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Elsa Science: digital therapeutics


In 2017, almost 20 million people were living with rheumatoid arthritis, and there are more than a million new cases diagnosed each year. “Our goal is to help people living with a chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis to live life to its fullest,” says, Sofia Svanteson, CEO and co-founder of Elsa Science, “because rheumatoid arthritis generally results in a poorer quality of life and this is something we want to improve through research, education and motivational support.”

Sofia has been working in the field of digital solutions for many years: “Mobile devices have always fascinated me but I have never been interested in technology for the sake of technology; rather in how it can solve problems for humans so we can improve our lives.” Healthcare is a case in point, so Sofia teamed up with Lars Klareskog, Professor of rheumatology, and Lars Alfredsson, Professor of epidemiology, to found Elsa Science, bringing technology and science together.

Health-care providers and the pharma industry agree that great knowledge could be gained by understanding how people feel and act between hospital visits, in their actual everyday lives. This is where Elsa Science comes in. The company offers software-driven cognitive behavioural therapy interventions by means of a digital companion with which users can track their symptoms, habits and medication, to better understand how these correlate. After setting up a personal plan, the application guides patients through their everyday life. “We have designed health programmes, endorsed by healthcare professionals that provide self-management techniques to better cope with the illness,” she explains.

Bringing a prototype to market isn’t done overnight however. “In healthcare, things take time,” Sofia adds. “Healthcare practitioners trust evidence. For that, you need clinical trials and they are both costly and time-consuming.” With strong interest from patients, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies alike, Elsa received a boost in the form of an equity investment from Norrsken, a venture capital fund backed by the EIF through the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe, that set them on their way. “We’re only just commercialising now. We’re going to have to wait a while for revenue streams to come through.” Elsa now has 2500 users, mainly in Sweden but Sofia and her team are looking beyond their borders, at the rest of Europe and the US as ultimately, her goal is to put science into the hands of millions through the power of technology.

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Financial Intermediary: Norrsken

SME: Elsa Science (Sweden)

Sector: healthcare, medtech

Number of employees: 21

Financing purpose: product development

EIF financing: InnovFin Equity, EFSI sub-window 1 

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Sweden, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/se


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