digital aspects, surgery or oncology, but also other themes that may be of interest to Luxembourg.

What are the main projects that the Luxembourg HealthTech Cluster is working on?

“The cluster will continue to support the actions initiated by the Ministry of the Economy which aim to offer new operational possibilities to companies in the sector. In particular, things will start moving from March-April and then at the end of 2022. At this stage it is still too early to say more, but I can tell you that it will be an interesting year for the sector!”

 

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