UH Ventures program spotlights tech startups in the fight against the opioid crisis

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Winning companies from Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge share ideas at first UH Ventures Voyagers Series highlighting technologies and innovations advancing patient care and community health


CLEVELAND – Nine out of the 12 startup projects that last fall won funding from Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge came together on Jan. 18 at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center to share their ideas, provide feedback to each other, and look for opportunities for collaboration.


The companies were hosted by UH Ventures, UH’s innovations and ventures arm, in a program called “Startups vs. the Opioid Crisis.” It was the first program in UH Ventures’ new Health Voyagers series.


Each company made a 12-minute presentation about its technology projects that have the potential to help curb increasing rates of opioid-related addiction, overdoses, and deaths.


“Today’s event advances our efforts to build and scale the technologies needed to mitigate the tides of the opioid epidemic,” explained Eric Beck, DO, MPH, an emergency physician and President of UH Ventures. “We need platforms like this to connect with each other, learn from each other, and find creative ways to work together, especially in the face of one of the most devastating health crises of our time.”


The companies presenting:

  • Apportis from Dublin, Ohio, which created an integrated platform allowing patients to connect electronically to licensed health care professionals and opioid addiction resources, as a complement to medication-assisted therapies.


  • Brave from Vancouver, Canada, which built an online platform for remote supervision of people who use drugs in isolation, providing them with community-based support and access to overdose prevention and response.


  • Innovative Health Solutions from Versailles, Ind., which developed a device for addressing symptoms of opioid withdrawal.


  • InteraSolutions from Orem, Utah, which developed an opioid risk assessment screening app that identifies patients with risk factors for opioid abuse.


  • OpiSafe from Denver, is developing an automated patient monitoring system for opioid prescribers that would include alerts about opioid dosage, pain and function scoring, and toxicology lab integration.


  • from Aurora, Ohio, has developed a website to enable people struggling with addiction to find recovery service providers, ranging from detox to housing to employment.


  • Prapela from Concord, Mass., is developing a device to help treat opioid-exposed newborns with postnatal drug withdrawal syndrome.


  • DynamiCare Health from Boston, has created a digital platform, using evidence-based psychosocial treatments to help patients struggling with opioid addiction.


A UH team presented its own program developed in Northeast Ohio, UH Care Continues, a computer-based technology for opioid surveillance, which also received funding the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge.


The Ohio Opioid Tech Challenge awarded each of these companies, as well as three others, $200,000 from the “challenge” portion of the competition. They will go on for the next phase called the “product” portion, in which four recipients will receive a prize of $1 million.


Company presentations were followed by panel Q&A, tech demonstrations and networking opportunities.


Approximately 100 people attended from Northeast Ohio’s biotech community and UH.


“UH Ventures is a critical part of our strategy to move our system forward to its next generation,” said Thomas F. Zenty III, UH’s Chief Executive Officer. “UH Ventures was built to draw on the historic and current strengths of University Hospitals to pursue the innovative opportunities that will drive definitive, sustainable and scalable value to the way we care for our patients. Today’s program allowed us to evaluate the ideas, innovators and capital we can put together to make a more powerful and sustainable impact on the opioid crisis.”





About University Hospitals / Cleveland, Ohio

Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and 200 physician offices in 16 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, located in Cleveland’s University Circle, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The main campus also includes University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital, Ohio’s only hospital for women; University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, a high-volume national referral center for complex cardiovascular procedures; and University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women’s health, orthopedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and urology. UH Cleveland Medical Center is perennially among the highest performers in national ranking surveys, including “America’s Best Hospitals” from U.S. News & World Report. UH is also home to Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals – part of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. UH is one of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio with 28,000 physicians and employees.


Advancing the Science of Health and the Art of Compassionis UH’s vision for benefitting its patients into the future, and the organization’s unwavering mission is To Heal. To Teach. To Discover. Follow UH on Facebook @UniversityHospitals and Twitter @UHhospitals. For more information, visit


About UH Ventures

UH Ventures, launched last year, evaluates opportunities through partnership, investment, collaboration and other arrangements to further University Hospitals’ strategic plan, while managing a portfolio of assets to maximize growth. UH Ventures was built to draw on the historic and current strengths of University Hospitals to pursue the opportunities that will make definitive economic, experience, and clinical impacts both today and tomorrow. We achieve this through two platforms: (1) Our Business Optimization Platform, which includes the oversight and

potentialization of existing UH verticals including Specialty Pharmacy, Post-acute and Home Care, Lab Services, and others; and our (2) Innovation & Commercialization Platform, which stands up a variety of opportunities that can play a vital role in the overall future of healthcare.


With our early-stage partners, we will be piloting the next generation of patient-centric tools and business technologies that will help raise the standard of care and deliver higher-quality outcomes. For more information: