Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University’s jointly run MedTech Accelerator tapped six startups for its inaugural cohort this week, including makers of wearables, apps and monitoring devices.
The announcement caps a nationwide competition to find promising early stage medical device and healthcare technology companies and help them develop individually tailored business plans, license intellectual property and sponsor research and clinical studies.
The first group of companies, which had to pay $50,000 to join the accelerator, are participating in an immersion program at the Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus through May 3 before continuing the program remotely.
While digital health funding has boomed, the amount of venture capital deals with early stage medical device companies has trended downward. According to data from Vantage, there were fewer than 200 medtech venture rounds in 2018, despite overall funding dollars holding relatively steady.
The new accelerator, part of the Mayo Clinic ASU Alliance for Health Care, aims to provide an opportunity for companies that have already raised at least $500,000 in seed funding to gain greater access to investors and go-to-market opportunities.
The choice of participants reflects current interest in areas such as artificial intelligence and remote patient monitoring and adherence. While big names like Verily and Fitbit are also interested in some of these areas, personalized assistance and backing from Mayo Clinic could give the startups a leg up in the increasingly crowded health IT field.
Though the Arizona accelerator didn't open its first round of applications until January this year, Mayo Clinic's previous startup-oriented programs have produced technologies like an AI-enabled beside patient rescue device, co-developed with Jvion.
Together with Omron Health, Mayo Clinic also led a $30 million funding round in 2017 for AI-powered stroke prevention platform AliveCor.
And in February, the system announced a strategic collaboration with technology, engineering and science services provider Leidos to develop products and services within its Life Sciences incubator in Jacksonville, Florida.
Chosen to participate in the first class of the accelerator program are:
BioInteractive Technologies, a Vancouver area startup developing a wearable device and protocols for hand and wrist therapy during sports medicine rehabilitation.
GYANT, a San Francisco-based firm bringing together artificial intelligence with messaging and medical experts to diagnose and treat non-emergent conditions.
Hexoskin, the Montreal developer of an AI and analytics-driven shirt that connects to a remote patient monitoring platform for in-home rehabilitation.
Life365., a remote patient monitoring company in Tempe, Arizona, focused on improving patient adherence to care plans in post-acute settings.
Safe, a Los Angeles-based sexual health app offering low-cost testing, information sharing and related wellness education.
Securisyn, a Highlands Ranch, Colorado maker of a device that stabilizes the airways of ventilated patients to reduce unnecessary extubations.
Mayo said the program will be completed within six to 12 months, at which point companies will be offered incentives to stay and work in Arizona.