Partners HealthCare creates funds for AI development, digital tools

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Partners HealthCare, a health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General, has set up two investment funds aimed at providing funding for digital technologies like artificial intelligence and pre-clinical life sciences.

The two funds are the Artificial Intelligence and Digital Translation Fund, which boasts initial funding of $30 million over five years, and the Translational Innovation Fund, which will provide $50 million in funding over six years.

Accelerating development and adoption

The aim of both funds is to accelerate development and adoption of digital tools directed at improving care for patients and driving innovation among health systems, including support for late-stage pilot programs.

Among the other areas of digital innovation targeted by the two investment funds are immune oncology, intelligent devices and remote care.

The Artificial Intelligence and Digital Translation Fund will invest in active vendors currently working with Partners HealthCare, developing opportunities with a “real-time” laboratory approach, while the Translational Innovation Fund will focus on discoveries from Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s, among other partners.

The aim of the Translational Innovation Fund is to provide the resources to advance promising therapeutics through preclinical translation. And both funds, unlike more traditional venture capital plans, will rely on the decision-making prowess of scientists and clinicians.

The enormous potential of AI

In recent years, the healthcare industry has become a major proving ground for AI capabilities, with venture capital investors recognizing the enormous potential AI solutions could offer for improving patient care.

Anne Klibanski, Partners HealthCare president and CEO, said in a statement that the funds represented a “major step forward” in accelerating the application of medical research.

“These investments will enable patients to more quickly benefit from the life-changing breakthroughs developed by our investigators and clinicians while also helping to fuel the life sciences and digital health industries throughout this region,” she continued.

The Artificial Intelligence and Digital Translation Fund and the Translational Innovation Fund join the organization’s Partners Innovation Fund, which was formed more than a decade ago and leveraged Partners’ intellectual and financial capital to advance science and medical technology.

The Partners research community

The Partners Innovation Fund has grown to $171 million, including 37 portfolio companies and spin-offs, from an initial commitment of $35 million. It invests exclusively in healthcare companies based on intellectual property created within the organization’s own research community.

Trust in artificial intelligence technology is rising sharply across healthcare, with many leaders predicting tangible cost savings in under three years, according to an Optum survey of 500 U.S. healthcare industry leaders from hospitals, health plans, life sciences companies and employers.

The average organization is expected to invest $39.7 million in AI over the next five years – $7.3 million more than was estimated last year, Optum’s survey found.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.





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