Big health companies invest in safe ideas that apply to a large population. There is little interest or effort put into “orphan” research – efforts to find treatments for small disease issues. It is heartening to see that a The Health Lab is trying to address this gap. The Health Lab (www.TheHealthLab.com)—a Manhattan-based health-tech incubator with a soul—announced that it is accepting applications for a dedicated and concentrated mentorship program that includes potential seed capital funding and assistance in writing and submitting proposals for research grants in addition to a wide range of entrepreneurial support services.
Two or three startup projects, each of which could be led by a single health-tech entrepreneur or a team of entrepreneurs, will be accepted for The Health Lab’s inaugural 2015 session on a rolling admissions basis.
“The Health Lab collaborates with innovators and entrepreneurs to create sustainable, commercially viable businesses that solve health-related problems,” says The Health Lab founder Dr. Charles Platkin. “Our goal is to fully support innovators who tackle an exceptional, untapped opportunity related to health and wellness. We do this by providing concentrated and dedicated mentorship to help navigate the unique challenges of a startup.”
A key differentiator for The Health Lab is a focus on projects that are designed to solve problems in underserved areas as well as in the general population are preferred. So too are innovators with personal connections to the problems they’re aiming to solve—for example, having a certain disease or having had to care for someone with the illness.
Startups in practically all stages of development are welcome—from well-thought-out ideas still in their presentation stages to proof-of-concept prototypes.
“Anyone can apply,” Platkin emphasizes. “We widen the funnel of applicants in order to give any potentially great health-tech entrepreneur a real chance to innovate health using technology.”
The Health Lab’s interest areas include: analytics and big data; adherence and compliance; care coordination; clinical decision support; electronic health/medical records (EHR/EMR) enhancement; consumer engagement; consumer health; digital medical devices; wearables; and biosensing.
In contrast with traditional business incubators that define success based on capital formation, The Health Lab is focused on commercial viability.
“The Health Lab was organized to transition health-tech ideas into businesses,” Platkin says. “That’s why we plan to work with onlytwo or three groups every 18 months. It takes time, commitment, dedication, and a team effort to create a viable business.