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Medtronic Teases Collaboration Platform for Stroke Innovation
The Medtronic Neurovascular Co-Lab Platform, expected to launch on World Stroke Day, will serve as an incubator and accelerator for promising stroke technologies.
October 19, 2022
3 Min Read
For the better part of a year, Medtronic has been quietly building a neurovascular collaboration platform intended to accelerate stroke innovation outside of the company's walls.
The Medtronic Neurovascular Co-Lab Platform is expected to launch later this month, on World Stroke Day. Dan Volz, president of Medtronic's neurovascular business, introduced the new platform this week at DeviceTalks West in Santa Clara, CA. Volz also spoke with MD+DI about the new endeavor earlier this week.
Volz said the new platform is intended to help transform ideas and technologies into new stroke therapies by providing physicians and entrepreneurs with insight, support, and scalability.
"We haven't really even scratched the surface of what we can do in the space, and in the brain overall, but at the same time there's this downward pressure on innovation," Volz told MD+DI.
Macroeconomic challenges like inflation and supply chain disruptions, combined with market consolidation, and new medical device regulatory requirements in Europe make innovating tough, especially for startups.
"It's just the wrong time for innovation to stall in the stroke space," Voltz said.
He said Medtronic already receives a fair number of inquiries from physician entrepreneurs in the stroke space who are at various stages of the innovation cycle who need help moving their idea along.
"[We] wanted to build a process where we could move through these at the speed of innovation ... to make sure that innovation in the stroke space can see the light of day," Voltz said.
How the Medtronic Neurovascular Co-Lab Platform will work
Participating entrepreneurs will chose from one of four collaboration tracks, depending on where their device is in the innovation cycle.
The brainstorm track is intended for innovators with a napkin-sketch idea who need help developing that idea into a prototype. In this track, participants will benefit from Medtronic's capabilities and expertise in product development and rapid prototyping.
The second track is for early-stage companies looking to advance their product from prototype to first-in-human clinical studies. In this track, participants may receive support in the form of sponsored development, a dedicated space and team, and mentorship.
The investment track is for companies that need funding. Participating companies in this track may benefit from an introduction to Medtronic Ventures, the company's investment vehicle.
The accelerate track is for technology that is ready for commercialization. Participants in this track will potentially benefit from Medtronic networking opportunities, technology showcase opportunities, or even an immersion program.
"We can invite you into an immersion where you come and spend a few weeks with us and we sort of collect around this concept that you have to build out a commercial plan," Voltz said.
Medtronic's history in the stroke space
Medtronic has been leading the stroke market since 2015 when the company inherited the Solitaire FR clot retrieving device through its Covidien acquisition. So, it makes sense for the Dublin, Ireland-based company to be the one to launch a collaborative innovation platform in this young, high-stakes market that is seeing double-digit growth each year.
In the photo above, taken in September 2015, Dileep R. Yavagal, MD, chief interventional neurologist at the University of Miami, demonstrates how using Medtronic's Solitaire, he was able to grab a clot inside of the blocked brain artery in stroke victim, Isabel Vinueza.
Prior to retrieving devices, the standard in stroke treatment was clot dissolving medications. With a retrieving device, however, physicians are able to insert the device through the groin, navigate it through the vasculature up into the brain, then grab the clot and pull it out.
By launching the Medtronic Neurovascular Co-Lab Platform, the company is recognizing that it has both the resources and expertise to incubate and accelerate to support new stroke technology ideas from concept through commercialization.
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