What if you could predict illnesses in the future and be able to obtain advice now how to prevent it?

E-Healthcare is a relatively recent healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication.

At the Silicon Valley meets Switzerland event, we focus on the use of artificial intelligence (A.I.) by analyzing the huge amount of data within medical applications.

The idea is not so much to replace the doctor but to enhance the doctor’s medical expertise. For patients, that means that they have access to not just one doctor, but to the brainpower of hundreds of thousands of them. Also, it will be available to just about anybody in the most remote areas as well.

Application areas include, e.g. using deep learning to better analyze radiographs, CT and MRI scans or to accelerate drug discovery (cure for cancer), to support surgeons with robotics or to analyze human DNA for personalized medical treatments and issues.

Big Data is also helping in the fight against the spread of epidemics. In Africa, mobile phone location data is proving highly valuable in efforts to track population movements, which helps to predict the spread of the Ebola virus.

At the event, many more applications will be shown by some of the leading technology companies and most promising start-ups from Silicon Valley. In Switzerland, there are also exciting developments going on in this field and we will have demonstrated this with successful projects, products and business launches.


Program (Preliminary)

Introduction – use of A.I. in e-healthcare

Why is e-healthcare and the use of A.I. such an exciting field?

by Prof. Dr. Ernst Hafen, Deputy head of Institute for Molecular Systems Biology, ETH Zürich

E-Healthcare projects from Switzerland

E-Healthcare projects from Silicon Valley

  • HealthTap
  • Enlitic
  • Intuitive Surgical
  • Atomwise
  • 23andMe
  • Clover Health
  • ...

Panel discussion


Philip van Hövell

Academic Background

  • qualified actuary (SAV) (statistics), ETH Zurich
  • MSc in mathematical finance, University of Konstanz

Professional background

Philip is a Senior Manager in the Risk & Modelling team and joined PwC Switzerland in April 2011. In his first years at PwC, Philip gained practical experience on the use & implementation of mathematical models in the insurance and banking industry. This allowed him to link academic precision with business usage and limited budget. For some time now, Philip is managing teams on large scale quant projects running business-as-usual.

Since >2 years now, Philip has developed a bio-statistical team at PwC and manages quant projects within the Pharma & Life Science industry. Primarily focusing on multiple sclerosis, Philip designed and managed the project on building an innovative tool to predict therapies for individual patients (PHREND). As part of this on-going collaboration, Philip developed an innovative data-driven business model to monetize the value created.

Project experience / Relevant work experience

  • 7+ years of experience for advanced analytics
  • Member of Risk & Modeling Team (as part of Data & Analytics)
  • allrounder" -> academic experience within a large set of methods
  • Experience (since 2011): Qualified Actuary -> actuarial modeling experience -> managed model validations within large reinsurers/insurers/banks
  • Experience (since 2+ years): Digitization of neurology physicians - designing a tool & business model that supports doctors in therapy decision making for MS patients (personalised medicine) - managing project and all stakeholders -> long term cooperation
  • lead for a number of RWE related projects within pharma for MS

    Leading a team of (bio)-statisticians

Prof. Dr. Ernst Hafen

Ernst Hafen obtained his PhD from the Biocenter at the University of Basel in 1983. From 1984 to 1986 he worked at the University of California in Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow before joining the University of Zurich as an assistant professor in 1987. He was promoted to full professor in 1997. From 2005 to 2006 he served as president of ETH Zurich. Since 2005 he holds a professorship at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at ETH Zurich.

Ernst Hafen has made several seminal contributions to the field of developmental biology and cell biology including the characterization of genes and the corresponding signaling pathways involved in cell fate specification and in the control of cell and body size. He has received several prizes and has served on the Editorial Boards of various journals and scientific committees. He is a co-founder of evalueSCIENCE, a privately held consulting company that offers reviews and second opinions on R&D projects by a standardized peer review process to life science companies, academic institutions and investors.

In 2008 he initiated the multidisciplinary systems biology project WingX - The Systems Biology of the Drosophila Wing. This project is funded by the Systems Biology Initiative SystemsX.ch. Researcher from biology, physics, engineering and computer science form ETH, EPFL, and the Universities of Zürich, Basel and Lausanne collaborate towards a predictive computer model of the development of the Drosophila wing, an simple and well understood structure.

As a trained geneticist he has a strong interest in human genetics and personalized medicine. He posits that an individual’s control over his or her personal health data will be a key asset for better and more effective health care. In 2012 he acted as a founding member of the Association Data and Health (DatenundGesundheit.ch) whose aim it is to discuss legal, ethical and societal issues about health data ownership and to find commercial models permitting owners not third parties to benefit from their personal data assets.

Ernst Hafen serves as the president of the Biotechnopark Zürich-Schlieren. He seeks and supports more efficient ways of translating scientific discoveries into products. In 2009 he initiated together with colleagues from the Leiden Medical Center and Oxford University the EU Regions of Knowledge Project Health Technology and Economic Success (HealthTIES). The aim of this project is to analyze and coordinate the innovation cycle from basic scientific discovery in biomedical research to products on the market via the technology transfer and industry partnering process. He participated in developing novel assessment instruments to measure productivity and efficiency of the different regions in Reasearch, Tochnology Transfer and Industry Output.

Philipp Tholen

Philipp has a bachelor degree in mechanical and process engineering and a master’s degree in Management, Technology and Economics, both from ETH Zurich.

He started his career in the marketing department of Porsche AG in Stuttgart. Thereafter, he joined an international corporation active the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

After two years, Philipp took over responsibility of their newly created medical division. In 2011, Philipp became managing director of the company’s business in South Africa.

After three years in Johannesburg, Philipp joined the Ava team. He is currently responsible for product management and operations.