It’s a promising sign for the future of health IT and the increasingly inextricable link between mobile and healthcare.
In particular, science and tech companies are stepping up their investments in the health IT space. And it’s happening at a fast clip in local markets across the nation.
According to a weekend report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG) has invested close to $2 million in health IT.
PLSG is an investment firm focused on helping entrepreneurs develop and cultivate life sciences businesses.
Greenhouses like these solicit money from potential investors and then steer seed capital to start-ups. Since its formation in 2001 as a joint partnership among the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, UPMC, Pittsburgh’s regional foundation community and the state of Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse has invested $19 million in more than 80 companies.
“The money wants to follow something that has a little more certainty [and] clarity as to how that gets to commercialization,” says John Manzetti, CEO of Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse.
Part of the driving force of this VC shift, however, is the economy at large.
With regard to life sciences research and development, “a lot of things changed after the crash,” explains Stephanie Marrus, director of the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of California, San Francisco.
She said 2007 was the peak and 50 percent of the venture capital in the life sciences realm has disappeared since then. With diminished resources available, investing in IT looks safer and cheaper.
“Digital health [is] an easier way to play in this game,” Marrus tells the Gazette. “If someone can build a new health app, they can “escape the challenges of developing a new drug.”