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Frontline: IQ Orlando Brings High-Tech Life Science Innovation to Central Florida

Directory 2016
In 2014, the University of Central Florida, Tavistock Group, Florida Hospital, and AHG Group looked at ways to expand Orlando’s life science and healthcare sectors into a nationally recognized healthcare cluster. This work included benchmarking national and international healthcare and high-tech clusters and innovation ecosystems to review and compare best practices. They also evaluated how their combined existing resources could be leveraged to grow these capabilities and support Florida’s life science and healthcare ecosystem. Resources include:
  • University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with over 60,000 students
  • Lake Nona Medical City (Tavistock Group), the nation’s largest greenfield medical city development
  • Health Village (Florida Hospital), a 172-acre urban medical development focused on advancing early-stage life sciences and healthcare innovation
  • The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (University of Central Florida), which develops smart sensor technologies
  • AHG Group’s expertise at sourcing and vetting early to mid-stage foreign life science companies that want to enter the U.S. healthcare market
Encouraged by the positive impacts they could achieve together, the four founding partners established IQ Orlando LLC in late 2014. The company (IQ stands for “innovation quotient”) has three primary strategic goals:
1. Identify life science and healthcare intellectual property across the state of Florida that resides in research centers, academic institutions, incubators, and accelerators and within the venture community
2. Recruit early to mid-stage life science and healthcare companies that are outside Florida, as well as international companies, that are seeking an innovation ecosystem to locate, launch, and accelerate their activities
3. Invest in a capital network that will benefit companies in need of various sources of funding, including angel funding, venture capital, private equity, corporate venture and/or non-dilutive sources, including state and federal funding

Florida’s Life Science and Healthcare Ecosystem

  1. University of Central Florida

    The nation’s second-largest university with over 60,000 students
    Orlando, FL
  2. Lake Nona Medical City (Tavistock Group)

    The nation’s largest greenfield medical city development
    Orlando, FL
  3. Health Village (Florida Hospital)

    A 172-acre urban medical development focused on advancing early-stage life sciences and healthcare innovation
    Winter Park, FL
  4. The Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (University of Central Florida)

    The Center develops smart sensor technologies
    Lake Claire, FL
  5. AHG Group

    AHG Group’s expertise at sourcing and vetting early to mid-stage foreign life science companies that want to ?enter the U.S. healthcare market
    Maitland, FL
Target Industries
IQ Orlando is focused on five key life science and healthcare sectors: software and information and communications technologies (ICT), medical devices, healthcare services, biotech, and pharma. The group is especially eager to partner with disruptive early and mid-stage companies.

Currently IQ Orlando is working with companies from three countries and 17 states that comprise all five sectors: software and ICT (44 percent), medical devices (36 percent), healthcare services (8 percent), biotech (6 percent), and pharma (6 percent). They represent various stages of growth, ranging from the earliest stages of research and development through validation, regulatory registration, and commercialization.

“These companies are seeking to leverage the collective strength of our assets, which include research and development resources, facilities, access to capital, clinical validation, training and education, and economic development support,” states Rick Wassel, managing director for IQ Orlando. “Currently, 58 percent of the initial IQ Orlando companies represent potential for recruitment from outside of Florida and 90 percent have immediate capital requirements.”

One of these companies is SMRxT, which recently moved its corporate headquarters and smart pill-bottle manufacturing operations from New York and Virginia to the Orlando area. It is conducting product validation studies, hiring new staff, building its product pipeline, and establishing strategic partnerships with both Florida-based and national organizations.

Moving Forward
Where does Wassel see Orlando as an innovative healthcare destination cluster two to three years from now? “I am confident IQ Orlando will be an important catalyst that accelerates Florida’s life science and healthcare cluster activities,” he says. “We expect to attract significant sources of capital to support the growth and development of disruptive companies in these markets.”
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