First ‘Inject Tech Challenge’ Crowns Winners

Posted: Updated:
BioCrossroads awarded Regenstrief Institute (left) top prize. DigiBiomarkers' technology (right) won second place. BioCrossroads awarded Regenstrief Institute (left) top prize. DigiBiomarkers' technology (right) won second place.

Digital technology is defining the future for Indiana’s life science companies, say local leaders. The state’s life sciences initiative BioCrossroads is fanning the flame of entrepreneurs dreaming up the digital health solutions of tomorrow. The organization recently launched the Inject Tech Challenge, a digital health competition to award a $10,000 top prize each year and, more importantly, boost the tech innovations that life sciences companies are clamoring for.

“Digital technology is in everything [Indiana] life sciences companies are doing; it’s in the data they’re bringing to their research and the way they see a lot of strategic collaborations going forward,” says BioCrossroads President and Chief Executive Officer David Johnson. “We think it’s important to drive more thought and attention to the entrepreneurial side of that—particularly in a community as strong as ours is in the tech innovation area.”

Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute and the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI won the competition with a digital tool that predicts the level of risk a patient faces within the social determinants of health. 

“What really drives whether you’re sick or healthy—your overall wellbeing—is largely a product of your environment and your behaviors,” says Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Dr. Josh Vest, who is also the director of the Center for Health Policy at the School of Public Health at IUPUI. “Social factors, or social determinants of health, influence your choices, access to care and behaviors; they’re dramatically important.”

Social determinants include transportation options, socioeconomic conditions and a person’s availability of resources to meet daily needs, such as educational and job opportunities or healthy foods. Vest says healthcare doesn’t become aware of social challenges until patients “hit crisis mode” and that addressing patients’ social factors can potentially save a health system up to $2.4 million annually in avoided hospitalization costs.

In contrast to conventional, “reactive” strategies, Regenstrief’s technology aims to be proactive; the social risk prediction app will identify patients during their primary care visit who could benefit from social interventions. The app issues patients a score within their electronic health record, such as high risk or low risk. The risk score is based on more than 100 clinical, behavioral, social and environmental factors, and compared to the needs of other patients at Eskenazi Health, Regenstrief’s clinical partner. The information is supplemented with data from the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE).

“Maybe [the patient] lives in a food desert, a high crime area, an area with a high prevalence of smoking or obesity or they have transportation challenges,” says Vest. “Then, we layer on as much as we know about their individual behaviors–such as smoking status and lab data. We pull all of those together to inform our models and present a snapshot score within the electronic health record.”

Indianapolis-based DigiBiomarkers, LLC won second place for its technology that captures information directly from patients in clinical trials. DigiBiomarkers founder Bharath Bynagari says current methods of collecting data from patients are subjective, inefficient and time-consuming. The startup has created a cloud-based platform that collects patient data simultaneously from multiple sources, including the patient’s smartphone, connected device (such as an activity tracker) and web applications. In addition to cutting costs and collecting patient data in real-time, DigiBiomarkers says patients become more engaged and more likely to stick to the study’s protocol.

“We’re going to select 10 clinical trials within the Indiana University Health system, so they can use our platform,” says Bynagari. “We’re going to use those 10 cases to test our platform, make sure it works and then we can go to market saying we tested in 10 different trials.”

BioCrossroads hopes the competition not only helps young tech ventures advance their innovations, but sparks connections with legacy life sciences companies in Indiana.

“Large companies that are trying to explore platforms in [digital health] are very interested in smaller company partners,” says Johnson. “They’re not necessarily looking to partner with Amazon or Google; they really are looking for entrepreneurial solutions and trying to ‘live off the land’ of the environment they’re in. This competition gives us an opportunity to show our big life sciences companies that there’s an entrepreneurial energy and really good future here.”

Bynagari explains the conventional, cumbersome method of collecting clinical trial patient data that DigiBiomarkers aims to eliminate.
Johnson says it’s critical to showcase that Indiana is home to tech entrepreneurship that is focused on the life sciences.
Vest says the social risk prediction app is a proactive approach that is showing positive results at Eskenazi Health, which has been using the tool for about one year.
  • Perspectives

    • The Art of The Apology

      You screwed up. You handled something the wrong way, or you failed to handle it when you should have. Now what are you going to do? If you're a big company, you're probably going to screw up some more. Oh, you’ll attempt some kind of public apology, but it will be so halfhearted or passive-aggressive that you'll get called on it, and you’ll find yourself taking a second whack at the apology tree. That's the conclusion I’ve drawn as I've...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Preferred Route For I-69 Bridge Unveiled

      The team overseeing the I-69 Ohio River Crossing project has unveiled a preferred route for the extension of the interstate connecting Evansville and Henderson, Kentucky. The group has also released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the effort, which identifies preferred alternatives for the route with different tolling options. The project team, which includes the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, is recommending the...

    • $600M Waste-to-Fuel Plant Coming to Gary

      A California-based renewable jet fuel and diesel producer has announced plans for a massive investment in northwest Indiana. Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. says it will invest $600 million to build the Centerpoint BioFuels Plant in Gary, which will convert municipal solid waste into renewable transportation fuel. The project is expected to create up to 163 jobs by the end of 2022. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says Centerpoint will be located at an industrial site that will be...

    • Committee to Steer Future of Bloomington Hospital Site

      A newly-formed group tasked with providing the next steps for the Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital property will hold its first meeting Monday. The Hospital Re-Use Steering Committee will begin the effort to re-envision the property, which will be acquired by the city upon completion of the new Indiana University Health Regional Academic Health Center.

    • National Guard Academy Targets At-Risk Youth

      Indiana's adjutant general says the Hoosier Youth Challenge Academy in Knightstown continues to make a difference by offering at-risk teenagers a second chance. The academy, which was established in 2007, will Saturday celebrate another graduating class. The program uses quasi-military training, structure and discipline for students between the ages of 16 and 18 who have dropped out of school or are severely deficient in credits. In an interview on Inside INdiana Business...

    • Scotty's Brewhouse Files For Bankruptcy

      Indianapolis-based Scotty's Brewhouse has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company says the decision was "driven largely by the challenges of some specific locations and was necessary because of the way the company was structured corporately." As a result of the deal, Scotty's will close four of its restaurants by the end of the year. In a news release provided to Inside INdiana Business...