The Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute is one of eight accelerators selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to drive advancements in lifesaving medical technologies that solve challenging problems from modern health security threats to daily medical care issues.
The TMC Innovation Institute is a unique learning environment aimed at impacting the health care industry through the collaboration of medicine and cutting-edge technology from around the world. As entrepreneurs broaden their visions and networks, they are supported in product development from bench to bed.
The eight accelerators will search for innovative technologies and products that can be developed to solve health care challenges beyond traditional vaccine and drug development.
One of the first problems to be addressed is the overwhelming need for earlier infection detection and creating technology that can alert people when they have a bacteria or virus—even before they begin to feel sick. The second is an urgency to solve sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection or traumatic injury. Sepsis, a top cause of hospitalization in the United States, leads to 250,000 deaths annually and costs about $24 billion per year to treat.
A new HHS unit called DRIVe—part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response—will oversee the accelerator network. The unit is recruiting a nonprofit partner that can work with private investors to fund innovative technologies and products to figure out solutions to early infection detection, sepsis and other systemic health security challenges. DRIVe also can invest in the projects using quick, streamlined funding methods.
To assist startups and other businesses in developing their technologies and products, accelerators will serve as the link to essential product development and business support services. This support could position innovative technologies and products for follow-on investment from the public or private sectors.
With DRIVe, the accelerators, startups and other businesses have a new pathway to unify ideas, nurture them with experienced partners and direct them to BARDA’s experts who have demonstrated success in creating partnerships with private industry operations that deliver new ideas through the breadth of development to regulatory approval.
TMC Innovation received about $96,000 in a DRIVe grant to serve as an accelerator. Other accelerators are: First Flight Venture Center (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina), MedTech Innovator (Los Angeles), New Orleans BioInnovation Center (Louisiana), SUNY Research Foundation (Stony Brook, New York), University City Science Center (Philadelphia), Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (Lowell) and Life Science Washington Institute (Seattle).