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Sunday, February 5, 2023
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Taking Those Ingenious Ideas into the Commercial Pastures

Human beings can do a lot of things really well, but to tell you the truth, there is nothing we do better than growing on a consistent basis. This progressive tendency of ours has already fetched us some huge milestones, with technology appearing as a major member of the stated group. The main reason why technology enjoys such an esteemed stature among people is down to its skill-set, which ushered us towards a reality that we couldn’t have imagined otherwise. Nevertheless, a slightly closer look should reveal how the whole runner was also very much inspired by the way we applied those skills across a real-world environment. The latter component was, in fact, what gave the creation a spectrum-wide presence, including a timely appearance on our healthcare block. Technology’s foray into healthcare was a moment so notable, as it came right when the sector was beginning to struggle against its own obsolete structure. This reality, fortunately for us, went through a complete overhaul under the new regime, but even after achieving such a monumental feat, the emerging medtech concept will somehow continue to produce all the right goods. The same has turned more and more evident on the back of our recent progression, and assuming a new collaboration pans out just like how it is envisioned, the whole runner can only be expected to become bigger and better moving forward.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has officially teamed up with Amazon Web Services to create a venture studio, which is likely to be purposed around turning the university’s digital health research concepts into full-fledged startups. According several reports, the partnership will support upto 25 concept development projects over three years, except with varying timelines in play here, the organizations have set themselves a more realistic goal of launching around 10 startups during the stated period. As for what areas they are going to focus upon, both UNC and AWS have shown notable interest in improving healthcare access, patient outcomes, and the patient and provider experience. To achieve this ambition, they, from an operational standpoint, will promote projects that include platforms to help providers better run their enterprises, platforms to help clinicians and clinical support staff, products that store and transmit clinical information to guide care, products that aid in the diagnosis or monitoring of patients, and medical interventions or therapies.

Apart from AWS, the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Oracle also tried to bag the collaboration in question, but according Bob Dieterle, the venture studio’s managing director, they all had one big problem.

“We need a new model than what is currently being done,” Dieterle said. “If you look at the big tech companies, they’re very siloed. They have a public sector team, and all they care about is selling to a university, for example. Then they have a startups team. These teams don’t necessarily work together. And then the startups team will wait for a university startup to be spun out, and then they engage with them. And they have innovation programs — and these programs, disparately, really don’t work. We need to identify a pipeline.”

AWS, on the other hand, seemingly displayed a unique enthusiasm about the project, and to prove its interest in the same, the company even clubbed its public sector team, startup team, and research team together, and subsequently, worked with UNC to create a single concept development process.

Coming back to the projects, UNC researchers whose projects are selected will also receive guidance from AWS software developers who specialize in cybersecurity, computing, biomedical research, and healthcare machine learning. But how will the commercialization bit work? Well, once launched, these startups will likely generate revenue through licensing their technology, with a chunk of the money going to UNC for providing all the necessary resources. Beyond that, the university will also become an active investor in the companies, and therefore, unlock an extensive cash inflow for itself.

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