Orange County Business Journal | Innovation Institute’s Incubator Delivers First Product to CVS Stores

Partners With Apothecary For Full CVS Launch

By Sherry Hsieh | Innovation Institute, founded five years ago as an incubator to commercialize internal medical innovation by doctors, nurses and other hospital care providers in its six health system-owners network, has done exactly that. Its subsidiary Innovation Lab, in partnership with Apothecary Products LLC in Burnsville, Minn., recently launched the Elevating Arm Sling.

The product is available for $17.49 at CVS Pharmacy locations across the U.S. CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) has over 9,800 retail locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

Apothecary, founded in 1975, manufactures, markets and distributes consumer healthcare products and pharmacy supplies. Its retail brands include pill container Ezy Dose, Flents ear plugs and Wipe ‘N Clear lens wipes.

The arm sling is “technically a fourth product, but it is the first that we developed from concept all the way through to market,” said an institute spokesperson. A doctor submitted the idea in 2014.

The custom-designed hand elevation support is designed to position the hand and wrist above the heart to promote healing. Conventional slings leave the appendages around chest or waist level.

Dr. Mark Elzik, an orthopedic hand surgeon at Mission Hospital, said he designed the product because elevation is a key element of pre- and post-surgical care for patients undergoing hand and wrist medical procedures. Improper elevation “can lead to swelling, pain and prolonged healing and follow-up visits,” he said.

The device incorporates a pulley system that raises and lowers the arm, while the forearm sleeve supports the wrist with minimal pressure points and preserves full range of motion for the elevated hand’s fingers.

Mission Hospital is part of Renton, Wash.based Providence St. Joseph Health system, which is one of the six hospitals that are members-owners-investors of the institute. The others are Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Avera Health in Sioux Falls, S.D., Bon Secours Health Systems in Marriottsville, Md., Baton Rouge, La.-based Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and Mercy Health in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Providence has seven OC hospitals in its Southern California network.

The institute’s business model also includes a cash-generating arm that owns a portfolio of companies to fund the incubator and a fund vertical to invest in outside opportunities.

Excerpted from Orange County Business Journal