Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Luminate Medical wins EIT Health Catapult audience choice award

27th May 2022

This year’s EIT Health Catapult competition crowned Galway-based Luminate Medical champions of the ‘Alex Casta Audience Award,’ with the team also coming second in the MedTech category. Catapult is an EIT Health pitching competition that exposes high-potential European start-ups to world-class experts and investors. EIT Health is Europe’s largest health innovation network and the Catapult competition took place at the EIT Health Summit in Stockholm this week.

Now, in its seventh year, Catapult has already supported 231 start-ups with over 400 actively involved investors and 2500 healthcare professionals committed to the programme’s success. The competition brings new levels of exposure and opportunity for contenders seeking to solutions that can improve the lives of patients and citizens in Europe. Two winners from the 2020 competition recently celebrated major acquisitions, such as PhagoMed, which was acquired by BioNTech, and Patchai, acquired by US-based Alira Health.

Representing the best in European healthcare innovation across biotech, medtech and digital health, nine finalists pitched their business concepts to an audience of experts and investors in hopes of securing funding from EIT Health.

After an impactful pitch, Luminate Medical was awarded second place prize in the MedTech category. The team then went on to win the ‘Alex Casta Audience Award,’ which is voted on live by the EIT Health Catapult audience attending the Summit. Using a portable technology called “Lily”, the Irish med-tech start-up looks to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss. As part of the award, Luminate Medical will have its logo displayed along with a message of congratulations on the Nasdaq Tower in New York’s Times Square, where it will be seen by millions worldwide.

Barbara Oliveira, Co-Founder and CTO at Luminate, said during her acceptance speech, “I’m really proud that so many of you voted for us and believe in what we’re trying to achieve. I said before it’s a team effort and it really is. I can’t wait to take the team to visit New York as we celebrate this beautiful award. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, our mentors, and the team at Luminate.”


This audience-selected accolade was established after Dr. Alex Casta, an advocate of EIT Health, suddenly passed away during the EIT Health Summit in 2018. Previous winners include Triumf Health from Estonia, and Poland’s Uvera. Uvera’s CEO, Magdalena Jander, later went on to be included in the prestigious ‘Women of the Year’ list by Forbes in 2021.

Kurt Höller, Director of Business Creation, EIT Health, commented: “This year’s Catapult competition celebrated the incredible innovations of some of Europe’s most cutting-edge start-ups and we are extremely proud to recognise a cohort of nine distinguished finalists. The impressive pitches which demonstrated robust business concepts, creativity, and tenacity gives us hope that the future of healthcare innovation in Europe is indeed bright.”

Winner of Catapult’s MedTech category was Spanish start-up Lueko, with Cambridge-based SolasCure crowned the winner in biotech. Germany’s Ebenbuild won in digital health, with Brightlobe coming in second. Finalist runners up include Ireland’s Amara Therapeutics, and Feeltect.

The EIT Health Summit, where the Catapult finalists competed, took place at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, on May 24th and 25th. The event brought together world-class experts who delivered a rich and diverse programme of talks, creating a vision designed to drive the future sustainability and resilience of healthcare services.

Learn more about the EIT Health Catapult competition, and apply for 2023.

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