The Charité – a great partner for BOCAhealthcare
The Charité is not only the best known and largest clinic in Germany, but it is also the top clinic in Europe and has long been a research location with a worldwide reputation. But how can Charité support start-ups like BOCAhealthcare with its extensive ecosystem? A key element in this is SPARK-BIH – a mentoring program that supports academic inventions at an early stage through further training, coaching and funding.
The Charité began when it was founded in 1710 as a quarantine facility for plague victims. A few years later, the building was converted into a military hospital with an education center. The current name “Charité”, which Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm I, was inspired by the French meaning ” mercy”, also comes from this period.elected. This new name reflected the mission to address patient needs. The Berlin facility expanded steadily in the 1800s and 1900s and was the most renowned institute of the GDR between 1946 and 1989. Numerous important personalities in science are closely related to the Charité, including more than half of the German Nobel Prize winners for physiology or medicine. Among them, with Emil von Behring for his discovery of antitoxin against diphtheria in 1901, the first award winner ever. Other personalities with fundamental importance for the development of modern medicine are Rudolf Virchow, Robert Koch, and Paul Ehrlich.
In 1997/98, the “Charité University Clinic, Medical Faculty of the Humboldt University in Berlin” emerged from the merger of the Charité Virchow Clinic at the Free University and the medical faculty of the Humboldt University. This merger eventually led to one of the largest clinics in Europe, the “Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin”.
World-class clinic and research center
The Charité’s excellent achievements have continued into the 21st century. Charité recently ranked 5th among the 1,000 best hospitals in the world in a ranking by the US magazine Newsweek and the data portal Statista and was voted the best clinical center in Europe. The university’s mission is “to be the international innovation leader in research, teaching and healthcare” and thus to continuously improve patient care. With staff and students from 100 countries from all continents, the Charité is a very international community. This includes approximately 3,700 active researchers who work in a wide variety of disciplines, including cardiovascular research & metabolism; Infection, immunology, & inflammation; rare diseases & genetics, oncology,
An ideal ecosystem for the development of BOCAhealth
When Alessandro Faragli, managing director and co-founder of BOCAhealthcare, was offered a position as a research assistant at the Charité’s Experimental Cardiology in 2017, he soon realized how unique the environment of the university hospital is.
An important part of this ecosystem, which Alessandro supported and coached during his work in practice-related research in the field of bioimpedance analysis, is SPARK-BIH, SPARK-BIH is a mentoring program that supports academic inventions at an early stage through further training, coaching and funding. The program, which was founded in 2015, is based on the SPARK program at Stanford University and is supported by the Berlin Institute for Health Research (BIH) and the Charité Foundation. In particular, SPARK offers first-class advice, access to core facilities, and support in creating partnerships with industry and other academic institutions.
As SPARKEE, Alessandro had the opportunity to regularly attend seminars that dealt with the process of developing and commercializing medicines, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health products.
The Charité stands for the exchange of ideas and is a favorable environment, especially for clinical studies, and this will be the next step of BOCAhealthcare after reaching the CE certification. The added value of the collaboration will soon bear fruit if the BOCAhealth system goes into scientific validation, which is being carried out in a multicentre study between the Charité and the two Italian universities, the University of Pavia and the University of Genoa.