The patient platform of mama health is listening instead of asking questions

Katharina Kittelberger

Startup Stories

Alternatives in disease treatment are more important than ever. In particular, diseases such as those caused by the newly developed coronavirus (COVID-19) have made this clear in the past. The health startup mama health, founded in 2022 in Berlin, Germany, sees opportunities in particular in the exchange of experiences of patients suffering from the same disease to produce better treatment options such as for Long COVID. Because although medical instructions from doctors’ help, the experiences of people who have lived through an illness, complementing the treatment prescribed by doctors, have an enormously high impact. 

In this context, the young startup developed a peer-to-peer interaction platform where patients can share their stories, interact with like-minded people and access the collected information from the community. 

The innovative solution pitched at our 5-HT X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma" by Mattia Marco Caruson, Co-founder and CEO, impressed the audience attending the event so much that around 200 guests voted for the young startup and Mattia received the audience award. To this, Mattia recalls, "The event was a great opportunity for us to network and gather ideas from pharma experts."

In the interview with 5-HT, Mattia talks about the motivation, the solution as well as the future visions of mama health and explains where the team sees opportunities in the cooperation with 5-HT.

COVID-19 as a motivation for the foundation of mama health 

The Corona pandemic created a lot of uncertainty not only for Mattia, but also among his co-founders Jonas Witt, CMO, and Dr. Adriatik Nikaj, CTO. "Like the rest of the world, we wondered what would happen if we too got infected with the new type of virus. It quickly occurred to us that the best possible treatment could be built on the experience of the very people who are currently affected by the disease." 

It didn't take long for the team to realize that their solution went far beyond the coronavirus: "There are thousands of previously untreated chronic diseases around the world that even doctors don't know the answer to. However, it is clear to us that future treatment options should be based on the experiences of patients who have lived through a specific disease. 

With our platform, we help people not only learn from each other, but also support each other." 

mama health focuses on patients and research 

Startups with similar solutions start from a medical research question before asking patients how they feel. The approach of mama health is completely different: "In our opinion, it is not patient-centric to already know the research question and to empirically collect information based on this. 

That's why our vision is "listening instead of asking questions." In concrete terms, this means that we go to the relevant patients and ask them about their story. Based on the data generated in this way, we think about possible ways of treatment based on the needs and challenges of this very individual. Ultimately, we generate insights for research from this using the bottom-up principle."

Patients as users, pharmaceutical companies as enablers 

"The users of our platform are exclusively patients. Since we ourselves do not have the resources to develop new drugs, we aim to collaborate with players from the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. On the one hand, this provides us with the financial basis for our work, and on the other, it's how we help pharmaceutical and healthcare companies figure out how to improve specific drugs or treatments." 

This benefits the patient twice over, because on the one hand the patient is helped in his or her current situation, and on the other hand the optimized solutions are also ensured for future patients. In summary, Mattia emphasizes, "Only when the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries truly understand the needs of patients can medicines be improved, thereby further enhancing patients' quality of life."

The team of mama health

mama health as winner at the X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma"

For Mattia, the big advantage of the event was that the group of ten presenting startups was filtered in advance by 5-HT: "In the startup world, it is very time-consuming to get in touch with people from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. Just one of the reasons of this is that the big companies from this sector are almost flooded by a wide variety of startups.

At the 5-HT event, the specialties of the startups were clear and the corporate speed daters in attendance had the intention themselves to discover new startup solutions."

Through this, mama health had the full attention of the corporates, which gave them the opportunity to understand exactly where the pharmaceutical and healthcare companies' problem sets lie and come up with solutions that improve patient treatments.  

"It was really incredible," Mattia adds.

A look into the future and how 5-HT can help to shape it  

"We started with COVID-19, and we are now focusing on a wide variety of cancers. The next step will be to expand our approach, which has been proven to work, to as many chronic diseases as possible."

In order to continue to live up to this claim, mama health needs additional support from the pharmaceutical and healthcare world: "This is exactly where we see the opportunities in the collaboration with 5-HT, because your support enables us to get in touch with people from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry more quickly. 

This is why we value your work so much, because your platform brings the relevant players to the table, through which innovations can be advanced more quickly. Together, this can improve patients' lives, which should always be everyone's goal."

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