Sunday, March 9, 2008

Funding for Medical Devices

The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) is a resource for the state’s smaller medical device companies and offers inventors and executives easy, affordable, and coordinated access to researchers and resources at both campuses of the university. Project coordinators at the center provide the expertise and facilities needed to do medical device engineering, product design, prototyping, and manufacturing.

Funding for $4 million is now available to help establish a M2D2 facility on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The funding will come from a bond authorization and will be combined with private, federal, and local funds. According to Stephen McCarthy, co-director of M2D2, the funding will enable the Center to help medical device companies to develop viable products from proof of concept to commercialization.

Engineering and medical experts will be able to work with a steering committee of industry veterans and venture capital managers to guide companies through the pipeline from idea to production via M2D2. The Center will help in developing new medical instruments and products to improve the health and lives of citizens.

In addition, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has awarded a $500,000 grant to M2D2 to help entrepreneurs develop new medical device ideas, such as portable “jaws of life” that are easier for emergency responders to carry to accident scenes, and a dissolvable drug-coated stent to assist heart patients.

According to the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, M2D2 has the capability to service four to 5 times as many medical device concepts as it does right now. This could mean up to ten new companies per year could create medical breakthrough products. The Governor also said that last year, life sciences in Massachusetts grew 45% faster than the economy overall and one in every three products and services exported by the state are life sciences related and most are medical devices.

Looking for device development beyond the state, the Governor and members of the Massachusetts-China Partnership have reached an agreement with the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council and the Chinese Association for Medical Device Industry. The groups are going to promote economic and technical development collaborations and partnerships between the medical device clusters found in Massachusetts and in China.

Both organization will communicate and exchange information, as well as encourage professional and technology exchange, provide study, training and visiting opportunities for professionals, and provide for collaborations between research institutes, teaching hospitals, and development organizations.