Aspire targets $300M personalized medical device fund

Buoyed by its support, Aspire thinks its portfolio companies can get devices to market faster and for less money. (pasja1000)

Aspire Universal is trying to raise a $300 million precision medicine fund to back personalized device firms. The fund will invest in companies that tap into artificial intelligence and the internet of things to deliver scalable devices tailored to the biology and lifestyle of individuals.

Investment group Aspire and fellow general partner Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (LG Health) have contributed a combined $30 million to the fund. Aspire is now trying to raise the other $270 million, MobiHealthNews reports. In doing so, the firm will target strategic investors capable of contributing more than money to the initiative.

That is in keeping with the existing capabilities of the fund. Aspire is contributing what it describes as a “meta-artificial intelligence platform.” Existing Aspire portfolio investment Tempo Health is using the technology in a system designed to improve glycemic control. 

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LG Health brings its clinicians to the collaboration. By getting the input of people who will use the devices early in the process, Aspire thinks it can help companies avoid issues that could slow R&D or commercial uptake down the line. That thinking is further reinforced by the involvement of health insurer Capital Blue Cross, which is contributing to a 12-week process intended to equip companies backed by the fund to speed through reimbursement and pilot deployments.

The result is a series of support systems covering early research through to reimbursement. 

“We’ve put in accelerators at the R&D level with AI. We put in an accelerator now for clinical trials. We put in an accelerator for FDA approval. And then the last accelerator and what is probably the most significant is the Smart Health Innovation Lab, the joint venture with Capital Blue Cross to accelerate through the commercialization and insurance reimbursement process,” Essam Abadir, managing partner at Aspire, told MobiHealthNews.

Buoyed by this support, Aspire thinks its portfolio companies can get devices to market faster and for less money. The ability of the system to deliver on that promise is unproven, for now, but Aspire can point to the preliminary progress of companies that have tapped into some of the systems to provide a little support for its claims.

For example, the aforementioned diabetes startup Tempo has shared data (PDF) from an observational study of a diabetes management system that uses Aspire’s platform. The system takes data on the insulin use, activity and nutrition of a patient from connected devices and other sources. Then, using Aspire’s platform, the system makes recommendations to support blood glucose control. 

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