Catalyst HTI aims to make Denver best in the world for digital health

Larry Burgess breaks ground on the Catalyst HTI construction site in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Larry Burgess breaks ground on the Catalyst HTI construction site in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Catalyst Health-Tech Innovations broke ground last week on the Brighton Boulevard plot that may serve as an anchor for the digital health industry come January 2018.

The 200,000-square-foot facility, built in partnership with Larry Burgess and real estate development firm Koelbel and Company, will house a spectrum of companies, from startups all the way to Fortune 500, along with retail shops, restaurants and a co-working space.

As of last Thursday, Hitachi and Angel MD had announced their intent to partner with Catalyst. They joined the ranks of such heavy hitters as CU-Anschutz, Kaiser Permanente, Medical Group Management Association, Prime Health and Boomtown, a Boulder-based health tech accelerator.

They will share the space with 50 or more digital-health startups.

While it may seem unusual to house small startups like Listen.md in the same complex as the international tech giant Hitachi, co-founder Mike Biselli has a vision—and he’s won over a number of key players that could make that vision a reality.

Catalyst HTI co-founder Mike Biselli became emotional during his speech. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Catalyst HTI co-founder Mike Biselli became emotional during his speech. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

He related the potential energy of Catalyst HTI to that of an industry conference.

“Think about a health-care innovation conference every single day, think about what could happen,” he said. “A lot of it is driven by this idea of serendipitous collisions.”

Biselli has been working on this idea for about four years. It is his hope, and that of the Catalyst team, that housing health-care fixtures in the same building as health-care innovators will present unique opportunities. Just as the resources of established companies may help accelerate startup innovation, the idealism inherent to startups may alter the healthcare status quo.

Catalyst HTI partners and industry researchers alike agree the health care industry is in crisis. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project health care spending will rise 5.8 percent per year–1.3 percent faster than the GDP—to a whopping $5.6 trillion in expenditures by 2025. That’s 20 percent of the economy.

“It isn’t sustainable and has the potential of bankrupting our nation,” Biselli said.

Kerry Sims, Vice President, Insights and Analytics at Hitachi Consulting agrees. And he sees the crisis at work on a global level, albeit more acutely in the United States.

For Catalyst, Hitachi will act as a strategic technology partner, bringing their 100 combined 160 years of operational and information technology to Catalyst and its burgeoning community of health-care innovators.

“The way to create health and economic vitality of the industry is through innovation,” Sims said. “Entrepreneurs and startups collaborating with the established players—that is exactly what Catalyst is doing.”

Todd Evenson, COO of Medical Group Management Association characterized Catalyst’s approach as inevitable and necessary.

“This is a tumultuous time for health care, we must change to survive,” he said. “We are moving into ‘coopetition’—newly defined success through open source collaboration.”

He went on to say that Catalyst’s arrival in Denver, alongside other innovators like CU Anschutz and Prime Health, could rank the Rocky Mountain Region as best in the world for digital health technology.

Ground broke on the Catalyst HTI project in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
The Catalyst logo in front of one untamed patch of RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Biselli sounded a bit more modest, but spoke to what he considers the mysterious potential of the Catalyst environment.

“I don’t know exactly what will happen,” he said. “Our job as the Catalyst team is to build the best vehicle we can…hand the keys over to the health-care innovation community and let them drive us into the new future of healthcare.”

Phase One of the project commenced Thursday, Oct. 20 and is expected to open in Q1 of 2018.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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