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Hackensack Meridian, NJII cut ribbon for first health care incubator in New Jersey

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The ribbon-cutting for Agile Strategies Lab, a collaboration between Hackensack Meridian Health and the New Jersey Innovation Institute.
The ribbon-cutting for Agile Strategies Lab, a collaboration between Hackensack Meridian Health and the New Jersey Innovation Institute. - ()

Agile Strategies Lab, a partnership between Hackensack Meridian Health and New Jersey Innovation Institute and the first incubator for health care in New Jersey, held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday.

The incubator, first reported by NJBIZ in March, is located in Newark. It is being funded by $25 million from the health system and is designed as a space where a “Shark Tank”-like expert panel will hear pitches that aim to solve health care issues.

To date, 10 companies have already pitched ideas that include devices to lower risk in common surgeries, wearable monitors for tracking patient vitals, and other technologies or ways to provide more efficient services.

“As a member of NJII’s Ideation Program for Healthcare, Hackensack Meridian Health intends to leverage the combined skills of entrepreneurs, major corporations, research scientists, students and (New Jersey Institute of Technology) faculty to solve our challenges with novel strategies and products,’’ said Robert Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian. 

“This isn’t theoretical, it’s happening.’’

Other academic medical centers in the country, as well as New Jersey’s Inspira Health Network, are involved in similar innovation centers and incubators, but Hackensack Meridian and NJII believe their venture is unique because it looks beyond the clinical realm, according to a recent statement.

“The health care market is overdue for a new disruptive technology that makes a marked improvement in the way health care technology products and services are provided to consumers,’’ said Joel Bloom, president of NJIT, NJII’s parent.

“It is our belief that this new state-of-the-art ideation center will help spark our next wave of innovation.’’

Donald Sebastian, president of NJII, added, “Our partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health capitalizes on our organizations’ combined resources that we hope will have a dramatic impact on the future of health care in New Jersey and across the nation.’’

The goal is to also help lower costs of care in the state.

“We welcome this partnership with NJII and stand behind our commitment to the next wave of inventors and entrepreneurs, who will deliver new ways of caring for patients and lowering the overall cost of health care,’’ said John Lloyd, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

 “Our new lab will play host to the brightest minds our state and nation have to offer,” said Tomas Gregorio, senior executive director, NJII. “Together, we will solve problems, launch products and redirect health care in ways not yet imagined.’’

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