Bratislava, 19th October 2021 – International acceleration program for early-stage digital healthcare ventures in CEE and Southern Europe is launching its second edition with a more ambitious program, new partners, and a wider geographical scope. The HealthCare Lab accelerator aims to connect, grow and nurture an international innovation community in order to address some of the biggest challenges in the healthcare system. The program was created by the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology leader Roche. This year, HealthCare Lab gained international support across European Roche operations. Moreover, to achieve even greater impact, Roche joined forces with EIT Health, Europe’s largest network of health innovators. HealthCare Lab, which currently covers 16 countries, is co-created with, and run by a top advisory company focused on innovations and startup support – Civitta.

Technology-driven health startups from Central, Eastern and Southern Europe get a unique opportunity to participate in a 3-month acceleration program. They will be able to further develop their ideas, gain access to international mentors, business coaches as well as potential customers and investors. The best ventures will be invited to co-develop their business with industry leaders after the program.

HealthCare Lab was created by Roche Slovakia in 2020 and has successfully supported 6 promising digital healthcare startups. The company hopes to build on the success of the first edition and expand the international community of innovators, researchers, healthcare providers and regulators to bring ground-breaking innovations in healthcare to the market faster. “As a global, innovative healthcare company, we at Roche recognize our responsibility to contribute towards bettering healthcare systems and improving patient outcomes. We believe that active partnerships with dynamically growing digital health startups is much needed to advance the delivery of innovations that have the potential to make a real difference. After a successful pilot of our acceleration program, we are thrilled to announce its second edition. Together with our much bigger network of partners and experts, we invite all participants who are eager to co-create solutions putting patients at the center of healthcare,” says Daren Wilson, CEO of Roche Slovakia.

HealthCare Lab aims to put patients at the centre
The program founding partners have identified common strategic challenges in the healthcare systems across CEE and Southern Europe which are to be addressed by digital startups. Interested startups can choose one of three categories to apply to, in order to become part of HealthCare Lab 2022.

The first area to be addressed is healthcare data management. The aim is to tackle the issue of still fragmented healthcare data and develop digital solutions to collect healthcare data from multiple sources and derive valuable insights for evidence-based healthcare decision making. How can we ensure a common, more precise, and timely diagnosis of chronic diseases to deliver better health outcomes? This is the main question of the second challenge targeted at digital solutions enabling screening and early diagnostics. The third area where new ideas are expected is digital therapeutics and disease management. The HealthCare Lab accelerator wants to contribute to finding solutions for patients and healthcare providers to better manage chronic diseases and conditions in a transparent and personalized way.

International partnership covering 16 countries
In order to leverage an extensive network of best-in-class health innovators and to help startups grow faster, the HealthCare Lab accelerator is joining forces with EIT Health. “We are thrilled to be working with Roche on the HealthCare Lab program because we share a common goal: we want to contribute to a healthier Europe by supporting great minds and talents from the emerging EU regions and outreach countries. Early stage startups with technology-driven solutions are encouraged to apply for this three-month program, which is designed with digital healthcare ventures in mind. This is a great opportunity to validate ideas and get invaluable feedback from industry experts,” says Tamas Bekasi, EIT Health InnoStars RIS Business Creation Manager.

The second edition of HealthCare Lab is expanding to a much larger geographic scale within the combined global Roche and EIT Health network. The program currently covers 16 countries in CEE and Southern Europe. Alongside Slovakia, 15 more countries with Roche and EIT Health operations – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia – join the program. Thanks to this international partnership of Roche and EIT Health, more than 30 experts and mentors will be supporting startups on a European level.

The HealthCare Lab program is run by an Estonian-based innovation advisory and startup hub Civitta – which has been the partner for Roche from the beginning of this initiative. “We believe that the biggest impact comes through innovation. Startups can play a key role in bringing new ideas, new approaches and new solutions in the healthcare sector. With innovation professionals across 16 countries, we are reaching out to healthcare innovators across Europe to apply to HealthCare Lab to grow with the help of industry leaders and experts,“ says Peter Kolesár, Partner at Civitta Slovakia.

How will the HealthCare Lab accelerator work?
Registration for HealthCare Lab opens on 19th October 2021 via with an applications kick-off information event live streamed on 4th November. Eligible are all registered companies from CEE and Southern Europe with a team of at least two people, functional solution prototype and funding up to 5M EUR. During the selection bootcamp, held at the beginning of December, HealthCare Lab experts will pick 9 startups which will participate in the acceleration program starting in January 2022.

In the course of the 3-month program selected startups will gain the opportunity to develop their projects with support of the international network of Roche, EIT Health and top healthcare business mentors. The program will combine workshops, one-on-one mentoring and dedicated coaching sessions, along with networking and matchmaking events. Healthcare Lab will conclude with a final Demo Day in April 2022 and a selection of winners in each challenge.

More information about HealthCare Lab as well as the registration form are available at

About Roche
Roche is a pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, focused on advances in science and improving people’s lives. The combined power of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof has made Roche a leader in personalized healthcare – possessing a strategy to find the right and appropriate treatment for every single patient.
Roche is the largest biotechnology company in the world, offering truly differentiated drugs in the fields of oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and central nervous system diseases. Roche is also a world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and tissue diagnostics of cancer, as well as a pioneer in diabetes management.

Roche was founded in 1896 and since then has continued to look for ways to best prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and benefit society. The company’s goal is to improve patients’ access to healthcare innovation with the help of all relevant parties. More than thirty drugs developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs, including life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and oncology drugs. In addition, Roche has received recognition eleven times in a row from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) as one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in more than 100 countries with a staff of approx. 98,000 people worldwide in 2019. In 2019, Roche invested CHF 11.7 billion in research and development and reported sales of CHF 61.5 billion. Genentech in the USA is owned completely by Roche. Roche is also the majority owner of Chugai Pharmaceutical shares in Japan. For more information, visit

About EIT Health
EIT Health is a network of best-in-class health innovators with approximately 150 partners and is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. We collaborate across borders to deliver new solutions that can enable European citizens to live longer, healthier lives.

As Europeans tackle the challenge of increasing chronic diseases and multi-morbidity, and seek to realise the opportunities that technology offers to move beyond conventional approaches to treatment, prevention and healthy lifestyles, we need thought leaders, innovators and efficient ways to bring innovative healthcare solutions to market.

EIT Health addresses these needs. We connect all relevant healthcare players across European borders – making sure to include all sides of the “knowledge triangle”, so that innovation can happen at the intersection of research, education, and business for the benefit of citizens. For more information, visit

CIVITTA is an innovation advisory firm with a mission to be a catalyst for the new economy. CIVITTA helps startups grow and scale; universities to commercialize R&D; corporations to build and accelerate innovation inside the company, and governments to build innovation communities and ecosystems. CIVITTA runs leading startup acceleration programs in CEE such as Ajujaht, Challenger or HealthCare Lab. Headquartered in Estonia and with a team of 350 innovators working across 18 countries, the company has a track record of bringing change across sectors with a holistic and hands-on approach to innovation projects. CIVITTA covers the entire innovation cycle from funding to scaling. For more information, visit