It’s no secret that some of the most promising medical device technology comes out of universities and incubators these days. Colleges have been able to harness their talented staff and students to practical applications, and companies are taking notice. Tech transfer programs in many universities have sophisticated patenting strategies, but these systems still need funding and connections to bring the ideas to market and to patients.

Heather Thompson

January 24, 2011

2 Min Read
MX: Tech Innovation Summit Aims to Bring VCs and Innovators Together

MD&M West will host its first Medical Technology Innovation Summit, February 8, 2011. The forum allows medical technology developers to present their innovations to medical technology manufacturers. “This summit is a good opportunity for us to showcase some of the technologies that show promise,” says Goran Matijasevic, executive director for CEO Roundtable with the University of California Irvine (UCI). The event is designed to connect research and development, new venture, product development and processing/manufacturing professionals from the medical device industry with emerging medical technology companies, technology transfer offices, and incubators. These entities include the UCI, the San Jose Biocenter, and the Stanford Technology Transfer Office.

The presenting companies will discuss innovations in medical technologies that are able to withstand regulatory scrutiny and that provide immediate solutions or enhancements for existing product lines. Some of the firms presenting their ideas include the following:

  • Bone-Rad Therapeutics Inc. Bone-Rad aims to develop and market radioactive bone cement as an innovative, improved, and cost-effective treatment paradigm in the management of cancer tumors in bone.

  • Genia Technologies Inc. Genia Technologies is a private company pioneering the development of a portable genetic reader.

  • OneBreath. OneBreath is a low cost ventilator designed to treat acute respiratory distress patients in low-resource, pandemic and emergency environments.

The companies at the event have been vetted to ensure that they are the most promising fledgling companies, grown either in incubators on campuses or in virtual incubation states. The firms representing UCI were chosen because of their solid business plans. “Two of our companies are winners of the UCI business plan competition,” explains Matijasevic.

The event comes at an opportune time economically speaking. There have been challenges in gaining funding for even these promising companies over the last few years. “The funding environment is better this year than it has been for the past couple years, but still not back to the pre2007 levels,” says Alvin Viray, senior patent and licensing officer at UCI’s Office of Technology Alliances. Because of these funding issues, the university is concerned about start-ups that are unable to pay their patent costs. “Many companies have not been able to keep up with patent reimbursements to the university, so we may include some language in contracts that request prepayment for patent costs, for example in applying for patents in international markets,” says Viray.

With a new climbing economy and more stability in the regulatory environment, stakeholders should start looking again toward he benefits of investing in medical device firms. In many cases the best ideas are coming from researchers and it would be wise to look to them as the future of medical innovation. The innovation summit should be ideal for connecting start-ups with the venture community, says Matijasevic.

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