Sarah Palya, founder and CEO of Gus Gear, speaks during the AlphaLab Health showcase.

The seven companies that are part of the inaugural cohort at AlphaLab Health, a healthcare and life sciences accelerator that supports startups, held a virtual showcase on June 9 that summarized the work they have accomplished. The event spotlighted companies ranging from Emergence Dental, which specializes in improving dental bone grafting, to Gus Gear, a medical product developer, and sovaSage, which uses digital technology to track sleep apnea.

“What we’re really trying to do is take companies that have proven that they have something and truly accelerate their time to market,” says Megan Shaw with AlphaLab Health, which is a partnership between Innovation Works and Allegheny Health Network

Shaw says Pittsburgh is one of the leaders in the country in terms of National Institutes of Health funding because of the strength of local universities, primarily Carnegie Mellon University and Pitt.

The first cohort is a mix of fresh faces and veterans from the life sciences world. The companies received mentorship as well as up to $100,000 in seed investment. At this week’s showcase, a spokesperson from each company shared a brief description of the startup’s purpose, function and goals as they leave the incubator. 

“We are fortunate in this first cohort to have a range, from seasoned entrepreneurs who have scaled companies and sold them, to those taking their first steps on this entrepreneurial journey,” Shaw says. 

“Hearing from the companies, what they got out of it, they have very much confirmed that this was a very valuable experience. The education was highly targeted, and they found it very helpful,” Shaw adds.

Part of the showcase was spent bidding farewell to Larry Miller, managing director of life sciences, who has worked at Innovation Works for over a decade and is retiring.

Applications for AlphaLab Health’s second cohort open on June 21. Companies are welcome to sign up for the AlphaLab Health newsletter to be notified when applications are being accepted.

Tia Bailey

Tia is a senior journalism student at Point Park and an intern at NEXT. She loves movies, Pittsburgh and cats.