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Four Community Stakeholders Launch Corporate Partnership to Attract Health-Focused Start-ups to Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 27, 2015 – Central Florida has long been recognized as a top destination for entertainment and hospitality, but the region offers much more. It’s also a burgeoning global center for health care and life sciences. Four pillars of the Central Florida business community are pleased to announce the launch of IQ Orlando, an innovation-focused business partnership concentrated on recruiting and launching life science companies. The University of Central Florida, Tavistock Group, AHG Group, and Florida Hospital will harness their collective strength to provide an ecosystem to grow early and mid-stage companies.

“This is the realization that all four community stakeholders are committed to advancing life science in our community,” said Lars Houmann, President and CEO of Florida Hospital. “United, our efforts will accelerate the process and capitalize on opportunities that could not be achieved alone.”

Goals for IQ Orlando include improving the health of the population, increasing access to care for individuals, and lowering the cost of health care. As part of its mission, IQ Orlando is excited about the potential to partner with companies like SMRxt, a smart sensor and software technology that records, monitors and quantifies the time and dose of patient medication adherence behavior. 

“We are evaluating sites across the nation, including Central Florida, in search of strong medical communities and tech hubs for the relocation of our corporate operations and manufacturing headquarters,” said Michael Huffer, CEO of SMRxt. “This region provides rich resources including Lake Nona Medical City, Florida Hospital Health Village, the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, and the UCF College of Medicine. These assets, accompanied by the collective strength of the IQ Orlando partners, would be excellent sources of support and collaboration for our pioneering medical adherence product.”

IQ Orlando is focused on recruiting and launching both national and international health-focused companies.

“These companies we are investing in are looking for a U.S. base to launch their products and services,” said Alan Ginsburg, CEO, The AHG Group. “They will utilize the IQ Orlando ecosystem to do everything from complete the FDA certification process to develop and advance their marketing capabilities.”

As another resource for companies, IQ Orlando is introducing a Digital Health Lab to provide start-ups with a platform to develop and test new enterprise and consumer applications in smart sensors, health care IT, and the Internet of Things. The Digital Health Lab will offer an integral asset to life science start-ups as technology advances. Life sciences have digitized the human genome, medical diagnostics, the medical record, and is now poised to do even more.

 “I believe that what will distinguish IQ Orlando is the benefit of having a living lab so innovators can develop their solutions in concert with consumers,” said Rasesh Thakkar, Senior Managing Director of Tavistock Group, developer of Lake Nona, the 7,000 acre, award-winning, health-inspired community anchored by Lake Nona Medical City, one of the nation’s fastest growing life sciences innovation clusters.

IQ Orlando will harness the collective strengths of its founding partners in order to create an environment rich in real-life, functional health resources for companies.

“The power of partnerships drives virtually all of our successful economic development activities in Central Florida, including Medical City, the Florida High Tech Corridor, and the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County, which will develop the next generation of smart sensors,” UCF President John C. Hitt said. “Through our newest partnership venture, IQ Orlando, we look forward to helping our local and state leaders attract high-tech, well-paying jobs that strengthen our innovation economy.” 

This announcement took place during the 2015 Lake Nona Impact Forum, which attracted more than 250 of the nation’s top CEOs, health care innovators and thought leaders to Lake Nona Medical City for three days of collaborative conversation to inspire impactful health innovation.

For further information on IQ Orlando, visit

For media inquiries only, contact Florida Hospital Media Relations at 407-303-8217.

AHG Group

The AHG Group sources and vets life science and health care companies outside the U.S. that have an interest in bringing their technologies into the U.S. healthcare market. AHG maintains an active team of scientific consultants and financing subject matter experts. This dedicated “opportunity” executive group vets the best available discoveries and advanced scientific opportunities specifically in Israel, Russia and Belgium. The AHG Group also works closely with major Israeli universities and start-ups who have strong economic potential and will provide benefit to mankind. After proper business, scientific and technology vetting, the life science and health care opportunities are presented to IQ Orlando for review and consideration.

Florida Hospital

Opened in 1908, Florida Hospital is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country and is ranked first in the country for the number of inpatient admissions by the American Hospital Association – caring for almost 1 million patients a year.  The more than 2,500-bed system is comprised of eight campuses in the Greater Orlando Area, 33 outpatient facilities, and a number of urgent care centers known as Centra Care. Florida Hospital has been consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best hospitals in the country.  A member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Florida Hospital is a Christian, faith-based hospital that believes in extending the healing ministry of Christ to all patients and providing total care – mind, body and spirit.  Florida Hospital is committed to providing better health for the population, enhance care for individuals, and help to lower the cost of healthcare. 

Tavistock Group

Tavistock Group, an international private investment organization founded by Joe Lewis, is the developer of Lake Nona, an award-winning, health-inspired community that is anchored by Lake Nona Medical City, one of the nation’s fastest growing life sciences innovation clusters. Since 2006, Lake Nona has attracted anchor organizations that together represent over $2 billion in construction investment, including the University of Central Florida Health Sciences Campus and College of Medicine, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children’s Hospital, University of Florida Research & Academic Center, and the Orlando VA Medical Center. Recognized for its commitment to health innovation, Lake Nona has developed strategic alliances with Johnson & Johnson, GE, Cisco, GuideWell, and others. The GuideWell Innovation Center will open in 2016 and will include incubator and accelerator space for promising early- and mid-stage health and life sciences companies. The USTA’s New Home of American Tennis will open in 2016 as the anchor for the new Lake Nona Sports Innovation and Performance District. The Tavistock Life Sciences team, headquartered in San Diego, draws on decades of experience investing in private and publicly traded companies using a disciplined methodology and access to meaningful investment capital. For additional information, visit and

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida, the nation’s second-largest university with more than 60,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. UCF is an academic, partnership and research leader in numerous fields, such as optics, modeling and simulation, engineering and computer science, business administration, education, the sciences including biomedical sciences, hospitality management and digital media. UCF researchers have accrued more than $1.1 billion in external grants during the past decade. The National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association ranked UCF among the top 25 universities in the world for the number of patents awarded. UCF is one of 25 public universities with the Carnegie Foundation’s highest designation in two categories: community engagement and very high research activity.