6 AlphaLab Health startups could change your view of medicine

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Pittsburgh’s strengths as a startup hub are gaining international attention as unicorns (billion dollar startups) have started to soar from the Strip District and East Liberty. Today, six new companies hope to build on this success.

While robotics and AI are gaining the most attention, the city’s life science sector has long been its bread and butter. AlphaLab Health – a non-profit accelerator program run by Innovation Works in partnership with health giant Allegheny Health Network – helps nurture the six companies in its 2021-2022 cohort that are working on innovations that can lead to breakthroughs in the medical spectrum.

“I think the six are amazing for different reasons: the market is huge, the problem (s) to be solved are huge, the potential impact is huge, and / or the team is amazing,” says Terri Glueck, Director of Community Development and communication for Innovation Works.

Parcel Health, which makes 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable packaging for prescriptions, is one such company. Less than 1% of the eight billion plastic prescription bottles created for American consumers each year are recycled.


Health package packaging. Photo courtesy of Innovation Works.

“Parcel Health is really excited to be working with AlphaLab Health,” said Melinda Su-En Lee, Co-Founder and CEO of Parcel Health. “We have already received incredible mentorship and feedback and spoken with important stakeholders in the health care system. … We are excited to grow and expand our sustainable packaging business with the strategic support and resources of AlphaLab Health.

Most of the companies in the latter cohort have some sort of artificial intelligence component, combining several areas of Pittsburgh’s expertise.

For Telling.ai, the future uses AI to examine your lungs.

“The next area for self-learning devices is respiratory analysis,” says Glueck. “The company’s vision is to turn every smartphone in the world into a powerful remote respiratory monitoring device through a simple app that will improve well-being and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits. “

AlphaLab Health is based on the suburban campus of Allegheny General Hospital in Bellevue, which gives businesses space to grow.

The companies chosen range from novice inventors to experienced serial entrepreneurs. They will be presented to investors and potential collaborators, and will have the resources of AGH Suburban laboratories and clinicians for partnerships.


“AlphaLab Health envelops entrepreneurs with a network of clinical and business experts who know how to help them succeed in the complex healthcare system,” says Megan Shaw, Managing Director of Life Sciences at Innovation Works. “The program brings together all the strengths of Innovation Works and AHN, then adds mentors, access to clients, clinicians with in-depth experience and knowledge of the field, and other resources that can assist these founders. talented at overcoming challenges they would otherwise face.

The incubator builds on the success of Innovation Works and AlphaLab Gear’s AlphaLab software accelerator, which helps start-ups create physical products. Since its launch in 1999, Innovation Works has invested more than $ 113 million in 729 companies. These companies have raised more than $ 2.9 billion in follow-up investments from several hundred investors.

Here is the list of other AlphaLab Health 2021-22 startups:

• MindTrace is developing technology that enables neurosurgeons to remove brain tumors and seizure-causing tissue, while ensuring that every patient leaves the hospital the same as they arrived, preserving their personality and skills .

Hale Therapeutics co-founders Josh Hale and Devin Serago. Photo courtesy of Innovation Works.

• Hale Therapeutics’ mission is to end one of the leading causes of preventable death: smoking. The startup combines the science of smoking cessation with a smart medical vaporizer that automatically and gradually reduces nicotine intake over time, helping people achieve their goal to quit smoking.

• Naima Health is developing the MyHealthyPregnancy app, which uses machine learning and fetal health expertise to help pregnant women minimize their risk of adverse outcomes.

• Spoken helps people with aphasia or other language disorders return to speech by predicting likely words and sentences. The company took the same machine learning algorithms that power a phone’s autocomplete function and applied them to deliver suggestions that are tailored to a particular context and improve over time.


Allegheny General Hospital Suburban CampusAllegheny Health NetworkAlphaLabAlphalab HealthInnovation Works

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