Seven early-stage health companies selected for Pittsburgh’s inaugural AlphaLab Health accelerator cohort

Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Chief Physician Executive for Community Health and Innovation at Allegheny Health Network (AHN)

“This is a unique collaboration between two world-class organizations, and the first cohort marks a key milestone for our partnership and for the region’s life-sciences community.” Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Chief Physician Executive for Community Health and Innovation at AHN.

AlphaLab Health, a Pittsburgh-based partnership of Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network, will invest up to $100,000 per company

Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network today announced seven companies selected for the inaugural class of AlphaLab Health, a newly created business accelerator the two organizations launched this year to provide promising health-care and life-sciences businesses with the resources and support they need to grow and thrive.

The first-ever accelerator class includes a variety of life sciences innovations, and the entrepreneurs behind them now have access to IW’s business mentorship expertise, AHN’s clinical resources, and up to $100,000 in seed investment.

The new accelerator will be housed in lab space under construction at AHN’s Allegheny General Hospital Suburban Campus in Bellevue.

“This is a unique collaboration between two world-class organizations, and the first cohort marks a key milestone for our partnership and for the region’s life-sciences community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, Chief Physician Executive for Community Health and Innovation at AHN. “In this initial class, we are seeding and mentoring a highly promising set of entrepreneurs whose technologies could advance patient testing, care, safety, and improve outcomes, and we look forward to helping them realize their full business potential.”

The competitive selection process drew hundreds of applicants from around the region and around the world. The seven companies that were ultimately selected to participate in the first cohort are representative of a broad range of technological maturity and business proficiency, from first-time inventors to experienced entrepreneurs.

As part of Alpha Lab Health, selected companies will receive custom educational programming relevant to early-stage life science companies; introduction to investors and collaborators through the IW network; business and entrepreneurial mentors within the Pittsburgh life science ecosystem; introductions to clinicians and decision-makers at AHN and Highmark Health; and access to wet labs and collaborative spaces at AGH Suburban.

AlphaLab Health is modeled after two other highly regarded IW accelerators, AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear.

“Innovation Works has built nationally ranked accelerators in the software and hardware spaces, and we are thrilled to bring our knowledge and expertise to the life science sector,” said Rich Lunak, president and CEO of Innovation Works. “The companies are shaving off time to market by learning from experts who have clinical, research and lab experience plus valuable access to AHN’s specialized resources. Together, we’re providing a springboard for these emerging companies.”

All companies will operate virtually in the near term.

The members of the inaugural AlphaLab Health cohort are:

  • CytoAgents, a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of innovative pharmaceutical products for the treatment of life-threatening symptoms associated with Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), an overreaction of the immune system causing systemic inflammation.
  • Emergence Dental, a research-and-development-stage dental device company exploring emerging new regenerative products created from metallic magnesium alloys, which safely resorb into the body after being implanted.
  • Gus Gear, which is developing a wearable Central Line Vest securement device for tunneled central catheters. The vests protect the entire catheter from exit site to hub and prevents line trauma.
  • JuneBrain Inc., which is developing a retinal imaging telehealth solution that allows providers to identify new disease activity outside of the clinic for the more than 500 million individuals worldwide suffering from retinal and neurological disease.
  • sovaSage is developing a digital healthcare platform that leverages mobile smartphone, machine learning, and patent-pending computer vision technologies to streamline and enhance the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and other chronic conditions managed in the home.
  • SpIntellx is a computational and systems pathology company revolutionizing the application of pathology in precision medicine. They use spatial analytics and artificial intelligence to analyze pathology samples and create predictive knowledge that informs therapeutic strategies and clinical decisions.
  • Sterile Vision is an early-stage company seeking to accurately track tools inside and outside the operating room via computer vision; hands-free tracking will lead to reduction of lost tools, optimization of large tool trays, increased OR efficiency, and decreased costs.



Innovation Works: Terri Glueck

412-818-8191 (mobile)

Allegheny Health Network: Stephanie Waite

412- 337-5484

About Innovation Works

Innovation Works (IW) is the Pittsburgh region’s most active early-stage investor and one of the nation’s top investors in early-stage technology startups. Along with investing more than $100 million into the tech startups of the region, IW provides these emerging companies with assistance and the network to customers and other investors that startups depend on to grow and succeed. IW is SWPA’s Ben Franklin Technology Partner, a statewide network of investors and partners created by the Commonwealth to diversify and strengthen the state’s economy.

About AHN

Allegheny Health Network (, a Highmark Health company, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. Among the network’s 300 clinical locations are 13 hospitals and five Health + Wellness Pavilions. AHN also is home to a comprehensive research institute; home- and community-based health services; and a group purchasing organization. The network employs more than 20,000 people and has more than 2,400 doctors on its medical staff. Established in 2013, AHN’s member hospitals share legacies of charitable care that date back more than 160 years.

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