Cedars, MemorialCare launch VC arm

By Mike Miliard
10:56 AM
Billed as 'a remarkable platform for entrepreneurs to gain medical and technological insights'
Chalkboard drawing of tablet and lightbulbs

In search of innovative new information technology that can help hospitals like them improve care, two of California's biggest health systems have teamed up to create an investment fund to help foster new companies.

[See also: VC funding sees 'torrid' Q1]

Cedars-Sinai Health System and MemorialCare Health System this week announced the launch of Summation Health Ventures, which they say will enable entrepreneurs, inventors and companies focused on health IT, medical device and other healthcare services to make use of their clinical and technical expertise.

The fund's strategic investments will focus on startup, privately-held and early- to mid-stage companies with experienced management teams, revenue growth potential and products that can improve care delivery, officials say.

[See also: Cedars Sinai adds IT clout]

"The partnership offers a remarkable platform for entrepreneurs to gain the medical and technological insights critical for widespread adoption of products that positively impact healthcare," says Brant Heise, Summation Health Ventures managing director, in a press statement.

"Highly respected health systems like MemorialCare and Cedars aligned in one strategic investment and innovation vehicle provide multiple opportunities, resources and locations for entrepreneurs to review and bring to market products and services that can positively impact healthcare consumers and organizations," he adds.

MemorialCare has two decades experience in strategic investment funding through MemorialCare Innovation Fund, which has had successful strategic partnerships with companies focused on health IT and more. Officials say those efforts have helped the health system significantly improve performance and advance its standing as a pioneer and innovator in evidence-based medicine and advanced IT.

Cedars-Sinai has also had experience partnering with innovative companies on developing new technologies, ranging from devices that pioneered minimally invasive surgery to IT applications that help physicians and nurses at the patient's bedside and in the operating room.

Summation Health Ventures' new corporate entity is equally owned and governed by Cedars-Sinai and MemorialCare, and may add other partners in the future, officials say.

"Summation Health Ventures provides emerging companies a powerful potential for value creation, thanks to the diversity and strengths of our two organizations," says Barry Arbuckle, president and CEO of MemorialCare, in a statement. "This is enhanced considerably by the experience and expertise of MemorialCare and Cedars-Sinai physicians and staff who are acknowledged leaders in spearheading and advancing healthcare innovation. Our ultimate goals are to improve quality, enhance patient safety and create greater value in healthcare delivery."

"Patient-centered information technologies are essential tools to providing the highest quality of care," adds Thomas M. Prisleac, Cedars-Sinai's president and CEO. "This partnership between Cedars-Sinai and MemorialHealth will foster extraordinary innovation that will help physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals and patients locally and around the nation."