HomeThe Virtual CrunchEventsAstraZeneca and Slush launch virtual events to help startups

AstraZeneca and Slush launch virtual events to help startups

Pharma giant AstraZeneca is providing a new platform for innovators to discuss health innovation insights through interactive founder roundtables.

The first of two virtual events last week, in collaboration with startup event organisers Slush, explored how innovation can help rebuild healthcare. It also highlighted how collaboration improve patient outcomes and address unmet needs.

New startups attending the event received guidance on how to make their businesses a success and overcome common challenges.

The event was run through AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Net, its new platform for patient-enabled innovation, with more than 20 global hubs, spanning emerging markets, Europe, Canada, Japan and the US.

AstraZeneca’s second virtual event with Slush, taking place on 21 October, will explore the practicalities and importance of forging non-traditional partnerships to bolster innovation.


AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network is leveraging its partnership with Slush to improve experiences, advance access and accelerate better health outcomes through innovation.

The digital events are looking to support startups, tech innovators and founders in achieving their goals of developing biomedical solutions to improve outcomes for patients.


Slush is the world’s leading startup event and a student-led, not-for-profit movement. Its main annual event thousands of investors, founders, journalists, and executives to Helsinki.

The Slush event in 2019, saw announcements from several digital health startups, including collaboration agreements between global pharma company Novartis and Finnish startups Popit and Precordior. Also, Finland-based clinical assessment software startup Combinostics secured €3.9m Series A funding at the event.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca’s chief commercial digital officer and global VP Karan Arora recently spoke to MobiHealthNews about partnerships, COVID-19 and what’s next for digital health.


Miika Huttunen, CEO, Slush, said: “Last week’s event was extremely valuable, Slush is focused on creating change and generating the next generation of entrepreneurs. AstraZeneca’s A.Catalyst Network is a fantastic example of how unique partnerships can make this possible.

“We are experiencing a real increase in cross-sector convergence, which can cause challenges for alignment, but also provide a significant opportunity to develop better healthcare solutions and meet needs which a lack of collaboration and technological advancement made unmeetable in the past.”

Aleksandr Bedenkov, VP medical international at AstraZeneca, said: “Innovation does not happen in isolation, it starts from a conversation, preferably with strangers. Our partnership with Slush brings together diverse stakeholders across a variety of industries and geographies with the aim to reimagine patient experiences and ensure better outcomes, by advancing equitable access to affordable, high-quality and innovative healthcare solutions.”

Magnus Björsne, executive director of AstraZeneca BioVentureHub, said: “We are basically about to redefine the meaning of innovation in our industry. It will not only happen in labs and in clinics in the future. We need new types of partnerships, we need a new mentality to approach how we collaborate.”

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