Bear's Den Innovation Program

Supporting Breakthroughs in Health Care Technology and Delivery

At Hackensack Meridian Health, innovation is in our DNA. To deliver on our mission of providing pioneering, integrated care for our patients, our Bear’s Den Innovation Program is a novel health network accelerator that brings together a panel of industry experts to evaluate innovative health care products and services, establish strategic partnerships, and provide funding to bring promising ideas to market.

Our panel of experts includes:

  • Leading physicians with subject matter expertise
  • Seasoned network executives
  • Venture capitalists
  • Angel Investors
  • Attorneys with patent and transaction expertise
  • Researchers and scientists
  • Other health care and technology experts

The panel meets approximately four times per year to review the most promising ideas for health care innovations — including ideas submitted by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, health care ecosystem partners and some of Hackensack Meridian Health’s 36,000+ team members.

Bear’s Den Portfolio Companies

Established in 2017 through a $25 million investment from Hackensack Meridian Health, the Bear’s Den panel assesses approximately 200 companies and early stage ideas each year. In addition to potential funding opportunities, or strategic relationships with Hackensack Meridian Health, venture capitalists may choose to make separate investments in Bear’s Den innovations.

Since the program’s inception, six companies have received Bear’s Den funding in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Companies that have received funding include:

  • Alloplex Biotherapeutics (2021): Alloplex Biotherapeutics is a privately held, Boston-based cellular therapeutics company. Their lead oncology therapeutic is a PBMC-derived multicellular adoptive immunotherapy which they call SUPLEXA cells. They use proprietary leukocyte activator cell lines (ENLiST cells), which are engineered from a common tumor cell line to express an array of immunomodulatory ligands designed to specifically engage and activate various subsets of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) through their native receptors. Alloplex has developed SUPLEXA cells through the use of an all-human in vitro assay which not only models the intended ex vivo activation of patient PBMC but is, in fact, the actual procedure to be deployed in the clinic.
  • Fluid Form (2021): FluidForm’s proprietary technology, published in Science, is the first in the world to build replacement human tissues and organs for drug discovery, surgical repair, and organ transplant.
  • EpiBone (2020): EpiBone is a developer of a bone reconstruction technology designed to advance skeletal reconstruction through 3D design and living cells. The company’s technology utilizes a scan of the bone defect and the patient’s own stem cells to construct and cultivate a defect-specific autologous-like bone graft, enabling clinicians to provide patients with a bone graft through a simplified surgical procedure with improved bone formation, regeneration and shorter recovery times.
  • Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (2019): Adaptive Phage Therapeutics is a provider of therapeutic services intended to treat multi-drug resistant pathogenic bacteria. The company’s services are provided using clinical and therapeutic technology that matches phages to patient-specific bacterial infections, thereby enabling medical researchers to develop drugs that can detect and eliminate multi-drug resistant bacteria.
  • Purple Sun (2017): PurpleSun is the only technology company with the full sustainable solution to automate hospital disinfection for complex medical equipment and patient rooms with the goal of preventing and reducing health care-associated infections. Its novel light-based technology takes ~90 seconds and is 99.99 percent effective. FMUV Shadowless Delivery essentially removes human error and variability in the current labor-intensive manual-chemical process, while saving time.
  • Pillo Health (2017): Pillo Health, which was acquired by Stanley Black+Decker, developed Pillo, a health robot for the home. With the goal of encouraging medication compliance and reducing hospital admission rates caused by medication non-adherence, Pillo reminds patients to take medication, dispenses medications, digitally coordinates prescription refills and connects individuals in their homes with physicians, caregivers and loved ones.

Are you up for the Innovation Challenge?

Are you a New Jersey based start-up or early-stage company with an innovative solution or technology targeted at reducing 30 - day readmission rates? We are launching a unique quality improvement challenge that not only assists improvement in readmission rates, but also improves clinical quality and the patient experience.

If you are a New Jersey based health and wellness company looking for clinical collaborators to address this common challenge, we are interested in learning more.

This Innovation Challenge seeks to reduce 30-day readmissions for: acute myocardial infarction; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; heart failure; pneumonia; coronary artery bypass graft surgery; and elective primary total hip arthroplasty and/or total knee arthroplasty.

We will be accepting applications for consideration from May 6 - July 15, 2022. Simply complete the form on this page to learn more.

Have an Innovative Idea?

Are you a start-up or early-stage company with an innovative solution or technology? Are you looking for strategic collaborators? If so, we want to hear from you! Complete the form below:

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