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LA is Big. And Connected. And Could Be the Future of RPM.

LA is Big. And Connected. And Could Be the Future of RPM.

Insight by: Dave Whelan

That was the subject of a recent talk that I gave at the first Unlocking Potential Digital Health Summit in Pittsburgh. The theme was “The Future of Digital Health & Remote Population Monitoring (RPM).” Throughout the conference, speakers touched on a variety of topics, from remote monitoring in research to health equity, biometrics and wearables to virtual reality, imaging to design.

I was delighted to be able to share some updates about the growing life sciences ecosystem in Los Angeles, with an emphasis on some local innovations in remote patient monitoring. As I noted, LA might be the best-kept secret in life sciences – an emerging hub for healthcare innovation in California (and beyond!).

LA is home to world-class academic research organizations, medical centers serving millions of patients, a skilled and diverse workforce, and industry-leading companies such as Amgen, Grifols, Kite/Gilead, Medtronic, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and ThermoFisher.

Los Angeles and California have always boasted access to venture capital, but new early-stage life sciences investors create a strong and growing funding base. Los Angeles County has long led the state in NIH grant funding and recently has overtaken its better-known neighbor San Diego in life sciences jobs and employment. 

The Greater Los Angeles Area is home to over 18 million people, representing nearly half the state of California, with a culture that values collaboration and a tremendous diversity. We have a population representative of the entire world. 

We have a life sciences ecosystem that spans biotech, medtech, digital health, telemedicine, health IT, synthetic biology, and more. And we have a diversity of complementary industries, from aerospace and agriculture, to apparel and cleantech, to of course media and entertainment, all with ties to our growing bio innovation ecosystem. 

According to a 2021 Moove It report, “Global Capitals of Healthtech Innovation,” LA is #4 in global healthtech innovation, behind Boston, New York, and San Francisco. In future updates, I will share more about how I see biotech, medtech, and digital health converging – and why I think Los Angeles can be an epicenter for this innovation – but for the moment, I want to highlight a few LA companies that I discussed in Pittsburgh:

  • Biostrap is taking wearable technology to the next level, with medical-grade biosensors and advanced analytics to provide custom digital health solutions for healthcare, clinical research, and space industries.
  • Healthvana has developed “last mile” health information tools for HIV and COVID-19, including test results and vaccination records. More recently, the company has expanded into just-in-time delivery of antiviral treatments.
  • Quantgene and its Serenity platform are providing genomics solutions that bring together genomics expertise, telemedicine, and concierge medicine, to develop a “future of medicine where all disease is prevented and detected at the earliest stage.
  • Stasis Labs, one of the first companies I met during the early days of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, has developed an FDA-cleared patient monitoring system that combines elegant hardware, accessible apps, and cloud technology to bring it all together.
  • Clinical trials companies like Lightship and Topography are continuing to drive innovation in patient access, speed- and cost-to-market, and inclusivity, leveraging technology to support drug development.
 

While any one of these companies could exist elsewhere, I believe that LA is home to a unique community that makes it possible for all of them to thrive here. This is why, for many years, I have proclaimed to all that will listen that, when it comes to healthcare, I am #LongLA

Thanks again to Unlocking Potential for the opportunity to kick off this new event series. As a former small-town Pennsylvania boy who spent his freshman year of college at Carnegie Mellon, it was great to be back in the ‘Burgh. Unlocking Potential heads to Birmingham, Alabama next (September 29), to tackle “The Evolution of Digital Health in Rural America.” The year will conclude at BioscienceLA (November 9), where the program will address “LA: California’s Emerging Hub for AI and Blockchain in Bioscience Innovation.” If you are interested in speaking, attending, or sponsoring, please let me know.