HHS on Wednesday said it plans to expand its network of private-sector innovation accelerators.
The accelerators will join a network of eight organizations located in regional hubs known for biotechnology, life science research and medical innovation, according to the department. That includes accelerators like MedTech Innovator in Los Angeles and First Flight Venture Center in Raleigh, N.C.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the HHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, selected the initial eight accelerators last year. The network identifies promising entrepreneurs and researchers and introduces them to the BARDA Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures, known as "DRIVe."
The DRIVe network aims to identify startups and small businesses that are applying technology to address three core areas of interest determined by BARDA, which HHS describes as "national security threats." That includes using technology for early warning systems that detect illnesses before people know they're sick and for programs that reduce the incidence, mortality and cost of sepsis.
A third area of interest involves an overarching "other disruptive technologies" category, which describes "radically innovative technologies that can transform health security," according to HHS.
The network's accelerators provide startups and small businesses who receive DRIVe funding with support, including business expertise, regulatory guidance and investment opportunities. That can include setting up mentoring programs, networking opportunities, and guidance for the technology research and development process.
"Our accelerators move our reach outside of normal government channels and away from the government norms," BARDA Director Rick Bright said in a statement. "They are part of a revolution in the way we do business, making working with us easier and faster than ever."
Now, HHS is working to expand the accelerator network into more states, providing funding for organizations that provide biotechnology innovators with technical and entrepreneurial support.
"Innovation comes all across the country and our accelerator network is there to scout and foster promising solutions to improve our national health security," Bright added.
The application period closes July 23.