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VIDA

STEM is poised to change the world as we know it, and VIDA is one of the companies leading the way.

VIDA is an Iowa-based big data analytics company that uses imaging and other pulmonary functions data to fight pulmonary disease. With the data VIDA collects, it can predict the patient’s reaction to a treatment or procedure before having it done, thereby improving medical outcomes while saving the patient time and money.

VIDA’S President and CEO Susan Wood said VIDA is the future of value-based health care. “A lot of times, a patient will get treated for disease and they don’t know until much later whether it worked. If it didn’t, they have to try something else, which costs time, money and patient comfort,” she said.

With VIDA’s approach, patients go through much less this trial and error process.  There is more certainty that the procedure will work with the predictive analytic approach.

Wood said they’re focusing on pulmonary disease because it’s the only major disease that is growing in mortality in the U.S. More than $160 billion a year is spent in the U.S. on pulmonary diseases including COPD, asthma and lung cancer. Even though heart disease, cancer and other diseases have higher mortality rates, the number of deaths is receding. Current standards for diagnosing and treating patients needed an upgraded approach.

VIDA was founded in 2005 by four professors at the University of Iowa who “envisioned that patients with, or at risk of, lung disease could be managed via imaging with multi-disciplinary expertise,” according to its website.

VIDA got its initial investment seed money from Iowa First Capital Fund in Cedar Rapids. In 2014, it received an accelerate loan in partnership with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) that was matched and added to by Next Level Ventures in Des Moines.  Additionally, last year VIDA received a $300K Federal STTR award from the National Institutes of Health that allowed it to receive another $25K of financial assistance from the IICorp/IEDA SBIR Outreach Program. IICorp also manages the portfolio of entrepreneurial companies that includes VIDA.

Wood said without the support VIDA got from these organizations and the state of Iowa, it might have had to move the operation to a different state.

“The support that Vida has received…has been incredible. It’s very valued within the company,” she said.

Currently, VIDA services more than 200 medical sites in 35 countries around the world and has won numerous awards including the Product of Outstanding Interest Award from the European Respiratory Society.

Wood has high hopes for STEM jobs in Iowa and knows VIDA’s next stage of growth will bring many more positions to the state.

“We have added 33 high-tech jobs for our state since 2014. We are primed for our next stage of growth and deployment and are projecting over 200 jobs in Iowa by 2020. They’re well-paying, STEM-based jobs that will help build the Iowa tech economy,” she said.