Marshfield Clinic Aims to Boost Tech Transfer With Cleveland’s Help

1/27/14Follow @XconomyWI

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one technology through the alliance, a device that aims to make breathing easier for patients with severe lung and neuromuscular diseases. MedStar and Cleveland Clinic announced that deal with InnoVital Systems of Beltsville, MD, in December. MedStar staff have made 200 invention disclosures since joining the alliance in 2011, with 50 currently under review and 20 in some form of development, said Ann Nickels, a MedStar spokeswoman.

One licensing deal out of 200 disclosures in three years isn’t much, Nelsen said, but the alliance is still in its infancy. “You need the resources and the time to learn and establish connections with investors and industry, and that doesn’t happen overnight.”

Another key to the alliance’s success will be getting the researchers at Marshfield and other member institutions to buy into the model, and that requires commercialization staff establishing personal relationships with researchers and understanding their objectives, Nelsen said. “That culture change of getting the scientists really believing in this process—if you go too fast it becomes too impersonal and bureaucratic.”

If all goes well, participation in the alliance will help Marshfield Clinic researchers build ties not only with the tech transfer staff but also with researchers at other member institutions. MedStar and University of Notre Dame, for example, were already researching new ways to diagnose and treat concussions in athletes. Now they’re exploring ways for their research teams to work together, with the Cleveland Clinic Innovations employees on the ground at each institution coordinating the collaborative efforts.

“It’s not something we like to view as a hub and spoke model,” Kolonick said of the alliance. adding that he thinks that cross-institution collaboration is becoming increasingly important in healthcare.

“The goal is to get technologies to help patients and help bend the [healthcare] cost curve as well,” Kolonick said. “I do think you’re going to see a lot more collaboration.”

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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