Rex Strategic Innovations commits $10M to spur startup growth

By Mike Miliard
10:12 AM

Rex Healthcare, a not-for-profit health system affiliated with UNC Health Care, has launched Rex Strategic Innovations, to invest in startup healthcare ventures.

The initiative will include Rex Health Ventures, which Rex officials tout as one of the only venture-capital investment funds started by a community, nonprofit hospital. The fund is being launched with an initial $10 million investment from Rex Healthcare and will help finance innovations among new medical services and technologies.

Other components of Rex Strategic Innovations include:

  • Rex Impact Grants, a program to provide grants to businesses and organizations working to help improve patient care or community health;
  • Rex Innovation Facilitator, which is billed as a formalized way for Rex co-workers and thought leaders in the community to submit innovative ideas and receive technology commercialization and company-building services for promising concepts that could lead to new products or services;
  • Rex Joint Ventures, a program to partner with innovators in North Carolina's technology, research and entrepreneurial communities, with the aim of developing new products and services that can improve healthcare IT and delivery.

“For more than a century Rex has been a leader in striving to improve the medical care and services we provide to thousands of patients every year,” said Rex President David Strong. “This exciting new program is another way Rex will encourage and participate in innovation.”

[See also: VC opportunities for an 'explosion of bright young companies'.]
By creating the fund, Rex seeks to provide more opportunities for advancements in care and support start-up companies that will help spur new job creation.

“This effort will allow Rex to become a key innovation player in the Triangle and help make this region an even more attractive place for entrepreneurs to grow and succeed,” said Joan Siefert Rose, President of CED, the southeast’s largest entrepreneurial support organization. “Rex is uniquely qualified to help drive healthcare innovation and CED looks forward to working with Rex as it moves forward.”

For healthcare practitioners, Rex Health Ventures aims to offer the opportunity to play an active role in bringing new advances in medical care to patients, company officials say.

[See also: Rex Healthcare installs 'virtual community'.]

“This is an important endeavor for Rex, and an exciting time for innovation in the Triangle," said Ravish Sachar, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Wake Heart & Vascular, one of the region's largest specialty physician practices. "This effort will create new opportunities to advance research and develop breakthrough products and treatments. As a physician, I look forward to helping important innovations and concepts become a reality.”

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