Effort refines key areas of focus for the innovation district in research, development, partnerships
Innovation Quarter today announced the establishment of iQ Healthtech Labs™, a physical and virtual hub for developing partnerships and breakthrough ideas within and through one of the leading innovation districts in the world.
The aim of iQ Healthtech Labs will be to shorten the life cycle of taking healthtech solutions from ideation to the marketplace by creating collaborations between Innovation Quarter tenants, traditional and non-traditional partners, commercial markets and potential investors.
In its early stages and while intense social distancing continues, iQ Healthtech Labs will frequently gather partners and collaborate virtually, while growing its physical presence within Bailey Power Plant. There, partner companies will share collaborative space with Innovation Quarter anchor tenants in an environment of ideating, creating, making and developing.
iQ Healthtech Labs are organized based on the growing sectors of focus that have begun to emerge and will continue to be intentionally cultivated within the Innovation Quarter:
- Value & Health Transformation Sector – Using population health tools, research and approaches to produce insights and models that enable health systems and communities to move to value-based models of care.
- Healthy Aging Sector – Integrating technologies, exceptional aging & Alzheimer’s research, and innovative approaches to help people live longer and healthier.
- Virtual Health Sector – Using technology, behavioral economics, and process improvement to make access to high quality healthcare easier, including telehealth, virtual health and retail health delivery.
- Personalized Care & Precision Medicine Sector – Developing and refining novel approaches (such as genomics and humanoids) that take into account a patient’s genetic makeup to improve health, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to medicine.
- Learning Systems Sector – Exploring and refining new opportunities, technologies and approaches for experiential learning and teaching through novel methods such as virtual learning.
“There’s never been more of a need for industry, academia, startups and individuals to come together to collaborate and partner on next-generation healthtech ideas,” said Jane Shen, PharmD, head of sector development for the Innovation Quarter. “iQ Healthtech Labs represents an exciting effort here in Winston-Salem, bringing together the expertise of our anchor academic institutions like Wake Forest School of Medicine, combining with commercial and consumer-minded partners and leveraging the power of our health system partners to test, refine, scale and rapidly deploy healthtech solutions.”
Each sector will feature its own “lab,” in terms of collaborative organizations, virtual connectivity infrastructure, and eventually physical space. Each lab will be anchored by existing research and innovation “engines” within the Innovation Quarter, such as the Center for Healthcare Innovation and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
The co-locating of the sectors together in the same physical space and proximal ecosystem will increase opportunities for intentional collision and cross-fertilization of ideas and solutions.
“iQ Healthtech Labs perfectly represents the next chapter in the development of the Innovation Quarter,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, MD, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and Dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “By combining our institutional strengths with leading companies aiming to bring health solutions to the market, we can create the types of collaborations and partnerships the Innovation Quarter was built for.”
The effort also represents an opportunity to further refine one of the areas of economic development focus for the city of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
“The health field has been a cornerstone of our economy for decades,” says Mark Owens, President and CEO of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. “As our talent and technological capacity grows, we will look to strategically develop our economy to leverage those assets and apply them to research, development, and emerging technologies in medical science. There’s no better place than Winston-Salem for the next big breakthrough to happen, and iQ Healthtech Labs will create the type of environment that fosters those discoveries.”