One year ago, Arizona State University’s Health Futures Center opened its doors and started a new chapter in the long-standing partnership between ASU and the globally renowned Mayo Clinic.
Located in northeast Phoenix, south of Loop 101, the brand-new campus and state-of-the-art medical research facility is home to the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care as well as the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University MedTech Accelerator. It’s mission? To improve the science of health care delivery and practice while advancing patient care.
The alliance convenes some of the brightest minds from Mayo Clinic and ASU, and the accelerator, which launched in 2019, helps innovative medical technology companies scale to market.
Rick Hall, assistant dean and clinical professor with ASU’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and managing partner of the MedTech Accelerator, leverages his background in entrepreneurship, leadership management and education to match students with companies in each cohort. He said that while the program is still in its infancy, he’s incredibly proud of the growth it has seen in the last few years.
“The accelerator itself is an amazing demonstration of the possibilities when two innovative organizations work well together,” he said. “The future is very bright for this program, and we’re going to see it grow significantly in the next five to 10 years.”
Timely, as the greater Phoenix area and Arizona are projected to become a tech hub in their own right over the next several years, according to a July 2022 report from real estate firm CBRE. Hall said the accelerator and the Mayo-ASU relationship is poised to support that growth, making medtech job opportunities more readily available for ASU graduates.
Dr. Steven Lester, a cardiologist, professor of medicine, and founder and chief medical officer of the MedTech Accelerator, says that to date, portfolio companies have signed more than 75 commercial deals, raised more than $150 million in venture capital funding, received more than 20 grants and employed more than 420 people with two company acquisitions.
“These commercial successes are dwarfed by the real metric of success for the program: the ability to create accessible, scalable and sustainable next-generation health care solutions. Solutions that will positively impact patient outcomes and change the way we create and exchange value.”
“We have big plans for this program,” Hall said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of people that come to Arizona because of this, and our hope is that some of these companies decide to relocate here. That’s why we combine networks with the city of Phoenix, city of Scottsdale, Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Arizona Commerce Authority.”
To date, three cohorts have graduated from the rigorous accelerator program.
These cohorts have the opportunity to show just how far their companies have come since graduating during an upcoming Innovation Showcase. The event will be open to the public from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the ASU Health Futures Center. The public will have the opportunity to see and learn about cutting-edge products and services directly from health care industry executives, clinicians, researchers, investors and entrepreneurs. RSVP here.
Here, past CEOs who have participated in the MedTech Accelerator share what they learned from the program and how they’re each uniquely transforming the future of health care.
Founded in 2006 in Montreal, Hexoskin is a growing private company and leader in non-invasive sensors, software, data science and AI services. The company provides solutions and services directly to customers, developers, and researchers and professionals in pharmaceuticals, academics, health care, defense, first responders, space and aerospace organizations.
“The accelerator is the opportunity to spend time within the organization and get in touch with different people within Mayo Clinic here in Phoenix, and in Rochester as well,” says Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO. “That’s a unique opportunity for ASU students to work with Mayo or to have an internship at Mayo. If you’re studying in Phoenix, you’re lucky to have that kind of institution.”
Founded in 2016 to revolutionize health care through automation and artificial intelligence, AdviNOW Medical brings top-tier technology and process design to patient engagement and provider consultation. Its mission is to enable providers to deliver the best on-demand experience while accelerating operations, focusing on urgent care.
“Being in Arizona when we were founded, there were really no experts here for augmented reality or AI back in 2017,” says James Bates, CEO. “We just hired mainly graduate students and got a lot of interns to develop that capability, and that’s how we essentially developed the AI. We’ve hired many ASU graduates.”
Founded in 2019 and now headquartered within the Health Futures Center, the Patient Company creates products that make clinicians’ lives better, while reducing the cost passed on to patients. Its SimPull product was designed and developed to reduce work-related injuries for medical professionals in lateral transfer (transferring patients from bed-to-bed).
“Our goal is to support physicians and medical staff all while also giving ASU students the opportunity to grow their careers,” says Andrew Heuerman, CEO. “In our cohort, we had students from nursing, engineering and tech backgrounds. Our hope is to hire ASU graduates to support SimPull’s growth.”