Leaders from U.S. Government, Biomedical Industry, Academia Form Coalition to Spur Medical Device Innovation, Jobs

March 15, 2011

Propose new industry-government group to help maintain quality of healthcare while restraining costs

Medical device conference led by academic, industry and private sector leaders committed to a national strategy

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Leaders from industry, academia and the public and private sectors have called for the creation of a public-private coalition as part of a roadmap for the biomedical sector and to retain the United States’ lead in medical device development and innovation.

Gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Value-driven Engineering and U.S. Global Competitiveness Safe Haven Summit – sponsored by the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) – participants also urged that:

  • The coalition be created using the semiconductor industry’s SEMATECH effort as a model. Based in Austin, Texas, SEMATECH (SEmiconductor MAnufacturing TECHnology) was created in the late 1980s to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry by leveraging resources and sharing risks to solve common manufacturing problems.
  • The federal government create enabling legislation to reflect the national commitment to biomedical device research and development.

“The U.S. must take creative and innovative steps to retain its lead in device development and continue to secure and create American jobs,” said Dr. Frank Douglas, ABIA President and CEO. “Competitiveness begins at home, and it is reassuring to see so many leaders supporting efforts to grow America’s strength in this important area. As the rate of globalization and integration accelerates, the landscape for medical device innovation becomes more complex. It is important that those at the federal level recognize these challenges and encourage opportunities to improve the future of our country, businesses, innovators and workers.”

Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director for Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, delivered keynote remarks and applauded the initiative as another step forward in ensuring that the United States will continue to out-innovate its economic competitors in the 21st century.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, now President and CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs, emphasized that the critical need for public-private collaboration to ensure that the nation continues to invest in medical innovation. “Medical innovation is a key driver in our economic engine, but equally important, investment in medical innovation is about health,” Gephardt said at the Summit. “The time is now to frame a new national imperative that joins the forces of the public and private sectors to sustain our country’s vibrant medical innovation ecosystem and ensures our return on this shared investment through improved health for generations to come.”

The initiative’s steering committee, led by Dr. Douglas and the Akron-based ABIA, includes leaders from Johns Hopkins University, Harvard- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Medtronic, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health, Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Stanford University and The University of Akron.

“Akron is home to world-class researchers and educators, business leaders and entrepreneurs and has earned its designation as a Hub of Biomaterials Innovation and a Center of Excellence for Biomedicine and Health Care. ABIA is at the center of what are keys to our nation’s economic competitiveness: innovation and manufacturing,” said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. “I’m confident that the policies and proposals resulting from the Summit will ultimately help ensure that high-quality, low-cost medical technologies are created right here in America.”

The steering committee will continue to focus on tackling obstacles facing U.S. industry and innovators by monitoring and developing vital research, analysis and pre-competitive opportunity space and projects.

“It is critical we bring the perspectives of public and private institutions together to form a national initiative on our innovation plans. Working together we can develop technology solutions that help address the rising demands on our healthcare system,” said Mike Hess, Vice President of Innovation Excellence at Medtronic and a member of the initiative steering committee.

“For the U.S. to remain at the forefront of medical technology innovation that benefits individuals in the U.S. as well as around the globe, U.S. innovators and entrepreneurs must think more closely about the cost implications of the new technologies they develop. New innovations from global players, such as India, that have long had to innovate within cost constraints are now increasingly on par with many U.S. innovations, but may provide more value,” said Dr. Uday N. Kumar, founder and Chief Medical Officer of iRhythm Technologies Inc., and Fellowship Director of Global Biodesign at Stanford University, who is a member of the initiative’s steering committee. “To compete successfully and develop value-driven technologies that importantly benefit the U.S. healthcare system, U.S. payers must also be partners in this effort and support innovations early in the process by appropriately valuing both short- and long-term cost implications, as well as the benefit to the productivity of the U.S. as a whole.”

“As our society seeks to control healthcare costs, ‘Value-driven Engineering’ will help industry leaders design devices that maximize patient care by minimizing the cost of intervention,” Dr. Douglas said. “The improvement in care should be focused on the patient and the quality of life they enjoy.”

As healthcare costs are inextricably linked to the health of the nation’s economy, Dr. Douglas said, the initiative’s success will valuably enhance U.S. competitiveness on the global stage, create additional jobs and fuel innovation that responds to current fiscal constraints on investments.

About the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron

Based in Akron, Ohio, the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron – a unique collaboration of Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, Summa Health System, The University of Akron and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – is focused on patient-centered innovation and commercialization at the intersection of biomaterials and medicine. The institute is focused on being a global leader in discovering, developing and commercializing biomaterial solutions for patients with orthopaedic and wound healing problems, nationally distinct in improving health outcomes of the medically underserved, and recognized for the use of simulation technologies to improve the education of the healthcare team. To learn more about the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, please visit www.abiakron.org.

    Media Contact:      Scott Rainone, ABIA Director of Communications
                        330-572-7581, srainone@abiakron.org

SOURCE Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron

Source: newswire

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