from MedCity News
A little more than a year ago the American Heart Association launched an accelerator to fund biotechnolgy and medical device startups to fill a crucial gap in research funding caused by the increasing hesitance of investors to risk support on early-stage innovation. Now, it’s getting ready for a $2 million fundraising round to invest in two companies by the end of the year. It’s also working with sister organizations and mission-driven investment organizations to identify areas of common interest.
In a phone interview with MedCity News, Ross Tonkens, the director of the Science & Technology Accelerator,and Major Gifts Officer Mark Germano said they’re forming a group of donors who can provide expertise to screen applications. These donors have investment backgrounds steeped in biotechnology, drug development and medical devices. They also have expertise in legal issues, commercialization, IP, regulatory, clinical trial design and conduct issues. In a lot of cases, these are people who have had personal or close contact with people who have had cardiovascular disease or a stroke and want to see things move from the [lab] bench to bedside.
In the past year, says Tonkens, it has created a network of collaborative investors from other nonprofit foundations where there’s a strong likelihood that their interests would align. Tonkens said it’s working with 16 sister foundations such as the American Cancer Society and Diabetes Foundation to identify areas of common interest for collaborative investment. For example, a company developing a diagnostic for cardiovascular disease may also have applications for cancer. In addition to sister foundations, it is also looking at mission related investment organizations like BioMotiv — a for-profit division of the Herrington Project for Discovery and Development in Cleveland, Ohio. BioMotiv is aggressively looking for profit.
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