HHS adds five health security accelerators to BARDA network

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority network now has 13 accelerators working to, among other things, detect illnesses before people know they’re sick and bolster healthcare security.
By Nathan Eddy
03:58 PM
HHS adds five health security accelerators to BARDA network

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the selection of five accelerators to help speed development of medical products for biodefense and other security needs.

WHAT HAPPENED

These include Emory University & Georgia Institute of Technology’s Coulter Translational Program in Atlanta, Purdue University, the University of Missouri Midwest BioAccelerator (MU-MBAr), the Plug and Play Tech Center in San Francisco, and University Enterprise Labs in St. Paul-Minneapolis.

These five accelerators join the eight existing foundational members, which joined as part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) network last year.

WHY IT MATTERS

The accelerators will focus on three key areas aimed at building a pipeline of products for BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe), which includes the Early Notification to Act, Control and Treat (ENACT) initiative.

The ENACT initiative funds technologies that help provide early, actionable information to detect illnesses before people even know they are sick. The other two key areas of focus are the Solving Sepsis initiative and a “disruptive innovations” focus on emerging health security technologies.

Among the services the HHS program provides to biodefence and health security startups and academics are laboratory space and regulatory support, as well as additional business services.

ON THE RECORD

“In the first year, our accelerator network reached audiences outside of normal government channels, fostering innovative solutions to improve national health security and to provide business expertise and laboratory space for startups and small businesses,” Rick Bright, deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and director of BARDA, said in a statement.

Bright explained that by expanding the network into new geographic locations, HHS would be able to connect with even more companies and entrepreneurs to solve systemic health challenges.

“The network is helping revolutionize the way we do business and catalyze innovation across the country,” Bright continued.

THE LARGER TREND

Among the initial eight accelerators – located in regions across the country – were the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute in Houston, Life Science Washington Institute in Seattle and University City Science Center in Philadelphia.

Established in 2006 as part of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act, BARDA is part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and is tasked with securing the country from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats, as well as from pandemic influenza (PI) and emerging infectious diseases (EID).

The DRIVe arm has already announced partnerships with companies like Sonica Health of Evanston, Illinois, to assess cardiopulmonary health through bio-integrated, wireless sensor technology, and Evidation Health of San Mateo, California, to leverage de-identified, patient-generated health data from everyday, off-the-shelf devices.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209
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