NIH funds UK, XLerateHealth partnership on digital learning platform

University of Kentucky

XLerateHealth (XLH), a national health care accelerator based in Louisville, Kentucky, in partnership with the University of Kentucky through UK Innovate, has been awarded the first phase of a potential $3.25 million multiyear grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the IDeA Regional Entrepreneurship Development (I-RED) Program. The purpose of the grant is to develop and launch a suite of experience-based entrepreneurship and commercialization training tools to address the needs of academic institutions across the Southeast U.S., including faculty, researchers, innovators and students.

XLH and UK have led this effort since 2018 through the XLerator Network, an NIH-funded partnership to increase the commercialization of promising life science and health care innovations in 25 academic institutions across the Southeast Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states of Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. This NIH I-RED award will allow XLerator Network participants to build on prior work and develop, launch, test and validate entrepreneurship education and training tools that foster the translation of promising biomedical discoveries and technologies from research laboratories into commercial products.

“Based on our years of experience training biomedical entrepreneurs, we believe that effective entrepreneurial pedagogy is a combination of four elements: 1) informed high-quality educational content, 2) mentorship and coaching from experienced domain experts and entrepreneurs, 3) access to experienced talent to build a cohesive team, and 4) access to capital to fund the successful refinement of the technology/product and its commercial launch into the marketplace,” said Jackie Willmot, CEO of XLerateHealth. “We are proud to continue this collaboration and grateful to the NIH I-RED program for its support in bringing these resources to academic and clinician innovators.”

“Through the XLerator Network, our partnership with more than two-dozen academic institutions in the Southeast IDeA region has created a framework for learning, testing and applying entrepreneurship and commercialization best practices to advance the most promising health innovations in the region,” said Ian McClure, associate vice president for research, innovation and economic impact at UK. “UK Innovate is thrilled that the NIH I-RED program will now catalyze that foundation and generate new education, mentorship, coaching and commercialization tools for those partners and the region. As the academic lead institution for this new award, we are proud of this partnership and thank the NIH I-RED program leadership for its support.”

Through the I-RED program, the XLerator Network will build on a solid foundation of online resources and tools developed over the past nine years by XLH, UK and their other academic partners. The new educational tools and online resources developed via I-RED will add to the network’s portfolio of entrepreneurial and commercialization products offered to biomedical researchers and innovators interested in bringing promising biomedical technologies from the bench to the marketplace.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UT2GM148083. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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