New Philadelphia collaboration promotes innovation in health care


Eight Philadelphia-area institutions are coming together in an initiative aimed at making the region a global leader in health care innovation.

The partners in the project — Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Drexel University, Independence Blue Cross, Safeguard Scientifics Inc. (NYSE:SFE), Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System, and University of Pennsylvania Health System — said Wednesday they have created the Health Care Innovation Collaborative.

The purpose of the collaborative is to “identify and solve institutional needs by connecting its members to innovative solutions.”

Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Rittenhouse Ventures will each commit $1 million dollars to support the companies from the collaborative that choose to base their operations within the Philadelphia region.

The idea for creating the collaborative grew out of discussions by the Health Care Innovation Task Force of the city’s CEO Council for Growth, a unit of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

The task force was co-chaired by John Fry, president of Drexel University and Dan Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross.

Hilferty said the organizers are hopeful the collaborative will help early-stage companies avoid having to guess what products and services are being sought by large health care organizations.

“Through the collaborative,” he said, “innovators can better tailor their solutions to directly address the health challenges both they and health care organizations feel are critical. That will save time, energy, and money, and bring solutions to market faster to keep people well.”

Fry added the collaborative will create an “intersection between our large health care institutions and innovators in a way that removes barriers to market entry and growth. These two communities greatly need one another, but often struggle to connect due to excessive ‘noise’ and unmatched product supply and demand.”