French multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi is seeking to partner with African health startups in finding innovative solutions to improve access to healthcare and transform the health ecosystem throughout the continent.

The select local start-ups will be pitched at VivaTech, an annual technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups, which will take place in Paris, France from June 11 to June 13, 2020.

These 4 challenges aim to identify, select and support the best start-ups in the health sector on the African continent.

Challenges are part of Sanofi’s strategy to encourage innovation in the African continent, in order to create a health ecosystem that is at the service of the patient. An ecosystem that includes all stakeholders in the sector: public authorities, private companies, start-ups as well as other stakeholders.

The first challenge focusses on how to support patients with a digital health book in order to access information and make decisions. Anyone should be able to possess their own personal health data record safely, so that they can easily recall their health history and have the right dialogue with doctors.

The proposed solution should contain major health event data (vaccinations, lab results, disease history, prescriptions, and guidance & tips). It should be easy to use, affordable, consume minimal mobile data, and easily integrate with existing systems while complying with relevant legal and regulatory requirements. ​

The second challenge is to provide solutions to help healthcare systems leapfrog from manual to smart logistics solutions at the point of care. In some countries in Africa, the flow of data around drugs and devices management at the point of care is not digitalized.

The implementation of a digital solution would optimize the supply chain at the point of care, reinforce batch traceability – mandatory in the event of product recall and to fight against fake medicines and vaccines- and to simplify data management. The scalable and affordable solution should ensure appropriate drug delivery to patient and include features such as e-prescription delivery.

The third challenge focuses on how to improve financing and impact of innovative health solutions in Africa. Access to new therapeutic solutions remains a major challenge for a large part of population in Africa.

The proposed solution should bear upon innovative financing options.

Sanofi is looking for start-ups already working with banks or insurance companies. The solution must be able to measure the impact. It should be easy to use, affordable, consume minimal mobile data, and easily integrate with existing systems while complying with relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

The last challenge looks for solutions on how to improve maternal and neonatal health in sub-Saharan Africa. While maternal and child mortality has been significantly reduced globally, it remains a major concern in sub-Saharan Africa accounting for two-thirds of worldwide maternal deaths.

The Sanofi Espoir Corporate Foundation, together with its local and global partners, aims at identifying innovative solutions to tackle this issue and save lives.

The project would be part of our 2020 pilot endeavors in Senegal that help to tackle major social determinants of maternal health and respond to the critical needs of mothers-to-be. It should be a scalable, affordable solution, to be piloted first in Senegal.

Sanofi will select the start-ups after the closure of the on-line application platform. Start-ups will be evaluated according to 5 criteria: concrete evidence of positive results in at least one African country, project maturity, the relevance of the solution, market potential and business model, skills, expertise and experience of the team and finally scientific evidence if applicable.

The selected start-ups will be invited to present their innovative solutions at Africatech, the VivaTech Lab dedicated to the African continent.

They will defend their projects in front of a jury consisting of Sanofi representatives and industry professionals and will be able to demonstrate their solutions to the public. Following VivaTech, Sanofi will evaluate with each start-up the potential for a partnership.

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