AHN, Innovation Works AlphaLab Health Joint Venture Receives $10 Million Grant to Create Revolving Investment Fund

BELLEVUE, Pa. (May 3, 2024) – AlphaLab Health, an accelerator program developed by Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network for life-sciences startups in the Pittsburgh region, has received a $10 million grant from an anonymous donor to create an evergreen fund.

The grant establishes the AlphaLab Health Revolving Investment Fund, which will support startups in the accelerator program. The investment returns generated by the fund will create a permanent, self-sustaining source of revenue that will be reinvested into future AlphaLab startups.  

AlphaLab Health is based at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Suburban, the former Bellevue acute-care hospital that has been reinvented as a community innovation hub. The fourth cohort of startup companies supported by the program began in October and graduated on March 20, 2024, at the IW Venture Expo, an opportunity to pitch potential follow-on investors following the accelerator program. 

Since its creation in 2020, AlphaLab Health has provided early-stage funding, mentorship opportunities from industry experts, clinical resources, and office and lab space to 25 start-up companies based in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The programming is designed to shepherd startups through the early stages of the business life cycle and provide companies with access to key networks.

As a result of this grant, AHN and Innovation Works anticipate that the AlphaLab Health Revolving Investment Fund will become the region’s most active source of early-stage capital for life science companies, attracting and retaining health care innovators in our region, catalyzing job growth and follow-on funding for life-sciences companies looking to solve the health care problems of the future.

“The creation of an ongoing, self-sustaining investment fund to support promising health care and life sciences companies will fuel innovation and attract entrepreneurs to Southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Jeffrey Cohen, MD, Chief Physician Executive of Community Health and Innovation at AHN. “This grant benefits not just the companies involved in AlphaLab Health, but the entire region – the economic impact will multiply as these startups continue to grow, thrive and create new health care technologies.”

Through the $10 million grant, along with additional funds contributed by AHN, Innovation Works, and the Suburban General Healthcare Foundation, AlphaLab Health will invest in over 60 start-up companies over the next 10 years. The larger investment fund will enable larger follow-on investments in select high-potential companies. More than 120 early-stage companies will ultimately benefit from the fund over the next 20 years.

“AlphaLab Health is central to our ongoing commitment to supporting life sciences companies in
Southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Ven Raju, Chief Executive Officer at Innovation Works. “The unique partnership between AHN and IW brings to bear the resources and know-how of a large integrated health system with that of a leading venture development organization to help early-stage life sciences companies in the region. The grant will help to bolster the life sciences cluster, from spawning innovative technologies and therapies that have the potential to save lives to catalyzing significant economic impact for the region.”

As of 2024, AlphaLab Health’s three graduating classes have raised over $30 million in follow-on funding after participating in the program. Several of the alumni companies now have pilots underway at AHN and other regional health providers.

“This significant grant will propel AlphaLab Health into the next decade of health care innovation and beyond,” said Mitch Beckman, Chief Development Officer at Highmark Health, parent company of AHN. “It will further enhance AlphaLab Health’s investments in leading-edge technologies and solutions while also serving as a catalyst for AHN’s Living Health model by driving transformative ideas that help us improve care quality, patient outcomes, care equity and affordability.”

AlphaLab Health’s success stories include:

·      sovaSage – a digital health care platform that leverages patent-pending mobile, machine learning, and computer vision technologies to streamline and improve the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and other chronic conditions managed in the home.

·      CytoAgents– a clinical-stage therapeutics company with a safe and effective, orally available drug that prevents and treats Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), a major unmet health problem with several immune system triggers ranging from immunotherapy, infectious diseases to autoimmune disorders.  

·      HandlHealth – a health care price transparency platform empowering benefits brokers to design and deliver cost-effective health benefits for the self-funded employer market.

Learn more about how AlphaLab Health prepares the next generation of life science startups for success.


About the Allegheny Health Network: 

Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org) is an integrated health care delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is composed of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, multiple employed physician organizations, home and community-based health services, a research institute, and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, trauma care, cardiovascular disease, organ transplantation, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women’s health, diabetes, autoimmune disease and more. AHN employs approximately 22,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff, and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake ErieCollege of Osteopathic Medicine.

About Innovation Works 

Innovation Works (IW) is one of the most active early-stage investors in the country and the most active early-stage investor in the State of Pennsylvania. To date, IW has invested in over 700 companies that have gone on to raise $3.3 billion in follow-on funding. IW portfolio companies have generated and retained over 20,000 jobs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. IW is part of the Ben Franklin Technology Partner network (BFTP). Over the last 30 years, the BFTP has catalyzed economic growth by providing access to capital and networks that help foster innovation and technology-based economic development in Pennsylvania.

Media Contacts:

Emily Beatty

AHN Senior PR Analyst




Jane Joseph

Director of Communications and Community Development