Biotech research center to open in Atlanta

By DAN CHAPMAN, LAURA DIAMOND
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Georgia’s biotech industry expects to soon grow healthier.

Four of Atlanta’s leading health care and research organizations will announce Tuesday the creation of a medical research “innovation center” to speed to market medical devices.Georgia Tech, St. Joseph’s, Piedmont Healthcare and the Georgia Research Alliance will each put up $100,000 to launch the Global Center for Medical Innovation. The center will be housed at Technology Enterprise Park, alongside Georgia Tech.

Gov. Sonny Perdue will formally unveil the research and business incubator this afternoon at the huge — and hugely important to Georgia — 2009 BIO International Convention at the Georgia World Congress Center. The conference is expected to draw 15,000, beginning Tuesday.

Emory University also will share some news: the establishment of a “new drug discovery institute” to be located on campus. In addition, the school will form a partnership with Australia’s Queensland Institute of Medical Research to develop vaccines, said David Stephens, vice president of research in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center at Emory.

Research and hospital officials talked excitedly Monday of the “innovation center,” which will initially focus on bringing cardiologic, orthopedic and pediatric devices and technologies to the marketplace.

The not-for-profit business incubator, which they label the first in the Southeastern United States, is expected to attract investors and medical-device companies — and keep Georgia-based inventors from taking their business, jobs and profits elsewhere.

“This will move us to the application stage of development, beyond the laboratory and the invention stage,” Michael Cassidy, president of the Georgia Research Alliance, said Monday. “We’ll be developing the ideas and ability to really scale up capacity so that [the inventions] will be attractive to industry.”

The initial $400,000 investment will be used to establish the center’s business plan. Investors are expected to pony up “several million dollars” later this year, Cassidy said, to create a “prototyping center” where medical devices will be test-driven.

Dr. Jay Yadav, chairman of the Piedmont Healthcare Center for Medical Innovation, said the public-private research and development center will pair doctors — who invent 80 percent of all medical devices — with engineers.

Doctors “are on the front line of taking care of the patient,” said Yadav, a cardiologist and CEO of a medical device company. “They understand the key problems and solutions. What’s missing is the engineering help, however, to turn these ideas into devices.”

Georgia is not synonymous with biotechnology, the use of biology to create products for medicine, food and the environment. California, Massachusetts and North Carolina all count more biotech investment, companies and prestige.

Georgia’s industry consists of mainly smaller, early-stage companies that haven’t registered as many biotech breakthroughs as the competition. Venture capitalists, the main financial source for startups, don’t typically invest in Georgia either.

Yet biotech and ancillary businesses are among the state’s fastest-growing industries, with more than 60,000 jobs responsible for billions of payroll and tax dollars, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Yadav, citing Atlanta’s renowned universities, hospitals and airport, said the innovation center should stamp Georgia firmly on the world’s biotech consciousness. “There’s no reason companies from Europe and all over the world can’t come to utilize this setup,” he said.

— Staff writer Shelia M. Poole contributed to this story.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Global Center for Medical Innovation launches
Atlanta Business Chronicle - by Urvaksh Karkaria Staff Writer

Four Georgia research and health-care organizations will collaborate to launch a center to boost development and commercialization of next-generation medical devices and medical technology.

Billed as the first of its kind in the Southeast, the Global Center for Medical Innovation will include a comprehensive medical device prototyping center.

Gov. Sonny Perdue is expected to announce this venture at the 2009 BIO International Convention later Tuesday.

The center will be supported by Georgia Tech, Saint Joseph’s, Piedmont Healthcare and the Georgia Research Alliance. It will be adjacent to the Georgia Tech campus in Technology Enterprise Park.

“The convergence of the life sciences with engineering provides a unique opportunity to expand our technology in areas that will support the health care industry of the future,” Georgia Tech President G. P. ‘Bud’ Peterson said in a statement. “The Global Center for Medical Innovation will bring together in one location the key infrastructure needed to rapidly move new medical devices and new medical technologies to market.”

The center will include a medical device prototyping center and have the capability to produce evaluation devices mandated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

The center’s initial focus is expected to include devices and technologies in cardiology, orthopedics and pediatrics and is expected to attract companies from outside Georgia.

“Medical device companies in the Southeast have long suffered a disadvantage compared to competitors that have access to long-established support networks,” Dr. Nicolas Chronos. “The new Georgia center will allow companies to contract with a single entity for comprehensive development activities, create a single location for investors seeking qualified medical device companies, and allow innovations developed by multiple institutions to be combined to create more useful devices.”
 

New Center Will Support Growth of Medical Device and Technology Industry
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For Immediate Release
May 19, 2009

Accelerating Innovation: New Center Will Support Growth of Medical Device and Medical Technology Industry


Four of Georgia’s leading research and health care organizations have joined together to create a new innovation center that will accelerate the development and commercialization of next-generation medical devices and medical technology. The first of its kind in the Southeast, the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) will include a comprehensive medical device prototyping center.

Mark Allen, Georgia Tech’s senior vice provost for research and innovation, confers with Jay Yadav, M.D. (left), chairman of the Piedmont Healthcare Center for Medical Innovation. They are shown at the 2009 BIO International Convention, where the new Global Center for Medical Innovation was announced.
(Georgia Tech Photo: Rob Felt)

Supported by the Georgia Institute of Technology, Saint Joseph’s, Piedmont Healthcare and the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), the new center will bring together the complete medical device marketplace – which includes universities, research centers and clinicians; established drug and device companies; investors, and early-stage companies. The new center will be located adjacent to the Georgia Tech campus in Technology Enterprise Park (TEP).

The new Global Center for Medical Innovation was announced by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue May 19th at the 2009 BIO International Convention at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“The convergence of the life sciences with engineering provides a unique opportunity to expand our technology in areas that will support the health care industry of the future,” said G. P. “Bud” Peterson, president of Georgia Tech. “The Global Center for Medical Innovation will bring together in one location the key infrastructure needed to rapidly move new medical devices and new medical technologies to market.”

The new center will include:

  • A complete medical device prototyping center;
  • A capability to produce evaluation devices using “good manufacturing practices” mandated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA); and
  • The ability to manage, coordinate and aggregate intellectual property from the partner organizations and interested private companies.
Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson discusses the Global Center for Medical Innovation during a press conference at the 2009 BIO International Convention.
(Georgia Tech Photo: Rob Felt)

The research division of Saint Joseph’s Health System, will add the capability for preclinical studies of new devices and technologies. SJTRI has recently opened a new, state-of-the art, 32,000-square-foot preclinical research facility at Technology Enterprise Park. With the GCMI resources, that will provide a comprehensive set of services for developing, testing and prototyping medical innovations.

The leading-edge medical research conducted at the founding institutions will be the engine behind the new center. By bringing together physicians with direct experience at treating patients with scientists and engineers, GCMI will facilitate the development of technology that meets real-world medical needs.

“Physicians on the front lines of patient treatment have a very real appreciation of the need for new technology, but they often lack the resources to translate their ideas and solutions into new medical devices,” said Jay S. Yadav, M.D., chairman of the Piedmont Healthcare Center for Medical Innovation, a cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians and CEO of Atlanta medical device company CardioMEMS. “By collaborating with institutions like Georgia Tech, we can meet patient needs and create new business opportunities.”

The proximity to university resources will also make the center attractive to outside industry and startup companies.

“Investments in Georgia’s research universities are helping to create the knowledge and innovation necessary to expand the medical device industry in the state,” said Mike Cassidy, president and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), a public-private organization that supports the development of technology industry in Georgia. “Through activities like GCMI and Georgia Research Alliance commercialization activities at the state’s research universities, we are supporting the development and growth of this promising industry.”

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson (left) confer at the Georgia Tech booth at the 2009 BIO International Convention.
(Georgia Tech Photo: Rob Felt)

Because of the research strengths of the partnering institutions, the center’s initial focus is expected to include devices and technologies in cardiology, orthopedics and pediatrics. The only one of its kind in the Southeast, the new center is expected to attract companies from outside Georgia.

“Medical device companies in the Southeast have long suffered a disadvantage compared to competitors that have access to long-established support networks,” said Nicolas Chronos, M.D., an internationally-known cardiologist and researcher. “The new Georgia center will allow companies to contract with a single entity for comprehensive development activities, create a single location for investors seeking qualified medical device companies, and allow innovations developed by multiple institutions to be combined to create more useful devices.”

GCMI is a not-for-profit entity that will have its own governing board with representatives from the partners and stakeholders. A startup manager who will direct the center is expected to be named in the next few months.

“By bringing together these public and private resources, we have provided a strong foundation for accelerating the growth of the medical device and medical technology industry in Georgia,” said Governor Perdue. “This partnership demonstrates the strengths Georgia provides industry through collaborations among its research universities, health care organization and the Georgia Research Alliance.”


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