HITLAB and NYCEDC unveil Digital Health Breakthrough Network’s third class of startups

The Digital Health Breakthrough Network, which is a partnership between HITLAB and NYCEDC, recently announced its third cohort of startups. The class includes Altopax, Navimize, PainQx and Tatch.

HITLAB and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have revealed the third cohort of startups in the Digital Health Breakthrough Network.

The network, a partnership between HITLAB and NYCEDC, launched in 2016. It is part of NYCEDC’s digital health portfolio, which seeks to support life sciences and healthcare ecosystems in New York City.

In simplest terms, the Digital Health Breakthrough Network functions as an accelerator for pre-revenue and pre-Series A healthcare startups. Eligible participants must be early-stage companies based in New York City.

In a phone interview, HITLAB Deputy Director of Innovation Research Laura Pugliese said what sets the network apart is that it provides startups with the ability to conduct research on their products. The program gives companies the opportunity to gather evidence and understand any potential problems before they get too far along.

“A lot of these companies have never had their product tested before,” Pugliese, who also serves as director of the Digital Health Breakthrough Network, said. “This is a good safe space to learn how the piloting process works.”

The network pairs each startup with a partner organization that pilots its technology. After the pilot period, the organization reports relevant results and data back to the startup, which can then use it to improve its product.

“It’s a way to bring the people using the technologies and the people designing the technologies into the same space,” Michelle Anand, senior project manager at NYCEDC, said in a phone interview.

Overall, the accelerator is about using research to help startups build their products, while also building up a network of partner organizations.

The latest cohort includes four companies.

Altopax utilizes virtual reality to provide teletherapy. Its solutions strive to give individuals a stronger support system and more access to care. Navimize focuses on reducing the wait time at the doctor’s office. Its technology notifies patients as to when there are delays in the schedule.

PainQx has designed a way to objectively measure pain in humans. Its platform assesses one’s neural activity and decodes the information through algorithms, resulting in a biomarker correlated to a patient’s pain level. Currently, the primary users of PainQx’s system are companies using pain as a way to measure their drug’s or device’s efficacy.

Tatch wants to rethink the realm of sleep medicine. It has created a smart patch that serves as a sleep test, which users can wear at home.

Unveiled in the fall of 2016, the Digital Health Breakthrough Network’s first class of startups included Addicaid, BioTrak Therapeutics, Citus Health and EarlyHive. Its second class, which was announced in the spring of 2017, included Bonbouton, Droice Labs, TruCircle and QuiO.

Photo: phive2015, Getty Images