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The younger sibling of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), 4YFN, has set an absolute record of exhibitors with over 900 companies from 170 countries worldwide, in a year when the event celebrated its tenth anniversary with artificial intelligence as a cross-cutting umbrella. This expansion became evident with the occupation of a new pavilion, 8.0, dedicated precisely to emerging companies in the life sciences and health sector. In 2024, the sector has been one of the most representative with more than 70 Catalan companies and entities (10 more than in 2023) and an exclusive program on digital health with over a hundred relevant national and international speakers.

For the fourth consecutive year, Biocat has been present at 4YFN. This year, it has a joint stand with the TIC Health Social Foundation: the 'Catalonia Health Innovation Ecosystem Pavilion', in collaboration with ACCIÓ, the Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya (AQuAS), the Barcelona City Council, the Institut Català de la Salut (ICS), the Unió Catalana d'Hospitals (UCH), the Consorci de Salut i Social de Catalunya (CSC), the Associació Catalana d’Entitats de Salut (ACES), the Associació Catalana de Recursos Assistencials (ACRA) and the Taula d'entitats del Tercer Sector Social de Catalunya (M4Social). 

This marks the first time that the main entities that make up the Healthcare System in Catalonia have participated collectively with a pavilion in this congress to place the health sector of Catalonia on the international stage. They organized more than 35 activities over the four days which have served to address the main future challenges of the sector, with digital transformation being the most prominent.

Entitats del pavelló amb el conseller de salut, Manel Balcells
Representatives from different entities that make up the 'Catalonia Health Innovation Pavilion' have met with the Catalan Health Minister, Manel Balcells.

Innovation Adoption, personalized medicine, and Artificial Intelligence

AQuAS and Biocat have led sessions on the evaluation and adoption of new technologies in the Catalan Healthcare System. On one hand, AQuAS explained the methodological framework for evaluating digital health technologies interested in joining the portfolio of the Catalan Healthcare System. Rosa M. Vivanco, Director of the Evaluation and Quality Area, and Joan Segur, a technician in the evaluation of health technology, explained the procedure and addressed queries from interested companies.

Biocat, on the other hand, also led a roundtable on the adoption of innovation in the Catalan Healthcare System. Moderated by Robert Fabregat, General Director of Biocat, it featured the participation of Laura Sampietro, Deputy Director of Innovation at the Hospital Clínic, Pau Rodríguez, General Director of Methinks AI, and Rosa M. Vivanco, Director of the Evaluation and Quality Area at AQuAS. It was a session focused on explaining and addressing queries about the program on Innovation Adoption in the Catalan Healthcare System, coordinated by Biocat, which will be tested in the coming months.

Taula rodona sobre adopció d'innovació al Sistema de Salut de Catalunya.
Roundtable on Innovation Adoption in the Catalan Healthcare System.

The revolution brought about by personalized medicine for the treatment of diseases has also been a central theme in recent days. The central program of 4YFN featured the session 'Personalized Medicine: Platforms and Technological Solutions,' where three examples of platforms serving precision and personalized medicine in Catalonia were presented: radiomics, rare diseases, and pharmacogenomics, and how they can improve patient and family care through technology (genomics, imaging, AI, etc.) and collaboration throughout Europe. The Health Counselor of the Government of Catalonia, Manel Balcells, inaugurated the session.

In the 'Catalonia Health Innovation Ecosystem Pavilion,' an activity on personalized medicine has also been organized, where the main Catalan initiatives were presented: the Precision Oncology Program (POPCat), explained by Enriqueta Felip, an oncologist at the Hospital Universitari de la Vall d’Hebron, the CAR-T ARI-0001 from the Hospital Clínic, presented by Manuel Juan, Head of the Immunology Service at the Clínic de Barcelona, and Pau Riera, Assistant to the Pharmacy Service at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, who presented various pharmacogenetic projects.

Presentació del CAR-T ARI-0001 de l’Hospital Clínic, a càrrec de Manuel Juan
Presentation of CAR-T ARI-0001 from the Hospital Clínic, by Dr. Manuel Juan.

As mentioned at the beginning, artificial intelligence has been the star technology of 4YFN, where its application in the health sector has been the focus of many activities. At the health stand, a session on the Health/AI Program was organized, led by José Ibeas, project director, who explained the methodology for creating a facilitating environment for innovation and research in the health field through the development and implementation of AI solutions. Relisten, a digital solution powered by CIMTI that, using AI, listens to conversations between patients and healthcare personnel to draft structured clinical reports, was also presented. In addition, a total of eight companies dedicated to social AI shared their innovations in this field.

Visibility of disruptive companies in the ecosystem

A total of 12 companies have had a presence in this joint health space, where they seized the opportunity to network, but also to present new developments, advances, and the latest goals achieved in the last year in two pitch sessions organized in the pavilion.

Companies Abzu Barcelona, Biel Glasses, Biosfer Teslab, Bsure Medical, Flomics Biotech, Mefood Omics, Methinks Software, Nanodecal, Time is Brain, Trialing Health, YASYT, and Zoundream, specializing in artificial intelligence and data analysis, digital medical devices, assistance robots, among others, have received institutional visits from the President of the Parliament of Catalonia, Anna Erra; the Health Counselor, Manel Balcells; the Secretary-General of the Department of Enterprise and Labor, Oriol Sagrera, and the Secretary of Enterprise and Competitiveness and CEO of ACCIÓ, Albert Castellanos. In addition to representatives from the consulates of the United States and Portugal, representatives from Hong Kong, as well as executives from major national and international corporations.

Reunions al pavelló de la BioRegió 4yfn
Visita Albert Castellanos, conseller delegat d'ACCIÓ

Health has also stood out at the MWC

Virtual, non-existent organs, where drugs and therapies can be tested, or where factors predisposing to diseases can be discovered. Data and more data are stored on a computer that reveals the most suitable treatment for each person. Mobile World Capital and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-National Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) presented a prototype of a virtual heart in this edition of the MWC, where each visitor could make it beat to the rhythm of their pulse in a purely playful proposal. The technology for this project is from ELEM Biotech, a spinoff of BSC working on the commercialization of digital twins.

It was also possible to follow live the course of a real operation with the Da Vinci XI robotic system that was taking place at the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol in Badalona. Through an immersive surgical experience provided by the mSurgery tool, attendees could see everything that happened on an operating table remotely. The goal of the mSurgery project, led by surgeons from the Germans Trias i Pujol, is to allow specialists and professionals in training, among others, to see with good image quality and without cuts or interruptions everything that happens during the operation and even interact with the surgeon.

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