Aspire, LG Health team up on $300M fund with built-in accelerators

By Jonah Comstock
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Private equity firm Aspire Universal and LG Health, have partnered to create a new $300 million fund called the Aspire Ventures Precision Medicine Fund. Each is contributing $15 million to the fund and Aspire is in the process of raising the remainder.

"The term 'precision medicine' has been out there, but it’s really the change in healthcare that’s going on," Essam Abadir, managing partner of Aspire Universal, told MobiHealthNews. "It’s a move from one-size-fits-all solutions to very precisely tailored solutions. And just like with clothing, things that are one size fits all don’t work very well, but that’s how healthcare has been done typically. Everyone who has high cholesterol kind of gets treated the same. We give them statins. We don’t say ‘Tell me a little bit about your lifestyle, let me find out about your biochemistry, or your DNA and design a solution just for you.'"

The new fund will be designed to encourage innovation around devices and therapies that apply the ideas of precision medicine to healthcare and leverage technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. In addition to funding, both Aspire and LG Health are contributing IP and expertise. Aspire will contribute AI algorithms and talent and LG Health will supply doctors who can serve as mentors or consultants for companies. 

The fund will double as an accelerator, helping to shepherd startups through certain key milestones that all health companies will have to hit.

"We’ve put in accelerators at the R&D level with AI," Abadir said. "We have a special brand of AI that we call adaptive artificial intelligence or A2I. We put in an accelerator now for clinical trials. We put in an accelerator for FDA approval. And then the last accelerator and what is probably the most significant is the Smart Health Innovation Lab, the joint venture with Capital Blue Cross to accelerate through the commercialization and insurance reimbursement process."

The fund has already begun making follow-on investments in some of the healthcare-focused companies Aspire was already backing, including Tempo Health, MedStatix, and Connexion Health. 

"There’s a pretty cool portfolio in there right now but that’s really the very tip of the iceberg," Abadir said. "We’re really looking to support on a broad basis the development of this next generation of healthcare devices and applications."