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CVS Health looks outside lab for innovation


On the heels of opening its Digital Innovation Labin Boston in June, CVS Health is furthering its innovation efforts with two new outside partnerships.

The drugstore chain is partnering with startup accelerator MassChallenge and digital health venture fund Rock Health to drive faster innovation and expand areas of focus for connected health solutions.

MassChallenge runs startup accelerators in Boston, Israel and the U.K., designed to connect high-impact startups with supporting resources. Through the partnership, MassChallenge startups will have access to CVS Health’s resources to help facilitate the development of the next generation of customer-centric products.

California-based Rock Health is a venture fund dedicated to digital health. The sponsorship will enable Rock Health’s portfolio of digital health companies to engage directly with CVS Health.

“We know that some of the best digital health innovations are already being developed, so we’ve made partnering a key part of our digital efforts,” said Brian Tilzer, senior VP and chief digital officer for CVS Health. “We have broad scale and resources; MassChallenge offers a competitive startup accelerator program and Rock Health has an impressive portfolio of market-leading companies. By working collaboratively with each, we can rapidly design and test new ideas – ultimately bringing solutions to our customers that will dramatically impact the way they manage their health.”

As part of its digital strategy, CVS Health is focusing on innovation areas including mobile, personalization, connected health and digital therapeutics.

These new partnerships reflect a broader trend of retailers going beyond launching proprietary innovation labs and creating proprietary support infrastructure for outside startups. Another example is Target’s recent announcement it will partner with Boulder, Colorado-based startup accelerator Techstars to create a new retail accelerator program that will launch next year in Minneapolis.
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