Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst Joins Digital Health Sandbox Network

AMHERST — The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) selected six new healthcare research and development (R&D) hubs to join the Digital Health Sandbox Network, including UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS).

The Sandbox Network program connects digital-health startups to cutting-edge R&D facilities in the Commonwealth and allows Massachusetts startups to apply for funding to test their innovations at one of the networks’ labs, now including IALS. Sandbox R&D facilities provide a range of services supporting validation and testing for digital health companies throughout their life cycles.

“Establishing a translational institute at UMass that provides startup lab space; more than 30 industry-friendly, staffed core equipment facilities; and individualized venture-mentoring services creates an exciting environment for digital-health companies in Western Massachusetts,” IALS Director Peter Reinhart said.

Andrew Vinard, IALS director of Core Facilities, added that “our core facilities will now have access to a wider network of potential users who may not have found us but for the Sandbox program and MeHI’s engagement. This will be a catalyst to bring digital health-focused companies to our doors to access the broad array of resources and expertise we can devote to their projects. Being in the Sandbox Network also broadens our core facilities access to expertise, which we hope will translate to inter-institutional projects to take advantage of the wealth of resources Massachusetts has to offer to our digital-health industry.”

IALS helps to shepherd and translate fundamental research into new product candidates, technologies, and services that benefit human health and well-being. IALS also helps users address both basic and translational questions, deliver technologies and product candidates more rapidly, and become more competitive in obtaining funding. Facilities include a state-of-the-art test bed for mobile health experiments at scale, the Center for Human Health and Performance, a roll-to-roll fabrication and processing facility, and research laboratory space for lease.

In 2019, Gov. Charlie Baker announced $500,000 in funding for the Sandbox program as part of the Commonwealth’s efforts to boost the digital-health ecosystem under the Massachusetts Digital Health Initiative.

In these times, many people will be working remotely. In addition to accessing Healthcare News online, readers may wish to add their home address. To do this, e-mail peters@businesswest.com, visit https://healthcarenews.com/print-subscription/, or call 413.781.8600.