How a New $300M Precision Medicine Fund Aims to Use AI, IoT

Jack Murtha
APRIL 24, 2018
aspire precision medicine,avp fund,lg health fund,ai iot,hca news

A brand-new $300 million venture capital fund is targeting healthcare disruption, with an eye on bringing new precision medicine, artificial intelligence (AI), and internet of things (IoT) technologies to market more quickly.

The Aspire Ventures Precision Medicine (AVP) Fund, announced today, is the result of a general partnership between the investment firm Aspire Universal and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, who aim to “accelerate ventures with shared expertise and licensed intellectual property,” according to the fund. But at its heart, the project aims to further the precision medicine revolution that has gripped healthcare over the past several years, an ambition with wider-reaching consequences.

“Integrating better technology into the US healthcare system is one of the most viable solutions for curbing skyrocketing costs,” noted Essam Abadir, the managing partner of Aspire Universal who’s overseeing the precision medicine fund. “By establishing the new AVP fund, we are pursuing the promise of precision medicine as one of the main drivers for healthcare transformation.”

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He added that most healthcare investments flop because they’re architected without input and guidance from the very health systems that are supposed to use their technologies. That disconnect further hinders projects that are “extremely capital-intensive” and dependent on significant research and development, FDA approvals processes, and an uphill climb toward market traction, Abadir said.

The new fund, however, plans to overturn that troubling dynamic, bringing “highly innovative and transformative personalized healthcare solutions” to market earlier and with a better chance at success. How? Aspire and LG Health are sitting on proprietary AI, health data, IoT, and clinical knowledge, tools that will be available to portfolio members through accelerator programs and IP pools for clinical trials, insurance reimbursement, and health system adoption, according to the announcement.

The folks behind the fund expect start-ups to go from concept to market in roughly 18 months, they said.

“Clinicians from LG Health and innovators from Aspire will work side by side to synthesize complex AI and clinical research and fast-track ventures through clinical trials and FDA approval,” the AVP fund added. Along with Capital Blue Cross, the partners have already established the Smart Health Innovation Lab, which will take in 8 start-ups every year to undergo a 12-week certification process geared toward boosting insurance reimbursement and pilot deployments.

The AVP fund supports “devices and therapies that leverage AI and IoT to deliver affordable solutions at a massive scale that take into account each individual’s DNA, microbiome, biochemistry, and lifestyle,” it noted. Its founders hope this departure from “one-size-fits-all” medicine will result in better population health—and perhaps positive effects that ripple across the globe.

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