Lafayette business incubator provides a launchpad for Louisiana health care startups

Louisiana supports innovation and entrepreneurship across all key industries and economic regions of the state. In the Acadiana Region, Opportunity Machine sets the pace by providing training, mentorship and networking to startups and small businesses serving a wide range of markets, including one new program targeting the state’s rapidly expanding life sciences sector.

Among Opportunity Machine’s health care success stories is Preptech, a Lake Charles startup that developed a contaminant isolation system called ISOCUBE. It became a vital tool for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients at the height of the pandemic.

Founded in 2009 by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Opportunity Machine has provided programming for more than 1,000 entrepreneurs through its Small Business Boot Camp, Click to Startup video series and Innovate South, a cross-industry conference held annually. The agency’s current portfolio of startup enterprises, together with alumni and affiliated companies, has raised $40 million worth of investment capital, created 629 full-time jobs and generated $725 million in economic activity for the region in the past year alone.

Formerly housed at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Research Park, Opportunity Machine is now strategically located in downtown Lafayette. The 22,000-square-foot building provides community workspace, private desk space, private offices, conference rooms, training rooms and other amenities to help startup businesses get off the ground.

The organization’s success, particularly in the tech sector, sparked additional support for other industries and gave rise to Opportunity Health, an accelerator program focused on companies looking to improve care, reduce costs and create new approaches for the medical industry.

In partnership with the UL Lafayette, Louisiana Center for Health Innovation, Lafayette Economic Development Authority and Louisiana Economic Development, Opportunity Health sponsors an intensive, 12-week business development and capital acquisition program.

Among the program’s many success stories is Preptech, which was among seven companies in the 2021 Opportunity Health cohort. The Lake Charles-based company was selected for the program on the strength of its successful launch of two health care products: ULTRAPREP, a packaged dosage of liquid medication used for pre-operative skin preparation; and ISOCUBE, a framed isolation system that reduces exposure to contaminants.

In addition to framing and draping a patient’s upper body, ISOCUBE provides for unidirectional airflow through a vacuum port that funnels pathogen-containing air to existing hospital evacuation systems or a portable vacuum with high-efficiency particulate air filtration. Integrated gloves allow patient access on three sides of the device, adding an extra protective barrier to medical personnel by reducing the chance of exposure to airborne pathogens.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for ISOCUBE during the pandemic, arming health care providers with a vital new treatment option for hospitalized patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

Preptech’s emergence during COVID-19 paved the way for its selection by Opportunity Health and coincided with the program’s acceptance into the Global Accelerator Network, a networking organization that connects communities to entrepreneurs at the forefront of technology.

“We’re thrilled that Opportunity Health is joining the Global Accelerator Network community,” GAN CEO Patrick Riley said. “We are huge believers in the mission of Opportunity Health and are incredibly impressed by the background, skills, and expertise of its management team. Without a doubt, the companies going through the program are in great hands and poised for success.”

‍To learn more about Opportunity Machine, click here or call (337) 769-4085.

To learn more about Opportunity Health, click here.

‍To learn more about Preptech, click here or call (985) 707-3903.‍

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