Yesterday the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) tapped the Brigham Digital Innovation Hub, MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Sciences and TechSpring at Baystate to join its R&D sandbox program. This means that startups in the state will now be able to apply for funding and access to the facilities of these three institutions so that they may test their products.
The program was officially launched in April with $500,000 in state funding.
As part of this most recent news, the organization announced that Massachusetts-based startups eMotion Rx and Stability Health be testing and developing their platforms on PracticePoint, the first organization to join the sandbox system.
WHY IT MATTERS
For decades Massachusetts has been home to some of the largest biotech and pharma companies in the world. But the state is now putting a focus on digital health with its R&D sandbox program.
“Through the Sandbox Grant program, we hope to reduce the time, cost, and resources required to test innovative digital health solutions that are ‘Made in Massachusetts,’” Laurance Stuntz, MeHI director and a member of the Massachusetts governor’s Digital Health Council, said in a statement. “By expanding the roster of Sandbox locations in the Network, we’re offering both Massachusetts and non-Massachusetts startups expanded access to tools and testbeds that could be a springboard for their growth. Our hope is that by working with these world-class facilities and staff, startups can improve on their product and shorten the time to market, helping deliver their products into the hands of healthcare consumers around the world more quickly.”
THE LARGER TREND
This isn’t the Baystate’s first entrances into digital health. In 2016 the City of Boston announced it would work with MeHI and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) to establish a digital health innovation hub, and to provide space, programming and an industry network for digital health startups in Boston
Additionally, MassBio has been interested in the digital space. Over the winter MassBio teamed up with Deloitte to released its first digital health report, which also includes a road map for the future.