VitalTrax’s Clinical Trial App Has Hit the Market

Screenshot of VitalTrax website.

VitalTrax — the clinical software platform that connects patients to clinical trials — just hit another major milestone. On Wednesday, the startup announced that its clinical trial network Wing is now on the market. The network, the company’s first commercial product, includes a mobile app and online platform for listing trials and also recruiting and enrolling patients. Because the product makes health care more consumer friendly, it’s been dubbed the “OpenTable of clinical trials.”

VitalTrax’s development comes just months after it became the first company to tap into Philadelphia’s $6 million digital health funding initiative between Safeguard Scientifics, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Independence Blue Cross. VitalTrax, also a member of the University City Science Center’s ic@3401 community, nabbed $150,000 in seed funding from the initiative that isn’t even a year old. Read more »

These Innovators Won Big at the 2017 PACT Enterprise Awards

The scene at the 2017 PACT Enterprise Awards. Image via Twitter.

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), held their 24th Annual Enterprise Awards. The event, sponsored by Fairmount Partners, honored eleven local businesses and individuals that have made exceptional contributions to technology, healthcare and related fields. With a record number of over 400 submissions, this year’s Enterprise Awards were the most competitive yet, with a list of winners spanning every branch of Philly’s hotbed of innovation. Read more »

Center City Residents Association Drops Protest of Digital Billboard

Independence Blue Cross will lease office space. | Photo: James Jennings

The former Philadelphia Stock Exchange building at 19th and Market streets. | Photo: James Jennings

The Center City Residents Association has agreed to abandon its protest of a digital billboard proposed to span the façade of the former Philadelphia Stock Exchange building at 19th and Market streets, although one major hurdle for the project still remains, the Inquirer reported.

Association president Charles Goodwin says the group dropped its objection to the signage after a deal was struck to limit its brightness, hours of operation, and coverage area. Read more »

VitalTrax Scores First Cut of $6 Million Philly Digital Health Fund

Screenshot of VitalTrax website.

Screenshot of VitalTrax website.

Clinical trial software platform VitalTrax just became the first startup to dip into the $6 million digital health funding initiative launched by Safeguard Scientifics, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Independence Blue Cross last December.

VitalTrax, a member of the University Science Center’s ic@3401 community, received $150,000 in seed funding from the new digital health initiative. The company’s cloud-based platform allows clinical trial teams to better recruit patients and communicate with them throughout the course of a trial. With the company’s mobile app, Wing, patients can search and apply for trials and directly input data into the app for the trials they participate in. And because many patients still face big hurdles to participation in clinical trials, these developments might play a big role in revolutionizing the space.  Read more »

Q&A: Healthcare IT to Enter an Intense Period of Innovation in Philly

From left to right: David Luk, principal at Safeguard Scientifics; Scott Nissenbaum, chief investment officer at Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Tom Olenzak, managing director, strategic innovation portfolios at Independence Blue Cross at PSL's Founder Factory. Image courtesy of Safeguard Scientifics.

Left to right: David Luk, principal at Safeguard Scientifics; Scott Nissenbaum, chief investment officer at Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Tom Olenzak, managing director of strategic innovation portfolios at Independence Blue Cross at PSL’s Founder Factory. | Image courtesy of Safeguard Scientifics.

Last week, three of the Philadelphia region’s biggest players made a major announcement at PSL’s Founder Factory. Philly’s veteran venture firm, Safeguard ScientificsIndependence Health Group, the parent company of Independence Blue Cross; and venture firm Ben Franklin Technology Partners announced a $6 million funding initiative to support local, early-stage health IT startups over the next four years. The digital health startups selected for funding can receive anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million, and will also be mentored by the partners as they grow.

The initiative is an effort to “fuel Philadelphia’s innovative digital health ecosystem,” the partners said in a release. BizPhilly sat down with David Luk, a principal at Safeguard, to find out exactly why this initiative is being launched now and what it means for Philadelphia’s digital health landscape moving into 2017. Luk also shares why the team decided to focus on early-stage startups, a shift from Safeguard’s usual Series A and Series B financing. Read more »

Stephen Klasko: “Health Hack Defines What’s Different About Jefferson”

Stephen Klasko (left) with 2015 Health Hack winner CubeSmart and IBX sponsors. Photo courtesy of Jefferson University.

Stephen Klasko (left) with 2015 Health Hack winner CubeSmart and IBX sponsors. Photo courtesy of Jefferson University.

Jefferson’s at it again. This weekend marks the university’s second ever health hack—a weekend-long event where more than 300 people will collaborate to try and solve healthcare’s most pressing challenges.

Beginning Friday evening, the hackathon’s participants, a medley of programmers, nurses, students, engineers, doctors and academics, will take on problems in this year’s three focus areas: patient engagement, connected health and virtual and augmented reality.

“The health hack defines what’s different about Jefferson,” said Stephen Klasko, Jefferson’s president and CEO, who’s partnered with the city’s leading health insurance organization Independence Blue Cross for the event.

“The difference with us is we’re a 194-year-old institution that’s trying to act like an adolescent,” Klasko told Philadelphia magazine. “Our mission is to reimagine healthcare education and discovery to create value. So everything we look at, we start to reimagine,” said Klasko.

Read more »

Report: Independence Health Group Income Down 93 Percent

Independence Blue Cross HQ at 1901 Market Street.

Independence Blue Cross HQ at 1901 Market Street.

As the wave of health care consolidation continues and the Affordable Care Act covers brings new entrants into the insurance market, a new report offers a glimpse into the financial standing of one of Philadelphia’s largest health care players.

Independence Health Group earned $6 million in net income during the first nine months of 2015 — but that’s down 93 percent from the same time period in 2014 when it earned $83 million. The numbers come from Fitch Ratings, which analyzed Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies across the country, finding that 23 out of 35 reported a decline in earnings. Read more »

DreamIt was Second-Most Active Health Care Investor in 2015

At a recent Dreamit health demo day, Saurabh Radhakrishnan introduces us to GraphWear, a smart sweat patch.

At a recent Dreamit health demo day, Saurabh Radhakrishnan introduces us to GraphWear, a smart sweat patch.

Whether it’s a mouthpiece that detects concussions, pill bottles that blink when it’s time for patients to take medicines or wearables that track diseases, health care technology is an exploding industry — and Philadelphia is at the center of it all.

In fact, Philly’s Dreamit Ventures (through its offshoot Dreamit Health) was the second-most active health care investor in 2015, according to new research from CB Insights. (No. 1 was the highly touted Silicon Valley-based seed accelerator, Y Combinator.) DreamIt and Y Combinator were the only investors to finance more than 10 unique digital health companies this past year — with DreamIt making deals with companies like Redox, Oncora Medical and CareCierge.

For 2016, Dreamit has $1 million earmarked for investments in health care tech. To date, Dreamit has invested more than $3.1 million in health care companies that have participated in its program and those companies have raised nearly $12.3 million in additional capital, the company reported. Read more »

Can Philadelphia Be the Silicon Valley of Health Care Innovation?

Dan Hilferty, CEO of Independence Blue Cross

Dan Hilferty, CEO of Independence Blue Cross

Dan Hilferty has some lofty goals for Philadelphia. He thinks it can become “the Silicon Valley of health care innovation” because of it’s first-rate universities, hospitals and thriving tech and pharma communities.

And he would know. He’s the president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, a health insurance giant that’s investing millions in innovation to figure out new ways to drive up quality and drive down costs.

But can Philadelphia’s business leaders cut through the rhetoric and make it happen? IBC is certainly doing its part. Read more »

Headlines: Independence Blue Cross Slowly Taking Over Market Street West

Independence Blue Cross will lease office space. | Photo: James Jennings

Independence Blue Cross will lease office space. | Photo: James Jennings

Yesterday’s news was all about the resurgence of Market East, thanks in large part to the massive redevelopment project at The Gallery. Henceforth, it will be known as the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia. Let’s not forget about all the activity on the west side of Market Street.

Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Independence Blue Cross will be taking over a sizable chunk of office space at 1900 Market Street, also known as the Stock Exchange building. Brandywine Realty Trust is renovating building, possibly with Read more »