Digitalis Commons is a non-profit organization that builds frontier-advancing, scalable solutions which have an outsized impact on important problems in health and health care.

We partner with technical innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropic groups, and funding agencies to tackle technical and commercial barriers to creating and implementing these solutions. We execute on our vision by building public-private partnerships, developing public interest technologies, and investing catalytic capital.

Digitalis Ventures is our for-profit affiliate that invests in solutions to unmet needs in health. Ventures’ deep technical, financial, and domain expertise combine to help creatively finance, build, and scale enduring enterprises.


The Digitalis plant is the natural source of cardioactive steroid glycosides widely used in the treatment of heart disease since the 1700s. Dr. Thomas W. Smith, the father of our founding partner, began his career as a physician-scientist at Harvard by developing a novel radioimmunoassay to enable the safe administration of digitalis. Dr. Smith’s subsequent research program touched on many themes—the health benefits of nature-derived compounds, the importance of measurement science in therapeutic development, rational design in drug discovery, among many others that continue to resonate with our group today. Beyond his research, Dr. Smith was a renowned clinician and beloved mentor to a generation of academic cardiologists. Our name reflects our ongoing commitment to this legacy of both scientific innovation and human connection.