The Munich startup Virtonomy wants to get medical products ready for the market faster. To do so, the healthcare startup offers support with data-driven clinical tests on virtual patients. CEO Simon Sonntag tells us how that works and how things are going for the Werk1 startup.
Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourself!
Simon Sonntag, Virtonomy: I’m Simon Sonntag (34), CEO and co-founder of Virtonomy. I studied applied mathematics at TU Munich with a focus on medical image processing and medical engineering and then completed my doctorate at RWTH Aachen in the field of cardiovascular technology. We also have a strong team with many years of experience in the fields of software development, deep learning, medical engineering, finance and management.
Studies on virtual patients
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Simon Sonntag: Here at Virtonomy, we reduce the time to market launch of medical products with data-driven studies on virtual patients and by doing so are initiating the digital implementation of classic experiments in a lab on animals and humans. Our solution is based on a continuously expanding database to digitally portray the anatomical variation, demographic diversity and pathological conditions of the patient population. Clinical studies are getting more and more expensive, and our mission is to significantly reduce the development costs for vital medical devices and to further accelerate medical innovations.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Simon Sonntag: It actually is. Many established companies and startups in the field of digital health and artificial intelligence concentrate on digital solutions for hospitals, for instance in radiology. We have a different target group, namely implant manufacturers and digital approval methods using computer-based simulations. This is a very new market, yet it also has enormous potential and opportunities for growth.
The corona crisis presents opportunities for Virtonomy
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Simon Sonntag: The current corona crisis obviously presents us with several challenges. That being said, you should always view every challenge as an opportunity. For example, the current situation reaffirms the relevance of our digital solutions to virtually test medical products and put them on the market faster.
Another challenge, as is the case for every startup, is financing. We have the advantage that we already have paying customers and revenue as a result. For scaling, however, we depend on investors, which is an even greater challenge in the current situation.
Munich Startup: Where do you see your business in one year, and where in five years?
Simon Sonntag: In one year, we want to have migrated our product, which has already been successfully tested on the market, to a scalable, cloud-based infrastructure. In five years, we want to be the market leader in the digitization of clinical studies with virtual patients. We’re always looking for the right partners and investors for just that.
“Munich can hold its own as a startup location”
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Simon Sonntag: The developments in recent years in Munich are impressive. Munich can now absolutely hold its own as a startup location on an international level. That is particularly thanks to UnternehmerTUM, Werk 1, Bits&Pretzels and the LMU Accelerator. We are very happy to be a part of this community.
Munich Startup: Apple or Android?
Simon Sonntag: Android, I actually don’t own a single Apple product.