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MRANTI intensifies efforts to accelerate healthtech innovation

September 29, 2023
Digital News Asia
5 mins read
  • AWS collaboration strengthens capability building and market access
  • Regulatory framework for sandboxing medical devices to be released soon
A VC panel during the MRANTI-AWS organised HealthTech Connect in early Sept in Kuala Lumpur.
A VC panel during the MRANTI-AWS organised HealthTech Connect in early Sept in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) embarked on yet another initiative to accelerate the pace of healthtech innovation development for the country.

In collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), in early Sept, the two organisations launched HealthTech Connect 2023 aimed at supporting healthcare innovators with capacity building and market access opportunities.

More than 200 participants from Malaysia and around the region convened at a two-day event which explored available cloud computing technologies and solutions surrounding regulatory compliance - including data interoperability, sharing, protection and security.

Featuring speakers from the Ministry of Health and Hospitals Cluster, experts in medico legal and industry leaders others discussed the readiness and challenges for healthtech in public, university, and private settings - including available resources and infrastructure to power various healthcare and life science solutions with emerging technologies such as generative Artificial Intelligence.

The event also drew venture capitalists (VC) who highlighted regional prospects, trends, opportunities and best practices on how they nurture healthtech companies. They also discussed the dynamic interplay between innovation and investment that is reshaping the future of health. 10 healthtech companies also pitched for funding from seed stage to Series B.

“As one of the most heavily regulated industries, we realise the importance of bringing the key players together to accelerate the commercialisation of local solutions. This is the first of many engagements that we will be running for the healthtech ecosystem - given the overwhelming response and positive outcomes,” said Khairil Anuar Sadat Salleh, Acting Chief Executive Officer of MRANTI.

“The collaboration with AWS is an extension of MRANTI’s capacity building programmes, and adds to various efforts we have put in place to strengthen the value chain in the healthtech space,” he added.

HealthTech Connect 2023 also commemorates the one year anniversary of the launch of the HealthTech Hub last year with MRANTI as the secretariat for the initiative.

Sandbox sites, market access programmes and more for innovators

Khairil explained that MRANTI is working hard to offer comprehensive support for healthtech innovators - from facilities at MRANTI Park, sandbox sites, partnerships and more.

“One in four applications for the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) program is related to medical and health - making it the highest areas of interest and opportunity for Malaysia. This was one of the compelling reasons MRANTI launched the HealthTech Hub Sandbox last year with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to enable more prototyping in live environments,” he said. Through the NTIS, several local companies have since commercialised their solutions for private hospitals and the Ministry of Health.

“There are now 12 hospital testbed sites currently - up from 6 last year, with more expected soon,” he shared. A novel community sandbox program for testing healthcare technologies at points-of care in rural areas is also slated for launch in the coming months.

“More test bed opportunities, means more learning, and this not only opens the door for new ideas, but also fast-tracks our chances for success,” said Khairil.

Joint MOH-MOSTI effort to accelerate commercialisation from sandbox efforts

Meanwhile, a joint committee between MOH and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) has been examining approaches to accelerate the commercialisation and go-to-market process of medical devices based on the results and findings from validation and testing conducted through the Sandbox. The regulatory framework is expected to streamline both market, technology and regulatory validation in parallel or at one go, instead of it being a sequential process currently.

In tapping into international circuits, Malaysian innovators can apply through MRANTI to participate in AstraZeneca’s global A.Catalyst Network  for access to clinical validation, funding, and market opportunities.

MRANTI has also formalised an alliance with EAHSN - the innovation arm of the National Health Service (NHS) United Kingdom - to enable local innovators to emulate best practices, and gain access to clinical validation and market opportunities in the UK. Concurrently, MRANTI is working with several local and international entities to improve affordability and accessibility of healthcare through the use of diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.

In terms of capacity building, MRANTI offers Design Thinking, Bootcamp and Accelerator programmes and facilities for prototyping and testing at MRANTI Park. This includes a 5G Experience Centre for proof-of-concepts and 5,000 sq ft well-equipped Makers Lab, amongst others. There is also a 10-acre healthtech area being developed to advance the health and well-being of Malaysians.

For more updates about MRANTI’s Healthtech initiatives, email: healthtech@mranti.my

MOSTI Minister Chang Lih Kang at the launch of MRANTI's 5G Experience Centre.
MOSTI Minister Chang Lih Kang at the launch of MRANTI's 5G Experience Centre.