Innovation on the Move at JHU

According to the new Johns Hopkins University (JHU) publication “FastForward Innovations”, new ideas and projects are really taking hold at the university and moving forward at a rapid rate. The JHU technology transfer program called FastForward is designed to move academic findings and translational research rapidly into the commercial marketplace.

Sebastian Seiguer founded “emocha Mobile Health” that became part of Dreamit Health Baltimore which is an accelerator to develop health IT and healthcare startups. The company developed an online remote patient management platform for clinicians to monitor patients’ symptoms and recovery via smartphones.

In spring 2013, several Maryland organizations including JHU invited Dreamit Health to come to Baltimore to run its second accelerator for tech startups in healthcare,” said Dreamit Ventures Managing Partner Elliot Menschik.

Dreamit works with teams to create companies which otherwise might take years, but Dreamit can accomplish the goal in just four months. Dreamit accelerators are characterized by seed capital, intensive one-on-one mentorship from previously successful tech entrepreneurs, access to key people, expertise, and information typically beyond the reach of a startup.

Dreamit received 130 applications and accepted nine startups. Today, four of these companies are negotiating with investors for more than $1 million in capital, and another venture has committed revenues in excess of $600,000.  Also, Dreamit’s second cohort of six health IT startups and six cybersecurity startups will begin work in the accelerator in January 2015.

In another project, Johns Hopkins has a partnership agreement with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) The program is aimed at speeding up the development of new technology and moving the resulting products toward the marketplace more quickly.

The agreement will enable ATAP to draw on the expertise of computer scientists and others at JHU and approve funds for joint technology projects in as few as 30 days.  That will mean that the turnaround time will be much shorter than the period typically required for obtaining grants from government agencies and private organizations.

The “Maryland Innovation Initiative” (MII),, a program of the  Maryland Technology Development Corporation called TEDCO, draws from a general fund of $5.8 million to fund startups at five Maryland university research institutions including JHU.

The program is designed to promote commercialization of research conducted in the partnership universities to move promising academic findings aggressively toward product development and then into the commercial sector.

RespEQ Inc. a biotech startup is using Hopkins research to make a home monitoring system for people with sleep disorders. This is a good example of a company that has used MII grants to get their business off the ground. Now, the company has advanced through the program and is seeking outside investment.

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