Hackensack Meridian commits $25 million in seed money to New Jersey tech incubator

By Mike Miliard

Hackensack Meridian Health, as part of its affiliation with the New Jersey Innovation Institute, is is pledging $25 million to Agile Strategies Lab, an incubator on the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The lab employs a concept similar to the show Shark Tank, officials said, where fledgling companies pitch ideas to a panel of healthcare and technology experts, looking to improve healthcare with innovative medical devices, apps and other tools that could enable better care quality, lower costs and improved patient experience.
Pitches so far include an app to help lower risk in common surgeries and a wearable device to monitor patients' vital signs. Eventually, four finalists will be chosen to bring their technologies to market.
Incubators are more and more common at academic medical centers, but officials say Hackensack Meridian's investment is unique because this lab convenes entrepreneurs from beyond the clinical side – including innovators from life sciences, engineering and technology.
"As a member of NJII’s Ideation Program for Healthcare, Hackensack Meridian Health intends to leverage the combined skills of entrepreneurs, major corporations, research scientists, students and NJIT faculty to solve our challenges with novel strategies and products," said Robert C. Garrett co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health in a statement. “This isn’t theoretical, it’s happening.’’
Hackensack Meridian Health's 13 hospitals in seven counties and 100-plus ambulatory centers and 6,000 physicians will offer real-world testing locations for some of the innovations once they're sufficiently advanced.
"The new lab will help inventors obtain patents and help bring to the bedside leading innovations more quickly," said Andrew Pecora, MD, chief innovation officer and president of physician services at Hackensack Meridian Health. "This isn’t just about life sciences, this is information technology, best practices – it’s anything you can think of that makes the health care experience, from beginning to end, better.”