A forthcoming RiNo workspace aims to bring Denver to the digital wellness frontier.
5280 Health | January 2016
By Morgan Tilton
What happens when a motley crew of science nerds—from public health researchers to cybersecurity innovators—gathers around the same table during lunch breaks? Catalyst Health-Tech Innovation, an in-the-works development in RiNo, wants to find out.
Catalyst is designed to be an ecosystem for the already booming digital health industry, which churns out devices and technology (think Fitbits, medication-tracking apps, and glucose monitors) to help people maintain and improve their health, fitness, and well-being. When it opens next year, the $80 million venture will centralize all the necessary brainpower and infrastructure into one thriving neighborhood. The 300,000-square-foot professional office space, a project of longtime local developer Koelbel and Company, will line a city block and welcome digital health businesses from one-desk startups to Fortune 500 companies. In total, 750 to 900 employees across at least 70 companies are expected to come to work and enjoy common zones, cafes, and bars within the complex. “Think about competing health-care businesses, insurers, providers, systems, entrepreneurs, government entities, and academia being brought together in one physical ecosystem,” says Catalyst president and co-founder Mike Biselli. “You’ll also see venture capitalists investing [in the companies] and a dedication to reimagining the health-care environment.”
Some companies are already vying for spots. One such enterprise, Corvectra, is developing a needle-free handheld biosensor for health-care providers that noninvasively measures vital signs and bioanalytics—such as levels of blood gases, hemoglobin, and electrolytes—at one-fifth of the current costs of gathering the same data. Another startup, Telespine, offers an eight-week online coaching program for treating lower back pain using telehealth methods (such as texting and video).
Two light-rail stops west of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Catalyst’s location is ideal for linking these types of entrepreneurs with CU public health specialists who can evaluate tech products and forge relationships with savvy companies that make patient-friendly tools—ultimately with the goals of boosting health-care efficiency and driving down costs. “In getting a mix of tenants within disparate groups together in the same room, serendipitous collisions can happen,” says Carl Koelbel, vice president of Koelbel and Company. “They can find their funding source, first client, and partnerships. It will foster a collaborative environment for continued growth of digital health communities here in Colorado.”