HomeGreece-StartupsMeet Shuttle Catheters, an EIT Health InnoStars Awards Winner | Interview with...

Meet Shuttle Catheters, an EIT Health InnoStars Awards Winner | Interview with Founder Danae Manolesou

EIT Health InnoStars Awards is one of the main EIT Health accelerator programmes for early-stage healthcare startups from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. This year, the final event saw 10 selected teams from over 100 applicants compete to take home the prestigious prize, and the recognition as a visionary venture with the potential to shape the future of healthcare. We chatted with the winners to hear their thoughts.

Innovation in healthcare is something which impacts each and every one of us. From solutions helping to relieve pressure on healthcare systems and innovations empowering greater autonomy over personal health to new medical devices and beyond, healthtech is a very exciting space in Europe’s startup ecosystem right now. 

Now in its 6th year, EIT Health InnoStars Awards is an accelerator programme supporting game-changing innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthtech space. 

This year, taking home first place was Shuttle Catheters!

Founded in Greece, Shuttle Catheters is aiming to fill a market gap and address a currently unmet need for minimally invasive PAD procedures. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a major chronic disease affecting millions worldwide and growing due to an ageing population. Shuttle Catheters is developing an innovative catheter technology to extend the reach of minimally invasive procedures in cases of severe to total arterial stenosis.

According to the founders, the solution could help save up to €7.5 billion for the European healthcare system and reduce morbidity rates, as it will avert open bypass surgeries for approximately 300,000 patients. 

We chatted with founder Danae Manolesou to learn more. 

Can you tell us about Shuttle Catheters? What are your aims, values, and vision?

We aim at expanding the reach of minimally invasive surgery for CTO’s (Chronic Total Occlusions). Our values reflect the value we bring to all healthcare stakeholders: better outcomes for the patient, higher performance for the surgeon, and lower cost for the payer. This triple combination is our mantra as a company. Our vision is to develop products based on our current and future technologies, which embody this triptych of added value.

What inspired the company?

The company was founded by Athroa, our parent company, to commercialize the breakthrough invention by surgeon Giannis Stefanidis.  

What challenges have you faced along the way so far as a startup founder?

The biggest challenge is still the level of certainty we expect from ourselves to validate our product/market fit. In other words, although our co-founder is a surgeon, who conceived of the patent out of a clinical need he encountered in practice, it has been extremely hard for an outsider like us to assess the value added by our innovation to the healthcare industry.

What attracted you to the EIT Health InnoStars Awards programme?

Honestly, the pro-business attitude: not excessive bureaucracy, friendly and proactive behaviour from all the administrators, and an ambitious spirit to disrupt and dare beyond the obvious.

What is the benefit of taking part in an accelerator programme like InnoStars Awards?

Our participation in the EIT Health InnoStars Awards programme has been beneficial in multiple ways to us: first, it has contributed to our team-building by uniting everyone’s efforts towards an easily identifiable goal; second, it has catalyzed our interaction with mentors whose important advice we may have otherwise overlooked due to urgent daily tasks; third, it has given us a much needed financial and moral support at a critical point of our product development; fourth, it has instilled just enough discipline needed at a time when we might have ranked our priorities wrongly in terms of resource allocation and route to market; finally, it has given us access to clinical resources, which is one of the most obvious and essential elements for any health tech startup.

Looking to the future, how will the experience benefit you?

Now, we are focused on raising more funds and expanding the team, and we plan to execute our business plan with pre-clinical verification studies and a pre-submission to the FDA for approval. Having participated in the programme and being part of the wider EIT Community gives us more visibility in the industry – especially with investors and institutions – that can help fuel our development. 

Editor’s Note: This post has been created in collaboration and with financial support from EIT Health. If you’re also interested in partnering with us, just reach out.

EIT Health is one of the biggest European public-private partnerships in the field of healthcare innovation. Comprised of approximately 150 Partners, EIT Health is a unique European network of top companies, universities, research and development centres, as well as hospitals and institutes. EIT Health’s role is to build an ecosystem that enables the development of healthcare for the future so that European citizens can live longer and healthier lives.

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Patricia Allen
Patricia Allen
is the Head of Content at EU-Startups. With a background in politics, Patricia has a real passion for how shared ideas across communities and cultures can bring new initiatives and innovations for the future. She spends her time bringing you the latest news and updates of startups across Europe, and curating our social media.

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