NIH funds partnership with UK and XLerateHealth on digital learning platform


LEXINGTON, Ky. (August 18, 2022) XLerateHealth (XLH), a national healthcare 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 multi-year 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 meet the needs of academic institutions in the Southeastern United States, including professors, researchers, innovators and students.

XLH and the UK have been leading this effort since 2018 through the XLerator Network, an NIH-funded partnership to increase commercialization of promising life sciences and healthcare innovations across 25 academic institutions in southern states. -eastern Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. This NIH I-RED award will allow XLerator Network participants to build on previous work and develop, launch, test, and validate entrepreneurship education and training tools that promote the translation of discoveries and technologies promising biomedical products 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) high-quality, informed educational content, 2) mentoring and coaching of experts and experienced entrepreneurs in the field, 3) access to talent to build a cohesive team, and 4) access to capital to finance the successful refinement of the technology/product and its commercial launch on market,” 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 IDeA Southeast region has created a framework to learn, test, and apply best practices in entrepreneurship and commercialization to advance innovations promising healthcare in the region,” said Ian McClure, Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Impact in the UK. “UK Innovate is delighted that the NIH I-RED program is now catalyzing this foundation and generating new education, mentoring, coaching and marketing tools for these partners and the region. As the academic institution responsible for this new award, we are proud of this partnership and thank the leadership of the NIH I-RED program for their support.

Through the I-RED program, the XLerator network will build on a strong foundation of online resources and tools developed over the past nine years by XLH, UK and their other academic partners. New educational tools and online resources developed through I-RED will add to the network’s portfolio of entrepreneurial and commercialization products available to biomedical researchers and innovators interested in bringing promising biomedical technologies to market.

About XLerateHealth (XLH)

XLerateHealth’s (XLH) mission is to cultivate and grow impactful healthcare innovation in the Midwest, Southeast and other parts of the country where great innovation often goes unrecognized and underfunded. Founded in 2012, XLH supports the development of healthcare innovation through its Healthcare Accelerator, which helps startup founders bring their business to market and attract funding. XLerateHealth also leads efforts to build and operate the XLerator Network, an NIH-funded partnership with Primary University of Kentucky and 24 other academic institutions in the Southeast. The goal of this work is to increase commercialization of promising life sciences and healthcare innovations in NIH-designated Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states of the Southeast.

About UK Innovate

UK Innovate is the University of Kentucky Research’s innovation, entrepreneurship and economic enterprise. Through technology commercialization, business partnerships, social innovation, innovation training and economic development initiatives linked to UK research innovations, talent and community, UK Innovate strives to get ideas out into the world faster, where they can have the greatest social and economic impact.

The 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 the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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