Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Program Awards $105,500 to Boost Three Massachusetts Startups

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Source 
Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Program Awards $105,500 to Boost Three Massachusetts Startups

Growing Companies to Work with Sandbox Sites in Springfield and Worcester

WESTBOROUGH – The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) has awarded new grants from the Digital Health Sandbox program to support three Massachusetts startups to test and validate their products and services at three different sandbox environments across Massachusetts. These three awards, totaling $105,500, will allow Lexington-based Keva Health, Cambridge’s Dynocardia, and Boston’s caresyntax to access the cutting-edge tools and staff at three innovative Sandbox R&D centers located in Massachusetts. The grants will help each company to test their products in real-world settings, advancing the product lifecycle, working with the innovative facilities located at PracticePoint at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), UMass Medical School in Worcester, and TechSpring, Baystate Health’s innovation center in Springfield.

“Through this program, these three companies will be directly connected to the unique R&D environments that exist within the Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Network,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Through our statewide network, startups like these are offered real-world settings for testing the newest digital health innovations, and serves as yet another example of the depth of the innovation potential of our Commonwealth.”

“These three projects are a testament to the creativity and solution driven mentality we know so well in the Massachusetts innovation economy,” said Laurance Stuntz, Director of MeHI. “Given the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are thrilled to leverage this funding and the Massachusetts Digital Health Sandbox Network to support these unique digital health projects that all offer the promise of better, safer, and more efficient remote care.”

The grants were awarded directly to the three sandbox environments to provide the companies access to the sandboxes’ unique innovation environments:

  • TechSpring @ Baystate Health in Springfield received $25,000 to provide guidance, access, and support to Lexington-based Keva Health. Keva Health is developing a SaaS platform that remotely monitors patients with chronic respiratory illnesses. The grant will support Keva Health’s access to TechSpring’s Innovation Managers and Baystate Health employees to complete the discovery and planning phases for a pilot of their platform with Baystate Health asthma patients.
  • WPI’s PracticePoint in Worcester received $43,750 to support Dynocardia, a Cambridge based company developing the first stand alone, continuous and non-invasive blood pressure monitor. This device will allow for independent and predictive monitoring of blood pressure in critically ill patients. Dynocardia will use PracticePoint’s testing and machine-shop facilities and work with their experts to test and optimize the design of their prototype to accelerate their clinical studies program. Dynocardia will provide an additional $6,250 in matching funding to pay for their one-year membership at PracticePoint.
  • UMass Medical School in Worcester received $37,500 to work with Boston-based caresyntax on testing and validating the ability for new surgical data to improve safety during surgery. Caresyntax will provide $112,500 in matching investment for this project, including the installation of their system into two operating rooms within the Department of Surgery at UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC), and clinical and analytical services. Caresyntax will use data insights collected from video based assessments of surgical procedures to design, implement, and assess clinical simulations. The company will also work with UMass Medical School to develop immersive, virtual learning opportunities for students.

“We are grateful for the grant funding from MeHI and the opportunity to work with TechSpring and Baystate Health,” said Jyotsna Mehta, Founder and CEO of Keva Health. “There are 25 million Americans impacted by asthma and social determinants of health contribute to asthma disparities. This work allows us to step forward with our vision of integrating innovative remote monitoring functionality with evidence based self-monitoring programs for patients with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma.”

“We are grateful to MeHI for their interest in––and support of––ViTrack technology. We are excited to begin working with the impressive team at PracticePoint at their state-of-the art facility in Worcester,” said Dynocardia founder Mohan Thanikachalam, MD. “Clinical testing of a prototype device is in progress at two Boston-area hospitals, and we believe that our collaboration with WPI will allow us to increase the number of patients in our trials, which will be key to enhancing the prototype and progressing toward FDA approval and commercialization.”

“The pandemic has forced hospitals in Massachusetts and across the globe to reassess virtual training and learning opportunities,” said Dennis Kogan, caresyntax CEO and co-founder. “This support will accelerate our analysis of surgical data in a real-world setting so that we can enhance virtual training and improve surgical safety and patient outcomes in the long term.”

The Sandbox Program was launched in April 2019 when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced $500,000 in funding for the program as part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to boost the digital health ecosystem under the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative. Since then, the Digital Health Sandbox Network has grown to nine innovative environments, where digital healthcare startups can develop their products in a real world environment, and nine Massachusetts startups managing projects supported by the Commonwealth’s grants. The most recent addition to the Sandbox Network was the Medical Device Plug-and-Play Interoperability & Cybersecurity Program (MD PnP) at Massachusetts General Hospital, which joined in December 2020.

The grants announced today bring the total invested under the program to $346,250, with previous awards announced in November 2019 and June 2020. Locations for Sandbox sites and grantee proposals are reviewed by an Independent Steering Committee made up of leaders from the Massachusetts Digital Health ecosystem.

Companies interested in working with a Digital Health Sandbox should visit https://massdigitalhealth.org/sandbox for more information.

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About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute:

The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is the Commonwealth’s entity for healthcare innovation, technology, and competitiveness, and partners with industry, government, and healthcare organizations to support the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative on behalf of Governor Charlie Baker. MeHI also helps all the Commonwealth’s providers harness the benefits of electronic health records and the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit https://mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth. Learn more about the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative at www.massdigitalhealth.org.

Media Contact:

Brian Noyes, noyes (at) masstech.org