Discover the Global Head of Opinno Healthcare – #BHHMembersInitiatives

Just because 4YFN is over, it doesn’t mean that you’ve missed your chance to explore the innovative solutions presented at the BHH Stand.

One of the companies you could meet was BHH member Opinno Healthcare, daughter company of Opinno. It is a global innovation firm borned in Silicon Valley in 2008, that transforms organizations using innovative methodologies designed by entrepreneurs. Opinno has consolidated an ecosystem that includes leading experts in innovation and technology from all over the world, as well as editing the Spanish version of the MIT Technology Review magazine. Opinno Healthcare is the Center of Excellence in digital health and pharmaceutical industry within Opinno, with a perfect mix of expertise in both the healthcare sector and innovation consulting.

Barcelona Health Hub met with Xavier Contijoch, Global Head of Opinno Healthcare, upon their participation on 4YFN last month.

Xavier, can you please introduce yourself and tell us about Opinno?

Good morning, it is great to be here. I am a telecommunications engineer with a broad experience in digital and innovation consulting within the pharmaceutical sector. Additionally, I am advisor of different startups and I have led different Venture Building projects within Opinno, building ad-hoc startups for different corporations. As you can see, I have quite an entrepreneurships (or intrapreneurship) mindset.

After 7 years working for different technological companies, I decided to join Opinno (back in 2017) and soon became appointed Director of the Barcelona office, currently Opinno Healthcare.

Some facts about Opinno: acronym of OPen INNOvation, all in all we are around 300 “Opinners” distributed in 11 cities and 8 countries. Spain (Barcelona, Madrid), Italy (Milan, Rome), Latin America (México, Perú, Ecuador, Argentina) and the Middle East (Dubai), between others.

Regarding Opinno Healthcare, the first vertical of Opinno, we are specialised in the healthcare sector providing high quality services to our customers around the globe in 5 main areas of expertise: Market Insights, Digital Health Service Design, Ecosystem-based Innovation, Corporate Transformation and Content Creation.

Can you elaborate a bit more around those 5 areas?

Sure. Our approach is being an end-to-end solution provider for our customers. We organise ourselves in multi-disciplinary teams, where business consultants, engineers and designers bring different skills together to ensure the success of the projects we are involved in.

  • In the area of market insights, we identify and process key information from the market where a strategic initiative wants to be developed.
  • In digital health service design, we detect opportunities based on needs/challenges and design digital solutions/ therapies together with the business and market-access plans.
  • Ecosystem-based innovation positions us as enablers for companies to become exponential through Open Innovation and Corporate Venturing, and to coach and pilot technology solutions if required.
  • Corporate transformation allows companies to develop entrepreneurial programs for their employees, undergo a cultural and/or digital transformation of move into the agile way of working.
  • Content creation encompasses our branding, content generation and communications plan design services, which are very much demanded by our clients to ensure the information is correctly transmitted both internally and externally.

Our approach is to build an expert team in the healthcare sector and excellent service designers. This combination provides Opinno Healthcare with a profound knowledge about how the sector operates to anticipate our client’s needs, and provide them with solutions that meet their real goals. Besides that, we combine our team’s abilities and enthusiasm with an expert council that brings in the know-how in different areas.

Consorcio DTx is a great example for picturing our approach. Last year, we launched this project as a strategic alliance of leading organizations that aims at boosting the regulation of digital therapeutics to facilitate their access to the Spanish market for medical devices.

BHH was glad to see you present at the digital health area of Barcelona Health Hub. Could you share why you decided to join Barcelona Health Hub at 4YFN?

As a strategy and innovation consultancy, it is in our DNA to be connected to the ecosystem, so we are glad to relate to the different stakeholders that are part of this great initiative. Startups are a key player in both our Digital Health Service Design unit and in our Open Innovation programs for ecosystem-based innovation, inspiring us to keep track of what is coming ahead.

The BHH helps us growing this database of startups and other relevant players within the healthcare ecosystem, such as care facilities, corporations, patient associations, and nurture our value proposition to keep evolving into the right direction.

You also participated in the #BHHPanel about “Investing in the future of healthcare”. Can you tell us what was your key message at the panel?

Taking the best decisions around where to invest has always been a key factor in the implementation of new technologies and, subsequently, of a country development. This is also true in the pharma sector, where blockbusters have always came hand in hand with huge investments. These days, companies find themselves with the necessity of deciding where to invest, and the variety is so huge that I do not want to be in certain CEO’s position… AI, Metaverse, DTx… the spectrum is so big that, probably, diversification may be the best option, but we also know this comes at a cost. Our area of specialization is digital health so we were talking about the opportunities and the barriers this area will bring to the healthcare sector in the coming years. In fact, the main obstacles in most countries are the lack of regulation, an unclear path towards reimbursement and the poor evidence generation guidelines. We work closely with our clients to overcome these barriers, but there is still a long way to go to implement digital health solutions (in particular reimbursed ones) at scale.

What were you excited about those days at the 4YFN conference?

We were excited to meet both innovators within the healthcare sector trying to bring their technologies and ideas into the market and companies willing to invest. We are always inspired by alternative and innovative ways implemented by innovators and startups when commercializing innovative solutions. Also, there were many panels that I attended! There were great topics and presentations that triggered our vision.

What are you doing as founders of Consorcio DTx, and what are the players that are part of the Consorcio?

As one of the founding partners of the Consorcio DTx, we have the mission of leasing the initiative and oversee the strategy to work together with the Administration and other relevant stakeholders to ease and speed-up the market adoption of digital therapies in Spain.

We work together with 6 co-founding partners: Angelini Pharma, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Grupo Ferrer, Merck Group and Pfizer, and other kinds of companies such as health insurances, technological and telecommunication companies, startups, public institutions and innovation ecosystems as partners to define the necessary steps towards the development of a regulation framework and an evaluation model to facilitate the path towards reimbursement in Spain.

What is the importance of the startups and the innovation ecosystem in this Consorcio DTx?

Well, startups need clarity on the path towards reimbursement in order to develop their solutions with a certain peace of mind. They want to co-create together with pharmaceutical companies to joint forces and reach similar goals in a partnership approach.

Startups tell us they see the Consorcio DTx as an enabler for this to happen, and that’s why we receive almost every week some requests to join the initiative. Needless to say, our doors are always open: the more we are, the more we spread the message and higher the impact in society.

What role should the pharmaceutical industry and the public administration play in the development and implementation of DTx in Spain to help this emerging market?

Pharmaceutical companies are the ones who concentrate the knowledge around the therapeutical needs, as well as the market access/ regulatory aspects required for reimbursements to occur. Additionally they have a large field force with a privilege access to prescribers and their needs, so they can do a great contribution when commercializing digital solutions. Finally, they usually have access to large budgets that startups lack.

On the other side, startups have a deep knowledge about digital technologies and can react much faster to the market needs, producing useful solutions in an agile and flexible manner. Thus, combining the agility and technological capacities of the startup together with the commercial/financial resources and industrial knowledge of pharmaceutical companies, can be a great strategy to bring digital solutions to the market.

The main barrier is that startups and corporations are “different kind of animals” with different timings and approaches, therefore achieving fruitful collaborations requires of an external partner that ensures all requirements are fulfilled. Here is where Opinno takes action with its specific knowledge and strategic vision.

Is there anything else you want to share with us?

I just want to thank BHH for powering connections between different stakeholders in the healthcare sector and for believing that innovation is a key element for a country to develop. And, of course, thank you for having had me and Opinno Healthcare at 4YFN 2023.

If you want to know more about what happened at the 2022 edition of 4YFN, read the Highlights of the Barcelona Health Hub HERE.