With the October 2018 launch of its Novartis Biome innovation lab, Novartis became the latest big-pharma player to double down on health-tech. “The vast majority of disruptive technologies are not going to come from big pharma companies,” Robin Roberts said in a Novartis blog post about the unit’s launch. “But we can engage and work with startups and innovators, and together make something bold, sustainable and scalable.”

What makes Biome different from other health-tech incubators, Roberts believes, is that it doesn’t require entrepreneurs to give Novartis an ownership stake in their company to participate.

Since launch, Roberts and his team have introduced an innovation initiative, the HealthX World Series challenge. Winners of the first series, charged with creating digital technologies to improve the monitoring and management of heart failure, were announced at TechCrunch Disrupt SF.

Roberts spent almost six years in Merck’s cardiovascular division prior to his 11 years at Novartis.