A Q&A with Roger Kitterman

How do these new funds enhance the Partners Innovation Fund?

These funds extend the capabilities we built with PIF.  TIF will allow us to invest in technologies at an earlier stage within our system and drive them towards becoming products for patients.  AIDIF broadens our investment scope to include technologies developed outside our system for the first time.

 

What distinguishes them from funds provided by traditional venture capital?

TIF is investing at an earlier stage – before traditional venture capital would be willing to take on development.  AIDIF is another tool that we will use to work with early stage companies in the AI and digital space that are looking to partner with us.

 

What criteria will you use to select projects?

Two main criteria – what is the commercial opportunity for an investment (return) and, more importantly, what is the potential impact on improving patient care.

 

Why is it so important to provide funding (via the Translational Innovation Fund) at this specific point in the development process? (After discovery work but before they are ready for commercialization)

TIF addresses a stage in discovery and development that is not well funded.  While translational grants from NIH and others exist, they are rare and not enough to meet the needs of faculty working in this space.  Pharma and biotech are looking for projects that are later stage.

 

Why is it important to improve the ability of Partners Investigators to conduct translational research?

Translational work is a key step in the process that transforms technologies and discoveries into become products to improve the care and treatment of patients.  Without this funding, good ideas will not be developed into the products our physicians need.

 

What are the benefits of collaborating with AI companies at an early stage? For the companies? For Partners?

Partners is a large enterprise with a wide variety of needs and capabilities.  By partnering at an early stage, we can work together to develop products that address the actual (rather than theoretical) needs of hospitals and patients.

 

How will patients benefit from the projects that develop out of these funds? Providers? Health care systems?

We are looking for projects that will improve patient care, the patient experience, and increase the efficiency of healthcare delivery.

 

What messages would you send to AI companies who might be interested in collaboration? And to Partners investigators who have projects that they are interested in translating?

We have a shared goal of developing technologies together.

 

What’s next for PIF in 2020?

We are continuing to build a portfolio of companies developing breakthrough treatments for unmet medical needs.  PIF just invested in its 40th company, and the pipeline is strong so we anticipate announcing more investments soon.