The Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2 is one of the key instruments promoted by the European Commission for funding research and innovation in Europe. It aims to support high-potential SMEs to develop and commercialize ground-breaking products, able to shape new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide.
Preemie presented its project in the 2019 June cut-off, both in the form of a written proposal and then pitching in front of a jury of business experts and investors. The project scored an outstanding evaluation of 14.6 over 15 and was one of the 63 proposals funded amongst 2025 submitted from 40 different countries, thus succeeding with less than a 3% success rate.
Such result confirms that the European Commission strongly believes in the high innovation potential of Preemie in the fields of data analytics software, bioinformatics, and Artificial Intelligence, and in its capacity to innovate the Food and Health sectors with new AI-backed NIR systems.
The Preemie project applies the patented company’s technology in the Health sector. Each year 500,000 preterm babies are born in Europe (15 million globally) and they often have poor health, with a severe lifetime impact on their quality of life and that of their families. Inadequate nutrition is the major reason for preterm infants’ ill health since they need more nutrition than is provided by their mother’s milk. So, the milk needs to be fortified to avoid undernourishment, but the fortification typically done at hospitals does not take into account the individual differences in the human milk’s composition and the infant’s nutritional needs. This is because current tools for measuring human milk composition are expensive, labour intensive, and require specially trained personnel.
Thanks to the EU endorsement, Preemie will finally develop, certify and commercialize Preemie. This first rapid, portable, affordable, and easy-to-use system reliably measures human milk composition and automatically suggests the fortification of the milk tested, based on the infant’s necessities. The system is also able to correlate the growth of the infant with the detailed nourishment given.
Preemie also uses blockchain technology to trace the origin and confirm the authenticity of the donor’s milk. The system is poised to disrupt the existing market by allowing NICUs and milk banks to scan all donor milk and automatically suggest fortification based on each infant’s individual needs, resulting in optimal babies’ growth and health.
As confirmed by the European Commission in its evaluation, “The innovation has the potential to disrupt several markets with further applications of the technology. The product will have a significant impact in the efficiency of the existing markets”. The funding will allow Preemie to finalize the mass-production of the Preemie device, accelerate the company’s growth and further consolidate its scientific reliability and overall brand reputation amongst its customers.
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