Tigerlabs launches health accelerator in heart of Big Pharma

By Brian Dolan
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Bert Navarrete, Tigerlabs HealthPrinceton, New Jersey-based Tigerlabs announced the launch of a new healthcare IT accelerator, called Tigerlabs Health, which is located in the heart of Big Pharma in central New Jersey. The program will include mentors from leading pharma companies and likely other healthcare organizations, too.

While there have been an increasing number of health accelerators launching in recent years, Tigerlabs believes there will be many more.

"It was really in reaction to the excess demand we saw in the market given our proximity to pharma," Tigerlabs General Manager and Managing Partner Bert Navarrete told MobiHealthNews in a recent interview. "Throughout the course of the year we have been approached by various pharma executives involved in the medical technology areas and they have asked us why we haven't seen a seed fund to support health IT initiatives in this area. We started this to fill that demand and also meet the desires of those pharma executives who want to mentor some of these companies and get a front row seat in terms of what is being developed in the market."

Tigerlabs Health opened its doors for applications this week and the application process will close out in mid-November. It's offering $20,000 in seed funding, mentorship, software, professional seminars, co-working space, and a demo day with investors and industry execs. Tigerlabs stresses its location is close to "pharma industry titans" like Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Novartis, and Novo Nordisk, among other companies in the area that are in pharma, medtech and biotech sectors.

Tigerlabs won't be the first health accelerator to work with pharma companies, of course: Merck supported the Rock Health accelerator program in Boston this past summer.

"We have great relationships with all the major pharma companies," Navarrete said. "They are all not more than a 20 minute drive from where we are located and they like the idea of something like [Tigerlabs Health] being in their backyard."

The accelerator is looking for startups working on mobile health tools, cloud-based medical records, disease management tools, integrated care management services, adherence programs, big data initiatives, clinical discovery platforms, self diagnosis tools, remote monitoring devices and applications, consumer engagement platforms for payers, remote physician visit platforms, remote therapy services, and more.

Navarrete believes the number of health-focused accelerators will only continue to grow as more and more entrepreneurs take an interest in healthcare, and especially healthcare IT. This is a good thing, he said, as new accelerators carve out their own niches they are able to provide deeper mentorship.