Todd Rowland, MD joins MedSurgPI

MedSurgPI welcomes Dr. Todd Rowland to the MedSurgPI team.  Dr. Rowland has more than 25 years of healthcare industry experience. He brings unique executive experience as a practicing physician, CEO of health information exchange, chief medical information officer, enterprise senior vice president CIO, and principal investigator for several federal grants.

For more information on Dr. Rowland and other associates, visit 'Our Team' portion of the website.


$78 million invested as Innovation Works celebrates 20 years

Aethon turned a couple hundred thousand dollars into an international robotics company with delivery robots in hospitals and hotels.

TissueInformatics used a six-figure grant to build a ground-breaking tissue engineering company that raised more than $25 million before a top biotech company bought it.

Both Pittsburgh-area companies were among the first to receive funding from Innovation Works decades ago. And both said that the initial investment led to millions more.

“Without Innovation Works, we probably would not have gotten started as a company,” said Aldo Zini, CEO of Aethon. “It wasn’t just the money, but they also opened some doors for us in order to raise more.”

Innovation Works has been providing early-stage investment to young Pittsburgh startup companies for 20 years. The organization celebrated its anniversary last week by recognizing the achievements of the companies it has helped start and fund.

In its 20 years, Innovation Works, now based in the North Side’s Nova Place, has worked with more than 1,000 companies. Nearly 300 were formed with direct assistance from the organization, and 376 companies received investments totaling $78 million. The companies went on to raise an additional $2.1 billion.

Innovation Works claimed it has created or retained nearly 12,000 jobs, nearly two-thirds of which don’t require an advanced degree. More than half of the companies have a woman founder; 72 percent of the founders came from local universities, and 86 percent of the companies work source from vendors in Pittsburgh, according to information complied by Innovation Works.

“I’m proud of the companies and the entrepreneurs. We have a saying here that we succeed when they succeed. At the end of the day, it’s not about us,” said Rich Lunak, president and CEO of Innovation Works, where he has worked since 2005. “We all take a lot of pride in that.”

The organization calculated that $3.60 was returned to the state economy for every $1 of state money invested. The company receives $3.5 million a year in state money.

Zini said there was a lot of skepticism over robotics companies in the early 2000s, when Aethon was just getting its start. The dot-com bubble had just burst and some investments in robotics in the 1990s didn’t pan out, leaving investors shy.

“Innovation Works, they stepped up,” Zini said.

The organization invested a few hundred thousand in Aethon over a two rounds of investing starting in 2002. Since, Aethon raised more than $50 million. ST Engineering bought Aethon in 2017. The Singapore firm kept the company in the Pittsburgh-area and allowed it to grow.

Aethon has added 18 people to its team over the last 10 months and plans to add another 10, Zini said. The company is moving into a larger building. It has robots in China, Turkey, Singapore, Australia and all over Europe.

But Zini hasn’t forgotten who helped the company at the beginning. He’ll talk to the staff at Innovation Works whenever he is looking for new hires or advice.

“And they’re still helpful,” Zini said.

When four doctors and scientists at University of Pittsburgh spun TissueInformatics in 1997, the startup scene in Pittsburgh was shaky. The city, and its reputation, was still recovering from the collapse of the steel industry, said Dr. Peter Johnson, who came to Pitt in 1987 to train as a plastic surgeon and was one of the three founders of TissueInformatics, which used machine vision to identify pathology slides.

Johnson said building a biotech company in Pittsburgh was rare at that time.

“They took a leap as one of the first to say this was a sector that we really need to invest in,” Johnson said.

TissueInformatics went on to raise $25 million over five years. In 2004, Paradigm Genetics, a North Carolina company, bought the startup. Johnson moved to the Raleigh area where he still lives. He recently bought a 40-acre farm, grows barley and plans to open a distillery.

Innovation Works invited Johnson back to Pittsburgh two years ago to speak. He was impressed the growth of the tech scene. And he expects Innovation Works to keep it growing by finding undiscovered technologies and taking chances, just like it did years ago.

“They’re going to figure out where the fringe is,” Johnson said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Aaron at 412-336-8448, or via Twitter @tinynotebook

UMASS Lowell M2D2 / Advancing Med Device & Biotech Innovations

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Created especially for healthcare startups and medtech innovators: A half-day workshop packed with authoritative insights on leading-edge technologies, new best practices, business intelligence, and networking opportunities (with continental breakfast and light lunch included).


7:30-8:00 Coffee w/continental breakfast

8:00-8:15 Welcome & Introductions

8:15-9:15 Blockchain & Artificial Intelligence – Real World Healthcare Applications

  • Speakers: Kris Srinivasan, CEO, Life Sciences, Alpha MD & Edward Bukstel, CEO, Clinical Blockchain

9:15-9:45 Blockchain: What Startups need to succeed; What larger corporations like J&J can do to support their growth

  • Speaker: Kate Merton, Head of JLABS NYC & Boston — J&J Innovation

9:45-10:15 Healthcare Industry Update

  • Speaker: Ibraheem Badejo, Senior Director, New Ventures, J&J Innovation

10:15-10:30 Break

10:30-11:00 Continuum of Medical Affairs in a Startup Company

  • Speakers: Dr. Peter Johnson & Dr. Gerald Klein, Co-Principals, MedSurgPl, LLC

11:00-11:30 Friction Points in Health Communications at Point of Care

  • Speaker: Richard Nordstrom, CEO, Liberate Ideas, Inc.

11:30-12:00 Lunch Break

12:00-12:45 Mock interview with Investors: One or more investors with successfully financed entrepreneur and startup pitch. How to deal with Investors.

  • Speakers: Steven Schwartz, Robert Bausmith

12:45-1:00 Ice Cream Hour: One-on-one interactive meetings with the speakers and the management of JLabs while you enjoy ice-cream during Q&A.

  • You are welcome to send in your questions in advance via email to or ask during Ice Cream Hour.  You will also be able to talk in person with Kate Merton, Head of JLABS NYC & Boston, and Dr. Ibraheem Badejo, Senior Director, New Ventures, J&J Innovation.


MedSurgPI: Physician Functional Service Provider


     MedSurgPI is the preeminent Physician Functional Service Provider.  We provide medical strategy, medical monitoring, medical affairs, and medical writing from our experienced physician team of seasoned executives.  Our goal is to provide this outsourced service to increase efficiencies and decrease cost for drug, device, diagnostic, and nutritional development services.

     MedSurgPI doctors are flexible and can provide short term assistance or long term collaboration. 

     Whether you want a medical strategy, clinical trial guidance, medical monitor or an interim Chief Medical Officer, contact MedSurgPI, LLC at:

James D. Hundley, M.D. of MedSurgPI co-authors book: My Hip Hurts!

James D. Hundley, M.D., Physician Associate with MedSurgPI, LLC has co-authored a book My Hip Hurts!: Causes and Treatment of Hip Pain in Seniors.  Authors Dr. Hundley and Richard J. Nasca, M.D. are two orthopaedic surgeons with over 100 combined years of training and experience.  This is an exciting book as Drs. Hundley and Nasca describe conditions of the hip suffered by older people, what can be done for them, and what they would recommend.  Simple drawings and x-rays are used for illustration along with a glossary to help understand medical terms.

This book is available through Amazon at the following link:  My Hip Hurts!: Causes and Treatment of Hip Pain in Seniors 

AlphaMD and MedSurgPI have entered into a partnership to provide comprehensive Product Development and Commercialization with Medical Affairs Services to clients worldwide.

This service is a proprietary process to assist start-ups and established Life Science companies launch their drug, diagnostic and medical device products successfully from concept through launch and post-market surveillance. It encompasses proof-of-concept studies, clinical trial assistance, market research, product development, health economics and outcomes research services, a successful launch, data analytics and pharmacovigilance.