Boston Children’s Hospital To Help California VC Firm Launch Startups

Rock Health is used to looking for great startup ideas in health care.

But now the California-based digital health venture fund will have the help of Boston Children’s Hospital to groom health care startups to commercialization.

“We want to make health care massively better for every child,” said Halle Tecco, Rock Health founder and managing director, in a release. “With its clinical expertise, its deep investment in digital health, and its passionate clinicians, Boston Children’s is the ideal pediatric partner for us.”

Children’s will work as a clinical advisor to help startups shape and pilot technologies in the pediatric market. The hospital may even collaborate on projects inside and outside the hospital.

“Historically our innovation acceleration has been focused on taking our own innovations and pushing them forward. Today, in the spirit of efficiency and looking at the most cost effective way to deliver solutions, we’re making a strategic decision (to) partner with industry and startups,” said Carla Small, director of Innovation for Children’s, in an interview.

The partnership is also sending a message to companies that Children’s is open to working with startups.

Children’s, Rock Health’s only pediatric partner, will be working with members in Rock Health’s existing portfolio as well as identifying and fostering other emerging technologies in pediatric medicine. Small said Children’s can also learn from Rock Health as the hospital selects startups to form companies.

The partnership is multi-year, Small said, and is currently a general agreement to work together to develop companies rather than specific plans on financing companies.

Children’s is no stranger to helping startups innovate and grow.

The hospital’s Innovation Acceleration Program has helped mentor and guide innovations since 2010. The hospital has also launched startup companies, including digital epidemiology platform Epidermico, complex care platform ACT.md, and autism teaching platform SpecialNeedsWare.

“We have supported many digital health projects, but pediatrics is especially exciting to us as an area of tremendous opportunity,” Tecco said. “Parents are highly engaged and more digitally connected than ever, and helping children have better health outcomes could have a lifetime impact. We look forward to many new ventures coming out of this partnership.”

Source: Boston Business Journal, Jessica Bartlett
Photo: Boston Children’s Hospital Chief Innovation Officer Carla Small talks with Children’s CEO Sandra Fenwick and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Medical Director Anne Hansen about Hansen’s infant warming device. Developed with Partners In Health, University of California Berkley, and with federal funding, the inexpensive pad can be heated up with water and keep an infant warm 4-6 hours. (Jessica Bartlett)