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1st Tenant of Inova Health System's New Accelerator Named

Wednesday, December 6, 2017  
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HeMemics Biotechnologies Inc. is working on a 15-second test that can detect a specific bacteria or virus from a liquid sample. The company has designed a prototype of an electronic chip and portable, battery-powered reading device that can be deployed at the point of care for the test, officials said.

"Having Inova behind us increases our competitive advantage at least tenfold," said HeMemics co-founder John Warden in a statement. He said the accelerator will provide the company with guidance and resources essential for developing point-of-care products, while accelerator Director Michael Thomas said his team will help HeMemics ultimately commercialize the test.

Inova officials and the local biotech community celebrated the grand opening of its Inova Personalized Health Accelerator on Thursday evening. Located at the massive Inova Center for Personalized Health campus in Merrifield, it is part of Inova's efforts to build out its investment portfolio through its venture arm, Inova Strategic Investments, while becoming a hub for fledgling health care companies. Since starting Inova Strategic Investments, Inova has closed three new direct company investments and two fund investments. It also invested in Boise, Idaho-based iVinci, which offers a patient web portal called VisitPay on billing and payments.

Inova officials said they have two imperatives: to seek venture-level returns and to identify companies and products that help boost Inova's own offerings in precision medicine while potentially delivering a new revenue source.

Inova's accelerator officials said they have been overwhelmed by interest from startups, evaluating more than 70 serious pitches in the last several months from a gamut of sectors, including software, devices, artificial intelligence, telemedicine, health sensors, genomics, wearables and diagnostics.

HeMemics said its test could offer more rapid and precise therapy to potentially reduce the length of hospital stays or readmissions, putting its work right in Inova's wheelhouse.

Accelerator leaders have said they plan to offer early-stage tenants customized growth plans, incubation space and $75,000 in exchange for 10 percent equity in the companies.

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