The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill expressed interest in commercializing healthcare IP via the venture studio model, piloting a partnership with High Alpha
Innovation that resulted in the launch of a new company and establishment of a digital health venture studio. After sourcing and vetting ideas from university researchers, the team selected a UNC research opportunity to help organ transplant patients using artificial intelligence. When matching an organ donor to a recipient, clinicians must consider many factors and make quick decisions to find the best matches for recipients on the waitlist.

“We are trying to take a complex process of patient recipient and donor matching and simplify it for clinicians and providers to understand – at a granular level – the risk for a given pair and how we can benefit recipients by opening up the donor pool for them,” says Dr. Eric Weimer, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.

Carolina leaders from UNC Health, UNC Research and Innovate Carolina recognized how the venture studio model could accelerate UNC startups. High Alpha Innovation executed a studio-driven launch program with a highly engaged working team of ideators, experts and senior leaders, resulting in Epulate, an AI-powered tool for virtual organ crossmatch embedded in a streamlined workflow for HLA and Transplant Team collaboration. Epulate's cloud-based platform  accelerates and automates the matching of organ donors and recipient patients through machine learning models, and is led by founder and CEO Than Powell.

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13-week pilot program resulting in Sprint Week to commercialize university IP into an advantaged startup

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University researchers serve as startup advisors enabled to continue researching new and better models to help continue improving the software

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As a university, Carolina will continue to partner with High Alpha Innovation with hopes to establish an on-campus studio that spins out ten startups over the next three years
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