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American Heart Association, UPMC, and Philips launch $30 million venture capital fund

The American Heart Association, UPMC and Philips are teaming up in a $30 million venture capital fund to invest in heart disease and stroke care products.

Each organization is putting $10 million into the fund, called Cardeation Capital and managed by Aphelion Capital. They will invest the money in emerging healthcare companies' tools for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, stroke and their risk factors.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and roughly half of all adults in the U.S. have at least one major risk factor for developing the condition. The American Heart Association predicts cardiovascular disease costs, including indirect costs like lost productivity, will hit $1 trillion per year in the U.S. by 2035.

To stanch the increase in both deaths and costs, the organizations will fund health IT, medical technology, healthcare services, digital health, diagnostics and consumer tools, Brown said. They won't invest in pharmaceuticals or biotech companies, though.

"We know that improving workflow in our healthcare systems and making sure there are tools and technologies that allow the patient to be in control of their health are important," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

Though it's too soon for the organizations to give specifics on investments, they expressed interest in predictive technologies to suss out cardiovascular risk and post-discharge remote monitoring. Within the next couple of months, the groups should have a better sense of where they'll focus, Wilmot said.

"We believe that this unique partnership will create an important force in the marketplace, not just because of the dollars but also because of the other resources the organizations can ring to bear on the companies we invest in," Brown said.

This isn't the only partnership the American Heart Association is involved in. In March 2018, the organization launched a partnership with the Duke Clinical Research Institute to experiment with machine learning to apply precision medicine techniques to treating cardiovascular disease.

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