Local Billionaire Looks To Fund Medical Startups

Gary West Willing To Help Companies With The Promise They Help Lower Health Care Costs

A Rancho Santa Fe man is looking to help small startup companies develop their products with the promise that it will lower the cost of health care.

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Two years ago, Gary and Mary West started the West Wireless Health Institute in La Jolla to find ways to lower health costs. At a Wednesday news conference at the University Club, Gary West said he wants to spread the idea and is putting up $100 million of his own money to back other companies.

"Mary and I are stepping in to accelerate a low-cost ecosystem here in San Diego, and we are doing this without any personal gain whatsoever," West said.

Two San Diego companies have already received money from the investment fund, including Biological Dynamics, which is developing a device to detect cancer in its early stages. Sotera Wireless, which is developing a wristwatch-type device that can wirelessly transmit vital signs, has also received funding.

Both companies met the strict criteria that they will have to lower the cost of health care in order to receive funding.

Fund manager Don Casey said the premise is simple.

"If we can create five small companies that help five more small companies that help five more small companies, then we can create an ecosystem that can make a very profound difference," said Casey.

It is a difference they hope to see within five to seven years.

For more information on the West Health Investment Fund, www.westhealthfund.com.

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