Showcase offered a look into a healthcare hub in action

South Florida’s emerging healthcare hub received a broad endorsement Thursday night: More than 300 people representing 180 companies, 25 investment groups, five hospitals, banks, universities and government turned out for the HealthTech Showcase at the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park.

While the numbers were impressive, the signs of a growing ecosystem did not end there. In two panel discussions with industry leaders and six presentations by startups, there was a common refrain: The community is here to help.

That may sound corny, but there was example after example: “The network of experience here, that’s a huge asset,” said Dr. Richard Awdeh, Cirle’s CEO. CareCloud VP Joe Sawyer said the company’s success raising $55 million in five years started with local angels. “We’ve made relationships that will change the tranjectory of our company,” added Steve Harmon, international CEO of Nueterra. Miami Children’s Hospital has an incubator for healthcare innovation.

The evening included demos by two healthcare startups forcused on cancer, Epigenetix and Vigilant Biosciences, seeded with UM reseach and growing up in South Florida. The other four were health-tech startups from the first accelerator class of ProjectLift, which just completed at the Life Science Park’s Miami Innovation Center. iXplore, which specializes in healthcare educational videos, has a large team in Spain, but will be staying right here and launching a pilot in two hospitals. Susan Perry of SpeechMed, which provides a multi-language, voice-delivered patient communication system, said one of her products is already in use at South Miami Hospital and she is launching a pilot at UM soon. WeRX and Alert.MD both have put together key licensing partnerships while in ProjectLift.

Robert Chavez, co-founder of ProjectLift and an organizer of Thursday’s Showcase, said the next accelerator program is set for next summer, but for in between, ProjectLift plans to offer HIBR (Healthcare Innovation and Business Resources), a business startup bootcamp for the healthcare space. “We are going to be staying engaged in the startup community,” he said. “Miami is truly a healthcare powerhouse.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

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