Walgreens has signed on as a partner of Matter, a Chicago-based incubator for health technology startups.
The Deerfield-based pharmacy giant will provide mentorship and financial support to the 150 or so startups at Matter.
The partnership is a win for Matter, which has lined up other big corporate players in the healthcare space, including drugmakers such as AbbVie, Takeda and Astellas, and insurer Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois.
One of the reasons Matter was launched a year ago was to boost healthcare-related startup activity in the Chicago area. Despite having top medical and scientific research universities, and a critical mass of big pharmaceutical and medical-device companies, Chicago has struggled to translate its resources into startup activity. Walgreens
is another big asset.
“They're one of the biggest companies in the world,” said Matter CEO Steven Collens. “We've got health systems, physicians, insurance providers, device companies, pharma companies. But we haven't had the pharmacy perspective. It's been a gap in our infrastructure. If you look at the direction healthcare is going, pushing more services away from the most expensive healthcare centers, the pharmacy potentially will become an important delivery hub.”