This week, over 10,000 people are attending the HLTH 2023 conference in Las Vegas, one of the biggest conferences focused on healthcare innovation and digital health.
The University City Science Center is attending with the goal of showcasing healthcare innovation in the Philadelphia region.
“We hope we get to establish new partnerships that we can bring back to the region,” said Heath Naquin, VP of government and capital engagement at the Science Center. “We hope to increase new collaboration and opportunities nationally, and even internationally, like hey is there a way that we as the Science Center and our partners in the region can play in some of these things that are happening around life sciences and healthtech innovation.”
Last year, the org attended HLTH to feel out what the conference was like. They saw that peers in other cities had major presences there and decided that they wanted to join this year.
The Science Center’s involvement includes hosting training during the three days before the conference with minority and underrepresented founders of early stage companies as part of a startup challenge with the National Institute on Aging.
Naquin and other leaders at the Science Center are leading panels at the conference and the Science Center has its own pavilion this year and is bringing a handful of companies that graduated from the Science Center’s programs, specifically the Capital Readiness Program and US Market Access program.
Naquin said these companies are all in the middle of their first $1 million to $5 million capital raise. All of them have already raised some money and are trying to connect with new partners and investors.
Therese Canares, founder and CEO of the Baltimore-based software company CurieDx, participated in the Capital Readiness program earlier this year. Canares said she first came across the Science Center at HLTH last year.
Canares’ goal for this week is to meet potential users, customers and people who could help the company on its commercialization journey.
“This is another example of the Science Center providing a tremendous amount of value to founders and early stage companies,” Canares said. “So being invited to be a part of this opportunity and to represent the Science Center after all the value that they provide for me, it’s value for both of us mutually.”
Adam Salamon, founder & CEO of Coatesville-based medical device startup Pression, also participated in the Capital Readiness program this year. Salamon said his company is looking for people who will want to partner with them as they bring their medical device to the market.
“An event like HLTH 2023 is an opportunity for us to meet lots of those people in one place,” Salamon said. “And being there as part of the Science Center’s booth lends us a little bit more credibility than the rest of the startups that are just sort of wandering around.”
The Science Center has been experimenting with going to conferences like HLTH for the past couple of years and found partnerships and established relationships because of it. Other strategies the Science Center has for creating a national presence include working on larger federal level initiatives to make sure the Philly region is part of the conversation.