The U.S. medical technology industry is following a trajectory similar to the domestic automotive industry, observes Thomas Fogarty, MD, the winner of the MDEA Lifetime Achievement Award. At one point in time, not all that long ago, the United States was the global leader in the automotive industry.

Brian Buntz

April 6, 2012

3 Min Read
Fogarty Institute for Innovation Catalyzing Forward-Looking Medical Technology

The U.S. medical technology industry is following a trajectory similar to the domestic automotive industry, observes Thomas Fogarty, MD, the winner of the MDEA Lifetime Achievement Award. At one point in time, not all that long ago, the United States was the global leader in the automotive industry. But in 2010, the European Union made more than twice as many cars than the United States did. And in that same year, China produced more cars than the European Union, according to data from the OICA.

Similarly, the United States, which has long been the leader of medical device innovation, is in danger of losing that title as well, with many companies taking product development activities and production offshore.

To help foster innovation domestically and to improve the lives of people around the world, Thomas Fogarty, MD, created the nonprofit Fogarty Institute of Innovation in 2006. The institute offers investors an environment that facilitates the cost effective development of technology to benefit patients worldwide. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, on the campus of the El Camino Hospital (Mountain View, CA), the institute attracts entrepreneurs working on promising medical technologies and provides them with mentorship, access to clinicians, and free space to work and do research. In addition, the institute helps the entrepreneurs navigate legal, regulatory, financing, and business challenges. The institute recently launched a fellowship program to advance endovascular training and technology.

Thomas Fogarty, MD, shown here holding his namesake Fogarty catheter, holds more than 150 patents related to medical technology. 

The institute it is committed to fostering innovation in three key ways:

  1. Cultivation: providing onsite multi-faceted mentorship to cultivate innovative ideas that have the potential to make significant improvements to global healthcare. Mentors include Fogarty himself as well as a number of practicing physicians, business experts, executives from big-name and small medical device companies, and experienced medtech innovators. Clinical input.

    One of the first companies to benefit from this mentorship is HeartFlow, which graduated from the institute in 2010. The company, which is now based in Redwood City, CA and employs more than 80 people, has developed game-changing technology to evaluate coronary artery disease. The noninvasive technology uses coronary CT data to reconstruct a patient’s coronary arteries, identify blockages, and simulate blood flow. In so doing, cardiologists can understand how coronary disease affects blood flow through the arteries. This insight can help them understand which treatment will be most effective: a pharmaceutical approach, stents, or bypass surgery. The technology, once broadly deployed, is projected to obviate the need for nearly 1 million cardiac surgeries in the United States, potentially saving $16 billion in the process.
     

  2. Validation: The institute provides an efficient alternative to conventional clinical research by tapping into its relationship with the El Camino Hospital, which is located adjacent to the institute. Clinical research support is also offered by the Taft Center for Clinical Research, which manages clinical trial activities for El Camino Hospital. The Taft Center offers experience in a range of therapeutic areas.
     

  3. Education: The institute is committed to share insights related to the development of medical technologies to the medical community at large. The institute itself can only accommodate a few companies and entrepreneurs because of space restrictions.

Brian Buntz is the editor-at-large at UBM Canon's medical group. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz.

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