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MSD launches preventative healthcare accelerator

Joins forces with Wayra Open Future for VelocityHealth fund

Digital pharmaMerck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) has joined forces with Spanish telecoms company Telefonica to launch a new healthcare accelerator fund.

Velocity Health will be the UK's first digital preventative healthcare accelerator and sees the pharma company collaborate with Telefonica's Wayra Open Future start-up programme.

MSD's managing director Mike Nally said: “Technology is revolutionising how we manage healthcare and the UK can be at the heart of it. Digital start-ups are at the forefront of this innovation. 

“As a healthcare company with a long legacy of investing in innovation and R&D, we want to actively invest in these types of businesses and harness the amazing talent that is emerging so that we become equally good at 'recognising and preventing' disease as 'diagnosing and treating' to help reduce demand for expensive acute services and capacity in the long term.”

On offer via Velocity Health is a potential £64,000 injection for start-ups that can 'reimagine healthcare beyond the 21st century'.

In particular MSD hopes to help fund start-ups that can address the challenges outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, which was published last October and set out the UK health service's future direction.

Velocity Health will offer a number of start-ups a 10-month accelerator programme involving access to a network of mentors, coaches and investors who will help nurture each business.

Up to a total of £64,000 will be offered to each start-up which will include 50% funds and the rest made up of dedicated acceleration services, including office space within Wayra Open Future's academy in Central London.

They could also, potentially, gain access to Telefonica's customer base (more than 300 million) and MSD's networks locally and globally.

Gary Stewart, director at Wayra Open Future, UK, said: “We know that to make a real impact, we need to have a long term vision and look ahead to the next century of delivering innovative healthcare solutions.

“Through Velocity Health, we want to empower patients to take more control and ownership over their wellbeing and believe emerging digital technologies have a vital part to play in achieving this goal.”

5th October 2015

From: Healthcare

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