New frontiers in digital health

New frontiers in digital health

Partnering with startups is one way G4A changes the experience of health.

For 100 days, six startups had the opportunity to further develop their health solutions with Bayer’s G4A 2018 Accelerator Program. Bayer signed collaboration agreements with five promising young companies, one of which is Canadian startup Cyclica.

Changing the experience of health – this is the ambition of the start-ups that Bayer collaborates with. As part of Bayer G4A’s (formerly Grants4Apps) 2018 Accelerator Program, six startups received funding along with more than 450 hours of mentorship from Bayer and external experts on topics such as pitching, business development, sales strategy and regulatory certification.

Zsusanna Varga

“We were very happy the Accelerator Program led to new collaborations with digital health startups that can truly impact patient care. It’s always so exciting to see the outcomes of the projects.”

One of the companies Bayer collaborated with is Canadian startup Cyclica. The company leverages artificial intelligence and computational biophysics to gain new insights into the polypharmacological profiles of small molecules. In doing so, Cyclica enhances how scientists design, screen, and personalize medicines for patients while reducing off-target side effects.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with the world-leading scientists at Bayer to advance drug discovery through a holistic set of AI-augmented technologies, and to learn from their experience and expertise to enhance our forthcoming innovation,” said Naheed Kurji, President and CEO of Cyclica.

Through a multi-phase collaboration, Cyclica provided its cloud-based proteome screening Ligand Express™ platform to investigate the off-target profiles of small molecules, and applied its novel and proprietary advanced AI technology to create state-of-the-art predictive models for pharmacokinetic properties.

Shurjeel Choudhri

“We need to continually explore technologies, foster innovation and support startups to improve patient health.”

“We know that Canadians are developing inspiring digital health ideas so we are thrilled that a Canadian startup was selected to work with Bayer to advance drug discovery using AI technologies,” said Shurjeel Choudhri, Head of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Bayer Inc.

G4A is highly collaborative as startups can further develop their projects with Bayer's expertise, and together work on digital solutions that target unmet needs of the pharmaceutical industry.

During this collaboration, Bayer scientists contributed ideas that improved the design and implementation of key components of Cyclica’s newly launched Ligand DesignTM, a first-in-class drug design technology that generates new chemical compounds with desirable multi-targeted profiles and advanced drug-like properties using a patented, evolutionary AI-algorithm.

Bayer G4A works with extraordinary people to develop new health solutions in the digital world.

Dr. Linda Zhao, Strategic Partnerships Manager of Cyclica, sharing how they are empowering pharma companies to more efficiently discover medicines for human diseases through AI technologies at the G4A Demo Day.

Meet the Cyclica Team.

Naheed Kurji

“Working with the world-class scientists at Bayer opened our minds to new ways of solving problems that are faced every day in the lab. This includes how they work with existing methodologies and data sources that are well entrenched in their established workflows.“

“The hurdle to get scientists in big pharma to move away from their classical approach requires a particular touch, and gaining those insights and feedback from Bayer allowed us to build a powerful drug design platform,” said Naheed.

The Bayer G4A team is committed to drive digital solutions in the healthcare sector. To achieve this, they engage with the brightest minds both inside and outside the organization.

“We need external partners to co-develop innovative and valuable solutions for our patients and customers,” said Zsuzanna. “Through G4A, we are able to attract the brightest minds in digital health and together push forward to new frontiers in health through cutting-edge data analytics and digital therapeutics.”

Since 2013, G4A has worked globally with over 150 promising digital health companies to foster growth and navigate the ever changing landscape of health and care. To date, G4A has supported and partnered with 26 innovative companies to tackle some of the most challenging health care needs.

To learn more about G4A visit

To read about other Canadian startups that participated in the Open Innovations Program visit

So what has happened since applications closed May 31st?

A ton! G4A is currently in the process of extensive due diligence on each application in an effort to select potential partners for workshops with Bayer challenge owners & therapeutic area experts. Approximately 4% of applicants were from Canada – up from 2% in 2018.

Applicants should STAY TUNED on Twitter @G4AHealth and close to their inbox for notification in early August. These quality, qualified, and inspiring entrepreneurs will be invited to Berlin for a 2.5 day SPRINT, during which use cases, including concrete deliverables and milestones, will be agreed upon to ensure partnership success at the end of each startup's respective cohort duration. Successful completion of these SPRINTS will result in an invitation to our G4A Signing Day ceremony on October 10th (also in Berlin) - followed by two weeks of on-boarding beginning October 14th.