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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

News Release

September 16, 2019
HHS Press Office: (202) 690-6343
Twitter: @HHSMedia

HHS expands network of innovation accelerators to transform
U.S. health security

Five accelerators selected to speed development of innovative medical products for biodefense and other security needs

Five accelerators will join a unique innovation accelerator network that provides small and start-up biotechnology innovators with technical and entrepreneurial support they need to accelerate the development of products that could transform the nation’s approach to health security threats.

The network was established by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, in 2018 with eight accelerators.

The new accelerators expand the existing network, providing geographic coverage into areas of the country previously under-represented in the network. The five recently selected accelerators are:

  • Emory University & Georgia Institute of Technology (Coulter Translational Program) in Atlanta;
  • Plug and Play Tech Center in San Francisco;
  • University of Missouri Midwest BioAccelerator (MU-MBAr) in Columbia, Missouri;
  • University Enterprise Labs in partnership with gener8tor in St. Paul-Minneapolis; and
  • Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

“In the first year, our accelerator network reached audiences outside of normal government channels, fostering innovative solutions to improve national health security and to provide business expertise and laboratory space for startups and small businesses,” said Rick Bright, Ph.D., deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response and director of BARDA. “By expanding the network into new geographic locations, we will connect with even more companies and entrepreneurs to solve systemic health challenges. The network is helping revolutionize the way we do business and catalyze innovation across the country.”

To build a pipeline of products for BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe), these accelerators identify innovative products and solutions developed by entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups, and academics around the United States to meet biodefense and other health security needs, and then provide these innovators with business and other services, such as regulatory support and laboratory space.

Accelerators also introduce innovators to BARDA solicitations for funding consideration. One in three innovators working with DRIVe comes through the accelerator network.

Currently, accelerators focus on sourcing products or solutions in three areas of interest to BARDA’s DRIVe:

  • the Early Notification to Act, Control, and Treat (ENACT) initiative, which funds technologies and platforms that provide early, actionable information to detect illnesses before people even know they are sick;
  • the Solving Sepsis initiative, which focuses on reducing the incidence, morbidity, mortality and cost of sepsis; and
  • other disruptive innovations, which seeks radically novel technologies that can transform health security.

The accelerator network began with eight accelerators located in regional hubs across the country where health security products and technologies in biotechnology, life science research, and medical innovations are heavily concentrated. These foundational accelerators are:

  • The Center for Biotechnology at Stonybrook in Long Island, New York;
  • First Flight Venture Center in Raleigh, North Carolina;
  • Life Science Washington Institute in Seattle;
  • MedTech Innovator in Los Angeles;
  • Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center at UMass in Lowell, Massachusetts;
  • New Orleans BioInnovation Center in New Orleans;
  • Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute in Houston; and
  • University City Science Center in Philadelphia.


HHS works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. The mission of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. Within ASPR, BARDA invests in the advanced research and development, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products needed to combat health security threats and transform health security. BARDA’s Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) supports the development of innovative products and approaches that aim to solve major health security challenges. For more, visit To learn more about partnering with BARDA, visit and


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  • This page last reviewed: September 16, 2019