Panel: How Labcorp is investing in the future of healthcare by supporting a wide range of innovative solutions
Health and physician system leaders are facing unprecedented challenges while operating in an ever-evolving healthcare landscape. In support of Labcorp’s mission to improve health and improve lives, the Labcorp Venture Fund invests in early-stage private companies operating in strategic or adjacent spaces developing novel solutions to important problems in health and healthcare.
In a November Becker's Hospital Review webinar sponsored by Labcorp, Megann Vaughn Watters, vice president and head of Labcorp's New Ventures and Strategic Alliances, discussed the mission of the Labcorp Venture Fund and facilitated the sharing of innovation stories from five leaders from the Labcorp Venture Fund investment portfolio. Partner panelists were:
- Bill Bunker, CEO, Navigating Cancer
- Sita Kapoor, CIO and founder, HealthEC
- Albert Kelley, CEO, Perthera
- Irfan Khan, CEO, CircuitClinical
- Kyle Michelson, CEO, GetLabs
Three key takeaways were:
Labcorp works to accelerate access to new science, technology and innovation through the Labcorp Venture Fund.
Corporate venture capital helps organizations hedge their risks when exploring new technologies through a portfolio of investments. "This helps us tap into future growth opportunities by complementing other tools such as in-house research and development, partnerships and mergers and acquisitions," Vaughn Watters said. "It gives us the ability to learn from our partners, work with startups operating in potential growth areas and mitigate the risk of doing all of our R&D ourselves or making an acquisition too early."
The 10-year-old Labcorp Venture Fund has invested in a wide range of innovative solutions.
Labcorp has helped advance technologies that are making healthcare more convenient, accessible, affordable and personalized. The company is a strategic minority investor in early-stage private companies, directly investing more than $180 million since 2012. Labcorp makes an average of five new investments per year.
"We have been investing in companies focused on decentralizing services to make them more convenient and accessible," Vaughn Watters said.
"They are working on technologies that can collect biological or data samples in the home and new service models that enable hybrid virtual clinical trials and increased trial participation to bring research to more historically underserved populations."
A panel representing five Labcorp Venture Fund investment portfolio companies all share a common mission to improve healthcare
The discussion focused on a few themes, including how ongoing innovation at these companies can improve care delivery and reduce the overall cost of care, enable data-driven decision-making for populations and accelerated drug development, or make healthcare more patient-centric and personalized to improve outcomes in all areas of medicine. Among the innovative areas that Labcorp has invested in are:
- Streamlining communications with cancer patients. "Our platform enables people to take their data and insights and make them actionable," Bunker said. "We impact oncology care on a daily basis across the entire patient base at a practice."
- Providing aggregated data to all parties. "We take data and bring it to the provider at the practice level, enabling them to reduce costs," Kapoor said. "We take this experience to community practices so they can apply some of the same business rules to their population to drive value-based contracts."
- Using AI to recommend most up-to-date oncology therapies. "We take test data, put it into algorithms and combine it with expert input. This allows us to provide rank therapies shown to provide quality care and reduce costs more effectively," Kelley said.
- Moving clinical research to the community. "Although academic medicine and private research sites have done a great job in drug discovery, they are at capacity," Khan said. "We see an opportunity to connect those non-academic health systems and find a way to make it easier for them to conduct research. We have partners that can provide the staff, tech stack and trial availability. This can lead to a different version of drug development in America that is more democratic and more racially representative of the country as well as speed drug development time and reduce the cost."
- Obtaining labs from the patients' location. "We've created a national, tech-enabled network that allows a seamless deployment of phlebotomists who act as a physical extension of your system into the home," Michelson said.
By offering financial resources, expertise and patient data, Labcorp can help accelerate the development of a wide range of healthcare innovations.