Inova accelerator seeks personalized-medicine startups

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The Inova Personalized Health Accelerator (IPHA) is preparing to accept applications from early-stage startups focused on predicting, preventing and treating disease.

Falls Church-based Inova Health System announced plans for the accelerator last December when it also launched Inova Strategic Investments, a venture-capital program. Both projects are housed at the new Inova Center for Personalized Health, a 117-acre campus in Fairfax County.

IPHA was set to open in July, with more announcements expected in August. Plans call for the accelerator to host four companies in the first six months of operation, then 16 in each subsequent 12-months period.

“We are looking for companies that will produce technologies and services that will bring diagnostic, therapeutics and wellness programs to an individual level that generally does not exist in health services today,” says Pete Jobse.

Jobse and Hooks Johnston are the managing directors of the accelerator and the investment program. Jobse was CEO of the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon. Johnston was general partner of Valhalla Partners, a venture capital fund he co-founded.

IPHA expects to work with companies involved in handling analytics and making medical devices, Jobse says. He also is seeking firms that will “build interfaces between what we traditionally call patients, and now understand as clients or consumers.”

In addition, the accelerator wants to find startups that will provide technology for next-generation wellness — “technology that can be incorporated with personal wearables; devices for use in your home that measure heart rate, temperature, glucoses; things that will enable patients/customers to be more in control of their health,” Jobse says.

Companies chosen for the program will receive a $75,000 investment from Inova and its partners, and Inova will take a 10 percent equity position in each firm, the website Genome Web reports. Successful participants will be considered for additional funds from Inova Strategic Investments.

IPHA is developing relationships with a number of schools, including the University of Virginia, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Shenandoah University and George Washington University, Jobse says. It’s also working closely with the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the trade association Virginia Bio.

“We’re using the extended network that we have as investors, and we’re planning a series of events to attract thought leaders and develop an extended community that will expand our overall network,” he says.

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