Struggling Pittsburgh Investment Firm Rebuilds Around Digital Health

8-25-2013 6-42-23 PM

The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, an investment firm focusing on seed round funding for life sciences startups, announces that it will increase investments in the digital health market, which it perceives as a an easier segment to invest in within the life sciences industry. The greenhouse is a joint partnership between the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, UPMC, and the state of Pennsylvania.

Investment returns have been unforgiving in the highly regulated life sciences industry as of late. Responding to diminished returns in the pharmaceutical and medical device segments, and an overall shrinking pool of funds to invest, Pittsburgh Life Sciences announced that it would be cutting full time staff positions and reducing its office space by half in an effort to drive down administrative costs. It also announced that it would be focusing its investment dollars on low-cost, high-impact investment opportunities that are less bogged down in pre-market regulation. For this, the firm has turned to digital and mobile health startups.

Currently, Pittsburgh Life Sciences has $2 million invested in health IT startups, including:

  • PHRQL Inc., a personal health record startup that helps dieticians track patients’ eating habits by monitoring grocery purchases.
  • NewCare Solutions, a home care platform designed to monitor elderly patients and extend independent living.
  • Wellbridge Health, a startup working in the development phase that is focusing on tracking acute care hospital costs and reducing readmissions.

The greenhouse hopes that the unregulated and federally subsidized health IT markets will prove to be fertile grounds for its investment dollars.

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