- The Massachusetts Governor’s Office and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) are each investing $5 million in a new digital health and medical device research lab centered at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
The grants will support the new PracticePoint laboratory at WPI, said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, which will combine surgical, clinical, rehabilitative, and home healthcare digital health research within a single location.
Additional PracticePoint benefactors include WPI itself, matching the state contribution with $9.5 million funds, and $2.5 million from GE Healthcare Life Sciences for equipment and general investment.
“This exciting new facility will offer space for researchers to explore new opportunities and technology like never before,” said Polito. “By integrating medical labs with manufacturing and testing, PracticePoint at WPI will deliver new innovations and make the Worcester region a leader in delivering the next generation of healthcare advancements and jobs.”
The facility will provide simulated healthcare settings and integrate them with advanced research and development infrastructure. The new research and development settings allow companies of all sizes to test their technologies.
These simulated healthcare settings will help PracticePoint focus on the development of cyber-physical healthcare systems and products, such as robotic diagnostic tools, image-guided surgical robots, sensor-enabled therapeutics, and smart rehabilitation devices.
The main facility also aims to host multidisciplinary and academic teams to conduct pre-competitive research for the benefit of the entire digital health field.
Other expected features of the facility include educational and training opportunities along with workforce development programs to support the MA digital health economy.
“PracticePoint at WPI will help ensure Massachusetts continues as a global leader in digital healthcare and the innovation economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
“Along with our administration’s existing investments in advanced materials, smart devices, data and cyber security, this new public-private research and development partnership will deliver new advancements that create jobs and improve the lives of patients across the globe.”
The state’s investment in PracticePoint is part of a larger statewide public-private economic development program called the Digital Health Initiative (DHI), created back in January 2016.
Since the start of the DHI, the state has formed an official advisory council, a marketplace program, and supported the opening of a digital health accelerator in Boston.
“Imagine new ways to treat inoperable tumors, new systems that allow elders to remain at home safely, or smart devices that speed rehabilitative care — these are just some of the extraordinary technologies we hope will emerge when we bring together creative engineers, scientists and clinicians to work in the novel setting that PracticePoint provides,” said WPI President Laurie Leshin.
“I want to thank Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito, and the administration’s economic development team for partnering with WPI and GE to make this new initiative a reality.”