The Path to Commercialization

October 15, 2013

By Amy Butler, Executive Director, OU INC

The path to commercialization for medical devices is not only distinct from other commercialization pathways, but can be long, complex and arduous. This presents many opportunities to innovate, expedite and perhaps even simplify that chain of events.

Michigan is known for its expertise in systems analysis, engineering research & development and manufacturing in the automotive industry. However, Michigan is a living laboratory demonstrating how easily these skills and experience are transferrable to the life sciences sector as well; both through product development and, even more distinct, the innovation within the commercialization path of solutions for the life sciences and medical device sectors.

One key example is in product development — many medical devices are developed with one-off embedded hardware and software, which increases complexity, risk and financial requirements. One company, Royal Oak-based Versicor, provides medical device developers with the ability to rapidly move from prototype to production, eliminating costly rework through a flexible development platform. Versicor helps simplify product development, decrease risk and increase speed to market.

A second area of innovation is understanding how to use new technologies and online social communities to match patients to clinical trials. Lack of patient enrollment in clinical trials can significantly delay the path to commercialization.  OU INC client CureLauncher provides a reliable, non-biased matching service and support through all clinical trial steps.

An additional area of innovation in advancing next-generation solutions in the medical device field is the collaboration among public/private partnerships to leverage the state’s vast resources in the supply chain. An emerging alliance is the Life Sciences Consortium, where service providers offer a coordinated and collaborative approach to entrepreneurs developing next-generation technologies.

Yet another unique partnership is the Oakland County Medical Main Street program, a collective of the Southeast Michigan region’s healthcare and life sciences industries. The West Michigan Medical Device Consortium, the Michigan Medical Device Consortium and the key Smartzone Accelerators, such as OU INC, are also developing relationships to leverage the resources of the state to expedite the path to commercialization for these new medical solutions.

Amy Butler is executive director of OU INC, a Michigan SmartZone Innovation Incubator and Clean Energy Research Center and part of Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science.