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Center to Accelerate Commercialization of Medical Technology Created with NHLBI $12M Grant

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is providing $12 million to Partners HealthCare and its founding hospitals to create the Boston Biomedical Innovation Center to accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into commercial products, Partners said on Thursday.

The seven-year grant is one of three awarded by NHLBI to create NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAIs) to target technologies that could improve the diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, and diseases. Cleveland Clinic and the University of California also have received funding to create NCAI centers.

Along with Partners, its founding hospitals, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, are forming the Boston Biomedical Innovation Center. The grant, Partners said, will also enable Harvard Medical School to inform researchers throughout the region on best practices in medical commercialization.

"This grant represents a unique collaboration between government, academic medical centers, venture capital, and industry," Partners Chief Academic Officer Anne Klibanski said in a statement. "This effort will ensure that many of the most compelling scientific advances at Mass General and Brigham and Women’s will rapidly lead to new drugs, devices, and diagnostic tools that can help improve — and even save — the lives of patients everywhere."

The NCAI program was initiated "in response to a recommendation by the Enhancing the Return on the NHLBI SBIR/STTR Investment Team to develop strategies to provide pre-SBIR funding opportunities," NHLBI said on its website.

The program specifically seeks to fill in the "gap in the commercialization pipeline between scientific discovery and company formation, supporting the long-term goal of more rapidly and effectively moving breakthrough innovations to available products that will have health, economic, and societal impact."

NHLBI Director Gary Gibbons said this week that the NCAIs will "offer a one-stop shop to accelerate the translation of early-stage technologies for further development by the private sector and ultimate commercialization."

Each center will be a consortium of academic, government, non-profit, and private sector organizations that will fund feasibility studies, as well as provide regulatory, legal, and business development expertise, and provide entrepreneurial training and mentorship.

In addition to Partners, Mass General, and Brigham and Women's, Boston Biomedical Innovation Center's consortium includes Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Boston Children's Hospital; Boston Medical Center; Boston University; Draper Laboratory; Northeastern University; and the Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare System.

Partners HealthCare's Research, Ventures, and Licensing, the organization's venturing arm, will lead the consortium and coordinate commercial activities of the new initiative, Partners said.

"As clinicians and researchers, innovation is at the core of what we do," Joseph Loscalzo, principal investigator of the Boston-based NCAI, and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's, said. "Through the Boston Biomedical Innovation Center, we will bring together some of the brightest and most creative minds in the area to harness the power of our community and push forward the life-giving breakthroughs and technologies that empower our clinicians to deliver compassionate and high-quality care to our patients and their families."