Cedars-Sinai accelerator companies announce deals with DoD, Merck, MD Anderson, and more

By Jonah Comstock
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Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's third accelerator class held its demo day last week as the 10 companies announced a slew of pilots, deployments, and other deals. Nine out of the 10 companies has a pilot or commercial deal with Cedars-Sinai itself, but a number of companies also have deals with other hospitals, payers, or pharma companies. One, Tasso, has a $6 million grant contract with the Department of Defense.

"The way I think of it is the demo day is a culmination and it’s a starting point," Accelerator Director Omkar Kulkarni told MobiHealthNews. "During the program, what they’re really doing is figuring out where their product fits in the actual healthcare landscape, who has an interest, where the workflow makes sense, where it makes sense as a value proposition, who’s willing to pay for it and how much. ... In the three months they’re basically figuring out how their product could be used in a healthcare system, and if all those dots align then by demo day they’re able to announce that they’re going to do it."

Tasso, which has created Hemolink, a wearable, minimally invasive device that lets patients collect blood samples at home, has the most impressive slate of deployments. In addition to the DoD contract, Tasso has a research contract with Merck to use its product in clinical trials, a distribution agreement with lab company Insource Diagnostics, and is working with Cedars-Sinai on a pediatric trial. Kulkarni says the company is about to submit to the FDA.

"I think this company is on its way, and we definitely helped them go so much faster in the last year," he said.

Kulkarni also highlighted two other companies. CancerAid came into the program with significant traction already for its app for cancer patients. But in the accelerator, the company worked on a business model that would allow hospitals to create premium versions for their patients. CancerAid has a contract with Cedars-Sinai in addition to existing contracts in its native Australia.

"I’m excited about this, not just because the product’s really cool, but we think it’ll actually add a lot of value for our patients," Kulkarni said. "They have data showing that the kind of tools they have built into this can improve revenue but also improve cancer survivorship. It’s also exciting for the hospital to figure out how to play alongside a consumer app that has a lot of traction coming in and being able to throw an enterprise angle into it."

Cedars-Sinai is also deploying Aiva's Amazon Alexa skill for hospital-bound patients.

"It allows a patient to make requests using voice commands, which then automatically using an algorithm will triage those out to the appropriate source, instead of having to press a call button and then having a nurse or a nurse aid come in and route the request themselves," Kulkarni said. "It’s great for requests but it also has the functionality of entertainment and engagement that a traditional Echo device has. So Cedars will be putting them into patient rooms in January."

In addition to Cedars-Sinai, the company will be deploying at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and a Los Angeles assisted living facility called Sheridan Home. The startup will have 100 beds live by the end of the year.

Here's where the other seven startups stand:

  • ChoiceMap, an app that helps doctors and patients make treatment decisions together, has 10 Cedars-Sinai physicians signed up to use the platform.
     
  • Gyant, which is building a medical chatbot, has a contract with European insurance giant Allianz.
     
  • Clinical trial technology company Invio has contracts with 10 departments at Cedars-Sinai.
     
  • Lumeon, which makes a care pathway management platform, is counting Cedars-Sinai as its first US customer -- but was already live with more than 1,800 healthcare sites in the UK. The company is making more than $4 million per year in revenue.
     
  • Similarly, AI-powered patient experience company NarrativeDx is already live with 10 hospitals on the east coast, but counts Cedars-Sinai as its first west coast customer.
     
  • Care coordination app maker Seremedi has contracts with Cedars-Sinai, the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and one other hospital.
     
  • Sway Health, which provides point of care digital preventative counseling, has a contract with the National Jewish Hospital.