Accelerating Innovation in Healthcare

Healthcare is the most complex system humans have ever created. Fusing advances in science and technology, we have found cures for deadly diseases, fought cancer and HIV, managed the health of booming global populations, and sequenced the human genome. Entering the new decade, COVID-19 made its mark by transforming the landscape for life sciences and healthcare, setting the scene with a range of new challenges for the future.

As personalization becomes the universal norm, the healthcare companies that thrive in the future will empower patients with data and insights, give them greater control over their wellbeing and build lasting trust.

The Health sector needs disruptive innovation faster than ever and many start-ups have been agile to the new challenges and have developed innovative solutions faster than ever. A strong, win-win partnership between start-ups – corporates – academia is the key for success. Successful alliances can significantly speed up time to market and scaling up, hence accelerate innovation.

EPFL Innovation Park has invited 20+ company executives as speakers, to talk about their best practices and lessons learned from their own experiences, in order to help each other address current challenges. The workshop series targets Start-up CEO/CTOs, Academic Professors, Researchers and Corporate innovation managers. 

EPFL Innovation Park and Innosuisse bring to you a series of 6 workshops –  Tech4Growth Health* from May 31 – Sept. 15, 2021 with a great lineup of speakers and decision makers.

150+ participants attended the event and the final networking day will take place on September 15th at Bois Chamblard. 

Register now for the final networking event of the workshop series!
Benefits for Start-up Participants


  • Connect with relevant industry experts
  • Learn experiences from other start-ups to avoid pitfalls
  • Find potential corporate business partners for development of pilot projects, technology licensing, sales or distribution channels
  • Meet potential investors

Benefits for Academic / Research Participants

  • Further your academic research, keep abreast and get insights on the commercialization of health-related products

  • Meet potential corporate partners for pilot opportunities 

  • Connect with disruptive and agile start-ups

  • Expand your network in the health ecosystem 

Benefits for Corporate Participants

  • Expand your network in the health ecosystem

  • Engage in thought leadership with peers on partnership strategies

  • Discover disruptive innovation and technologies and learn from agility of start-ups


May 31 - Corporate - Start-up Partnering for Success (13h30-17h10)

  • Benefits and challenges of partnership

  • Understanding the differences in operational structure & company culture

  • Corporates and start-ups: how to partner with universities


 Lan Zuo Gillet (EPFL Innovation Park), Nathalie Virag (Medtronic), Hervé Lebret (INRIA),  Raphael Rollier (Swisstopo).

June 3 - Commercial Partnerships (11h00-13h00)

  •  Start-up and Corporate commercial partnerships: defining the partnership model to align with company strategy


Haider Alleg (Ferring), Jeroen van den Oever (Sun Bioscience), Massimo Lucchina (Cytec), Robert Scott (Novartis), Marta Gehring (Swiss Biotech Association)

June 7 - Technology Co-Development (11h00-13h00)

  • Technology co-development: managing respective priorities, IP ownership and project teams


Prof. Jürgen Burger (University of Bern), Brigitte Bellone (Merck), Nicolas Loeillot (Group Mutuel), Lamine MBow (Ichnos Sciences).

June 10 - Corporate Venture Funds and M&A Strategies (11h00-13h00)

  • Corporate Venture fund:

    • Strategic goals, deal sourcing and investment process
    • Involvement of business lines: Pros and Cons
    • Key successful factors & pitfalls

    Corporate buy out:

    • Corporate M&A strategy v.s. start-up exit strategy
    • Deal sourcing and M&A process
    • Key successful factors & pitfalls start-up integration


Torsten Butz (CSS), Angelo de Rosa (Boston Scientific), Michael Friedrich (Distalmotion), Lan Zuo Gillet (EPFL Innovation Park), Giovanni Leo (Eba Med).

June 14 - How to partner to achieve growth? (11h00-13h00)

  • Other forms of partnerships: corporate accelerators, venture competition, mentorship etc.

  • Tips from start-ups founders and corporate executives


Laura Jeanbart (Molecular Partners), Ata Tuna Ciftlik (Lunaphore), Massimo Lucchina (Cytec), Ragnar Johannesson (Oculis), Lan Zuo Gillet (EPFL Innovation Park).

Sept. 15 Networking Event (10h00-16h30)

Networking day at Bois Chamblard 

How to build win-win partnership? Personal experiences and tips from start-ups founders and a corporate executives


Nicolas Loeillot (Groupe Mutuel), Massimo Lucchina (Cytec), Raphael Rollier (Swisstopo), Lan Zuo Gillet (EPFL Innovation Park), Tanja Dowe, (Debiopharm), Ursula Osterle (VPI, EPFL), Ata Tuna Ciflik (Lunaphore).


Haider Alleg

Global Head of Digital Excellence, Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Haider is an entrepreneur, blending innovation, commercial and marketing leadership into brands. He is specialised on business transformation and product launches within regulated industries such as pharma. Haider Alleg is Global Head of Digital Excellence for Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

Developing a natural obsession for creating new customer experiences, Haider disrupts the way global organisations adopt new marketing and technology trends. He is inspired by Japanese methodologies (Kaizen and Lean 6 Sigma) and adapts them to commercial operations to scale their business models globally.

Entrepreneur, he founded his first company at 16 in the East of France, specialised in political campaigns and social media. In 2013 he founded one of the fastest-growing consulting and venture firms in Switzerland, supporting companies like PregLem SA, sold to Gedeon Richter for 500M€. In 2015, he founded the Swiss hub of the French Tech initiative, created by the French President Emmanuel Macron.

Feel free to follow him on his Twitter account (@Haider_Alleg). 

Brigitte Bellone

Head of Biosimilars Partnership Strategy and Operations Organization of Merck 

Brigitte is responsible for ensuring maximization of the deal value and minimization of the risks associated with the partnership on biosimilars with Fresenius Kabi. Brigitte brings over 25 year of leadership experience across roles in  R&D, worldwide drug safety operation leadership at local and global level,  cross business and functional program management across geographies, drug development program and partnership leadership. In the course of her 28 years at Merck she also contributed and led specific asset acquisitions and divestments, integrations and carve-outs at function and business level. Brigitte holds an executive MBA from Ashridge Business School in the UK and 2 Master’s degrees in languages & international laws and in medical languages from Paul Valéry University of Montpellier and Lumiere Lyon 2 University respectively.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Burger

Professor, University of Bern

Jürgen Burger is full professor for Translational Medicine and Entrepreneurship at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Bern/Switzerland. At the same time, he is director of the Swiss School for Translational Medicine and Entrepreneurship at sitem-insel AG, Bern. He finished his Master‘s and PhD Degree in Physics at the University of Erlangen, Germany. His professional experience includes employments at CSEM and Roche Diagnostics before he was appointed Professor for Microtechnology at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH). During this period, he set up the domain of Medical Technology in the department and study program of Microtechnology. The research collaboration with Prof. Lutz Nolte, University of Bern resulted in the foundation of the master’s program MSc Biomedical Engineering which started in 2006. In 2008, he joined Johnson&Johnson, Codman Neuro Sciences and the J&J «Center for Smart Implants and Instruments» as Head R&D Microsystems where he developed complex business models in cooperation with companies, universities and public authorities. In 2008, he received the venia docendi and in 2014, he was appointed titular professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Bern. Over the years, he received calls for a chair at the University of Sydney, the Charité and Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Stuttgart. Jürgen Burger‘s research aims at bringing innovative treatment and therapeutic/diagnostic medical systems to the patient. A special focus is on intelligent implants and surgical instruments in combination with pharmaceutical products.

Torsten Butz

Head Investment Management, CSS Insurance

Torsten Butz leads the M&A and Investment Activities of CSS Insurance, the leading Health Insurance in Switzerland. In the beginning of 2020, CSS decided to create the «SwissHealth Ventures» to invest directly in digital health startups and support innovative ideas for a high quality and cost-effective health system. The first two investments were already successfully closed last year as well.

Besides the startup investment activities, Torsten is also responsible for larger M&A Activities, such as the sale of the Enterprise portfolio to Zurich Insurance in 2020 as well.

Prior to joining CSS, Torsten worked at Cisco Systems and Mobiliar Insurance in the fields of Corporate Innovation, Technology Management and Strategy.

Torsten graduated in Physics and holds a PhD in signal processing both from EPFL.

Ata Tuna Ciftlik, Ph.D.

Founder & CEO, Lunaphore

Ata received a double-B.Sc in Mathematics and Electronics Engineering, and holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Biomedical Microfluidic Systems. After inventing its core technology during his PhD, he has co-founded Lunaphore in 2014. He has 10 years of hands-on experience in design, development, fabrication, integration and testing of clinical microfluidic systems. He authored 6 patents, 10 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and 14 in international conferences.

Ata is leading Lunaphore since its conception in 2013. As the CEO, he is directly responsible for fundraising, business development, intellectual property and general management of the company.

Angelo de Rosa

VP & General Manager, Boston Scientific

Front-end business and innovation leader in medical device technologies. Vice President & General Manager for Cardiac Devices and Electrophysiology in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Boston Scientific. Previously in charge of Strategy and Business Development at Medtronic across EMEA and Canada.

Angelo brings over 25 years of international leadership experience in the medical device business, covering General Management, Sales and Marketing, Business Development, Merger & Acquisition, Clinical responsibilities in diversified geographic areas.

He is also an entrepreneur, founder of NayaMed International and passionate for disruptive business models in healthcare. Advisory Board member of the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Joint Programme. Past President and member of the Advisory Council of the HealthTech Summit.

Angelo holds a Biomedical Engineer Degree from the University of Pisa, MBA diploma from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Continuous education from IMD in Lausanne and Harward Business School in Boston, certified Strategy Management Officer.

Tanja Dowe

CEO, Debiopharm Innovation Fund

Tanja Dowe is the CEO of Debiopharm Innovation Fund, the digital health investment arm of Debiopharm located in Lausanne, Switzerland. Passionate about transforming healthcare and pharmaceutical development through digital innovation, Tanja is constantly on the look for ambitious entrepreneurs who do not settle for status quo. During her 20 year career as an entrepreneur and international transaction & strategy consultant at Innomedica before joining Debiopharm, she worked with more than 80 medical & healthcare companies globally, giving her a broad view into product development, team building and commercial strategies that work – and some that don’t. Tanja is an experienced board member and chairwoman with a track record of successful M&A exits. MSc Tech in Applied Microbiology and Biochemistry from Helsinki University of Technology.

Hervé Lebret

Co-Head Startup Studio, Inria

Hervé graduated from Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) in 1987, SupAero (Toulouse, France) in 1989 and obtained an MS from Stanford University in 1990. He worked for the French department of defense for two years and went back to academics to obtain his PhD in electrical engineering from Université de Rennes in 1994 (with one year spent at Stanford University again). Hervé stayed in academics from 1994 to 1997 as dean of studies of the ENSTA (Paris, France) and at Onera (Palaiseau, France).

In 1997, he left the academic world to begin a new career in venture capital with Index Ventures in Geneva, Switzerland. Working at EPFL since 2004, he started as a licensing officer in the Technology Transfer Office. In mid-2005, he helped in launching and took charge of the INNOGRANTS. In 2010, Hervé became a Senior Scientist in the field of high-tech entrepreneurship and his research field concentrates on academic spin-offs, including Stanford University and Silicon Valley.

Michael Friedrich

CEO, Distalmotion

Former Founder and CEO of Aïmago (sold to Novadaq in 2014 for $12m). At Aïmago, Michael converted an early-stage technology into an FDA cleared / CE marked product with initial sales in Europe. Michael and most Aïmago investors have reinvested in Distalmotion.

Nicolas Loeillot

Chief Innovation Officer, Groupe Mutuel

Nicolas Loeillot is a senior technology entrepreneur and investor. Back in 2003, he founded a computer vision company in Japan. Pioneering in A.I. applications, his company served hundreds of projects with large companies in Japan, Asia and the US before being acquired by a GAFA in 2017.

Since 2010, he chairs the Tokyo Interaction Center, a privately-owned incubator in central Tokyo, focused on early stage deep technology start-ups. In 2018, Nicolas Loeillot joined the Swiss health insurer Groupe Mutuel as Chief Innovation Officer to setup an innovation strategy, accelerate deployments of A.I. and craft a data-driven, prevention-focused future of the company. In 2021 he joins InnoSuisse as Expert for a 4-year mandate.

Massimo Lucchina

VP Corporate Business Development and Strategic Alliance, CySec

Massimo Lucchina is a Senior Executive with large experience in High Tech, Internet and Telecom sector; currently he is VP Corporate Business Development and Strategic Alliance at CySec and Member of the Innovation Council at Innosuisse and Advisory Board Member at Bugsolutely.

Previously Massimo was at Samsung as Chief Strategy Officer and overlooking M&A activities in Europe for 4+ years and Cisco Systems for 22+ years where he had sales and channel responsibility, Corporate Innovation leader with the Technology Center, member of VoIP team to deliver 1st product on market, initiated M&A office in Europe to deliver 12 acquisitions and Head of Cisco System International in Rolle and EPFL.

Prior to Cisco he worked for Telecom Italia and for the European Space Agency. Massimo holds MsC in Electrical/Telecommunication Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.

Raphael Rollier

Head of Innovation, Swisstopo

Raphael Rollier develops and promotes digital innovation and transformation. He is currently in charge of Innovation and Product Management at swisstopo, working on topics such as geolocalisation and data science in the field of geoinformation.  Previously, in co-creation with several cities, he created a “Smart Data” tool, which turns billions of data generated by the mobile phone network into anonymized and aggregated traffic indicators. Raphael has 13 years of international marketing&sales and general management experience, having worked for Nokia. Member of the Venture Kick jury, Raphael has developed a mentoring program for start-ups at the EPFL, where he obtained a master’s in micro engineering. He also writes about the digital economy at LeTemps webpage: See blog

Ursula Oesterle

Vice President of Innovation, EPFL 

Ursula joined the EPFL as Vice President for Innovation on March 1st, 2021. 

Prior to that, Ursula spent 20 years in Silicon Valley and Asia working in open innovation and with start-ups. First, she worked in the telecom-IT industry and then in Life Science. She led digital innovation initiatives and corporate transformation programs. 

She holds a PhD in physics from EPFL. 

Jeroen Van den Oever

CFO, SUN Bioscience

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why even be here?” Steve Jobs tweeted that in 1985 (well he said it in an interview, these were the 80’s). Meet Jeroen van den Oever, leading finance and operations at SUN bioscience, the Organoid company. Straight talking Dutch financial expert trying to make a remarkable difference in the world around us. Equipped with a wicked sense of humour and a hunger to challenge the status quo he is out to improve drug development through innovation and entrepreneurship.

Founder of a regulatory technology start-up (sold in 2010) he converted an early technology project into a viable business with clients in the corporate world. Wanting to pay forward what he had learnt Jeroen started sharing his experience with start-ups and corporates alike. Jeroen’s talent was spotted at SUN bioscience that offered him the opportunity to join the company and never be bored again.

Jeroen is a licensed CPA and experienced board member. He learnt the trade in the first 12 years of his career at KPMG. For inquiries reach out to him on LinkedIn.

Ragnar Johannesson

Chief Strategy Officer, Oculis

Mr. Jóhannesson joined Oculis in 2015 from Straumur Investment Bank where he served as Managing Director Corporate Finance. Prior to joining Straumur in 2015, he worked for Islandsbanki, and its predecessor Glitnir Bank, in Corporate Finance and Business Development. He has broad sector experience, having managed and advised on transactions within multiple industries, including pharmaceuticals, venture capital, energy, financials, and various manufacturing industries. Mr. Jóhannesson’s transaction experience includes, IPOs, private placements, M&A and restructurings. Mr. Jóhannesson has a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iceland, an M.Phil in Management Science from the University of Cambridge and is a certified securities broker in Iceland.


Nathalie Virag

Distinguished Scientist, Medtronic

Nathalie Virag is a Distinguished Scientist responsible for the worldwide Strategic Partnership Program at Medtronic Corporate Science & Technology. She collaborates with international teams in the industry, academia, hospitals, and government institutions with the objective to accelerate meaningful innovation in healthcare and improve patient outcome. Nathalie has over twenty years of experience in the medical device industry where she is recognized for her ability to translate basic research concepts into medical solutions. She is also actively engaged in directing research outside Medtronic and managing public-private partnerships. She holds a Master’s degree in electrical engineering and a PhD in signal processing from EPFL. She is based at the Medtronic European Headquarter in Tolochenaz, Switzerland.

Lan Zuo Gillet

Deputy Managing Director, EPFL Innovation Park

Lan is the Deputy Managing Director of EPFL Innovation Park and an Expert of Innosuisse – the Swiss Innovation Agency.  She has 23 years of hands-on professional experience in industry as well as in the ecosystem of innovation & entrepreneurship.

Lan started her career at R&D department of Rolex, in charge of creating new computer aided design and optimisation tools in the product development process. She was later appointed as Head of Operational Planning at Pictet, working closely with a startup to design, develop and implement a management information system for group operation control. As the Managing Director of Geneva Creativity Center, she connected large corporations, SMEs, startups and researchers to initiate innovative joint R&D projects.

Currently at EPFL Innovation Park, she is leading entrepreneurship training and acceleration programs and is helping startups to establish business partnership with large corporations. Lan has a PhD degree from EPFL, an MBA from HEC Lausanne and postdoctoral applied research experience at Stanford University.

Giovanni Leo

Partner at Innogest Capital

Giovanni Leo is partner of Innogest Capital since 2018.  Prior to Innogest Giovanni was VP of R&D at St Jude Medical since the acquisition of Endosense in 2013, which he co-founded to develop a novel technology for the catheter ablation treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Formerly he was the director of the Geneva offices for Acrostak Corp., a Boston-Scientific funded medical device company that developed the only European system for vascular brachytherapy. Giovanni previously held a software quality manager position at LeCroy Corp. as well as a CERN fellowship to carry out development activity for the control system of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Giovanni earned an Executive MBA in Management and Corporate Finance from the HEC of Lausanne, following a degree in management engineering from Politecnico of Milano, Italy.

Marta Gehring

Lead, Western Switzerland at Swiss Biotech Association

Marta is a business development and marketing strategist with track record in Biotech and Medical Devices with leading multinationals and young innovators.

Following a career in marketing and commercial operations with Merck-Serono and then Medtronic, Marta has worked in woman’s health, ophthalmology, headache, hypertension, heart failure, orthobiologics, GI disease, neuropathic pain, biomarkers, digital health and the active implantables space.

Marta has extensive experience working with young innovators to bring their technologies to market. She is member of the Program Management Committee of the School for Biomedical Entrepreneurship (SITEM) of the University of Bern. where she teaches Innovation and medical marketing and sales. She also serves as Western Switzerland Liaison for the Swiss Biotech Association and is a trainer with Innosuisse at the EPFL Innovation Park

Robert Scott

Global Head of Porduct at Novartis

Robert Scott is Head of Product & Portfolio Network at the Novartis Biome. The Novartis Biome unites the best of science and technology together with ecosystem partners to create impactful healthcare solutions and patient experiences, at scale.

Previous to Novartis, Rob led Digital, Innovation & Experience Strategy for a number of life science clients at Accenture, and led digital innovation and transformation programs at Takeda and Syngenta. Previous to life sciences, Rob worked in Technology and Media.

Laura Jeanbart

Senior Scientist & Project Leader, Moleculars Partners

Laura Jeanbart is in charge of Oncology Portfolio Management, in the Partnering & Strategy Department at Molecular Partners (Zürich, Switzerland). When Laura joined Molecular Partners in 2016, Laura lead several innovative DARPin® therapeutic projects in immuno-oncology from early discovery to pre-clinical development. Prior to that, Laura contributed to the founding ideas of Cygnal Therapeutics (a Flagship VentureLabs company), which develops drugs to manipulate neural biology for the treatment of cancer and immunological conditions. During her PhD and PostDoc at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland), Laura developed nanoparticle-based cancer vaccines targeted to tumor-associated lymphoid organs (with Profs. Melody Swartz & Jeff Hubbell). Laura obtained a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in biomedical engineering from Brown University and Yale University, respectively, and was raised in Switzerland.

Lamine Mbow, Ph.D

Sr Vice President, Ichnos Sciences

Lamine is leading the New Biologics Entity (NBE) Discovery Research at Ichnos Sciences. Prior to joining Ichnos, Lamine held several leadership positions in the U.S. at Boehringer Ingelheim, the Genomics Instituteof Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) ,Novartis Vaccinesand Centocor (Janssen), where he led and advanced several molecules to clinical development in the area of autoimmune diseases. Lamine has authored and coauthored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, and is an inventor and co-inventor of several issued patents and patent applications. Heholdsa Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland and conducted his post-doctoral training at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in Fort Collins,CO and at Colorado State University.

Highly relevant to make new and valuable connections.

Marten Strotkoetter

CEO, Soleil

The workshops highlight the problem we have today to collaborate with start-ups as a corporate. The session allowed me to exchange with a lot of start-ups and other corporates, reminding me that we need to do more for the community and the collaboration.

Rana Lonnen

Managing Director, dRx Capital @Novartis

Well done on putting together the triangle stakesholders of Start-ups-Academia-Corporates with a specific vertical industry focus. We all talk about practical experiences and concepts. It helps improve my understanding what the other party is facing and it gives practical tips. It provides a great forum to share experiences and is a great opportunity for networking!

Brigitte Bellone-Normand

Head of Biosimilars Partnership Strategy & Operations, Merck Group


The workshop series helps you align and find a common ground to draft collaboration agreements. When we collaborate with academia or corporate, the agenda of a start-up is quite different. I like that the audience come from different backgrounds and there is an open discussion between the stakeholders sharing their experience and perspectives. The workshop is quite unique!

Ata Tuna Ciftlik

CEO, Lunaphore

Takeaways from the workshop for me were a better understanding what the corporate  expectations are, how they work in terms of dynamic, timelines, budget constraints and corporate structure to improve collaboration and partnerships.

Gorasundar Conley

CEO, Annaida

Start-ups bring a new and fresh perspective for disruption in innovation to corporates. The sessions provided fantastic discussion. You have to think about the other party’s perspective to understand each other more.

Tanja Dowe

CEO, Debiopharm Innovation Fund SA

Excellent course, giving a deep dive into scale-up pathways and considerations for start-ups.As a start-up, I learned a lot from the workshops – how real life works at a corporate and academia. I was able to have some great takeaways and good handon tips on how to collaborate better with the other parties.

Deana Mohr

CEO & Co-Founder, Muvon Therapeutics AG

Great to meet all the different stakeholders in one room to exchange!

Torsten Butz

Head of Investment Management, CSS Insurance


This workshops series is for high tech start-up founders, corporate senior executives and university professors / and senior scientists active in the Health sector to ensure relevant collaboration and exchanges (no service providers). Seats are limited and priority access will be given to the mentioned profiles, as we would like the exchanges and collaborations during the workshops to be as meaningful as possible to all participants.

The 5 online workshops are free and we will ask for payment to confirm your participation in the physical event on Sept. 15th 


Lan Zuo

Deputy managing Director EPFL Innovation Park

Program leader

Massimo Lucchina

Member of Innovation Council


Nicolas Loeillot

Chief Innovation Officer

Groupe Mutuel

Raphael Rollier

Head of Innovation and Product Management


Marta Gehring

Swiss Biotech Association

Lead Western Switzerland

Simone Theiss

EPFL Innovation Park

Program manager