The CEO Council for Growth (“CEO Council”) announced the creation of the Health Care Innovation Collaborative (“Collaborative”) at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Region event today.  The Collaborative serves as a multi-institutional structure that will distinguish the region and help it become the global leader in health care innovation.  Through the involvement and support of its Founding Members — Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Comcast, Drexel University, Independence Blue Cross, Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. (NYSE:SFE), Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System, and University of Pennsylvania Health System — the Collaborative will identify and solve institutional needs by connecting its members to innovative solutions.


The Greater Philadelphia region is a knowledge-based economy supported by a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation.   It is a region that is rich in top-rated academic and institutional research together with renowned health care delivery and life sciences clusters.  These important economic actors have placed the region for strong continued growth and development in health care innovation.  If appropriately marshaled, these world-class health care assets can accelerate and lead the development of innovation in health care technology and delivery.


The Collaborative was born of the CEO Council’s Health Care Innovation Task Force, co-chaired by John Fry, President of Drexel University and Dan Hilferty, President & CEO of Independence Blue Cross.


Hilferty said, “In its most simple form, the Collaborative helps early-stage companies avoid the guessing game they often face, wondering what solutions large health care institutions are looking for and developing products or services that may or may not be needed. Instead, through the Collaborative, innovators can better tailor their solutions to directly address the health challenges both they and health care organizations feel are critical. That will save time, energy, and money, and bring solutions to market faster to keep people well.”


Fry added, “The Collaborative creates an intersection between our large health care institutions and innovators in a way that removes barriers to market entry and growth. These two communities greatly need one another but often struggle to connect due to excessive ‘noise’ and unmatched product supply and demand.”


Steve Zarrilli, President & CEO of Safeguard Scientifics, stated, “By providing innovators access to a collaboration of institutions working together to solve challenges in health care, Greater Philadelphia will continue to attract some of the best ideas into this ecosystem.”


Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System said, “Philadelphia is home to some of the nation’s top innovators in clinical care, biomedical research, and medical education. Combining our efforts to tackle universal challenges will harness our impressive individual might in new and powerful ways, and provide opportunities to catalyze change that creates opportunities and saves lives.”


Steven Klasko, President and CEO at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System, added “We are convinced that the Philadelphia region can become an international solutions center, where our business, educational and healthcare institutions can be a hub for innovation for the nation. At Jefferson, we’ve elevated innovation as a mission for our university and health system. We believe we must contribute to America’s leading role in creating an optimistic future for all of us and new ways to build health care that improves the lives of patients at home and in their communities.”


Madeline Bell, President and Chief Operating Officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said, “CHOP is excited to be a part of a regional asset that will improve connectivity across the ecosystem in a way that brings disruptive innovations quickly to market, which will advance health care delivery for children.”


Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable, said, “Innovation is in the DNA of our City and Region, and in all of the institutions that are a part of the Health Care Collaborative. By coming together, we can drive transformation in an industry that is critical to both our national and local economies.”


RoseAnn Rosenthal, President & CEO at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, stated, “At Ben Franklin Technology Partners, we are constantly engaged in activities that cultivate and scale early-stage activity in our region.  From our standpoint, this Collaborative will grow the region’s health technology community, create well-paying jobs, and develop health care breakthroughs for our economy.” Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Rittenhouse Ventures will each commit $1 million dollars of available funding to support the companies from the Collaborative that choose to commercialize and locate within the Greater Philadelphia region.


“The CEO Council is excited to announce the development of this important asset to our region,” said CEO Council Chairman and Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Rob Wonderling.  “In addition to fostering and facilitating innovations in health care, the Collaborative will attract public and private capital to the regional ecosystem and increase job opportunities for high-skilled talent that come from company formation and business growth.  It will have a tremendous ripple effect on our economy.”


Working in concert with the CEO Council, a Program Director will facilitate identification of common health care needs among partnering institutions, create and manage a process for receiving proposed health care solutions, and assist early-stage companies in navigating the region’s ecosystem.


Select Greater Philadelphia, a business attraction marketing organization dedicated to promoting the Greater Philadelphia region nationally and globally, will support the Collaborative.  Select’s branding of the region will bring greater awareness to the strengths of this sector in Greater Philadelphia.  It will match perception with reality and attract companies to start or stay in the region.