Medical Device Center Gets Boost From John Adams Innovation Institute Grant

12/12/2007
By For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224

Also contact Chris Kealey, Mass Tech Collaborative, 508-870-0312 x1240, kealey@masstech.org

LOWELL ߝ MTC’s John Adams Innovation Institute today announced a $500,000 grant for UMass Lowell’s Mass Medical Device Development Center (M2D2). Those funds will be used to help entrepreneurs move new medical device ideas from patent into production.
       The funds come on the heels of a prior $150,000 Innovation Institute grant that leveraged more than $1.3 million in federal funding for further development of a portable “Jaws of Life,” which could be brought to the scene of accidents by emergency responders, and of a dissolvable drug-coated biodegradable stent to assist heart patients.  The new Innovation Institute funds will be used to quickly develop prototypes of similarly marketable new product ideas, under the direction of Prof. Stephen McCarthy of UMass Lowell’s Plastics Engineering Department.
      “M2D2 is UMass Lowell’s latest contribution to growing the life sciences economy,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan. “We are helping new medical device ideas get from patent to production, and in turn helping the state create new products and jobs.”
      “Competition in the innovation economy is now genuinely global ߝ from research to manufacturing to the capital markets that finance the risk taking,” said Patrick Larkin, director of the Innovation Institute.  “This award can strengthen Massachusetts’ conditions for continued success in medical devices.”
      “We have tested our concept ߝ that M2D2 can help inventors of new medical devices secure additional funding to develop their ideas. The new funds will put M2D2 on the fast track, directly assisting companies with product prototyping and testing,” said McCarthy. With the funds, the center will help inventors turn new medical product ideas into prototypes likely to secure federal and private funding. The one-year plan is expected to assist about 10 companies and result in two to three new products ready for hand-off to investors.
      “UMass President Jack Wilson provided the original seed funding to launch this initiative two years ago through his Science and Technology Fund, and he could not be more pleased with the return on the investment in M2D2,” said Thomas Chmura, UMass Vice President for Economic Development. “UMass is committed to engaging the life sciences sectors across the state, and M2D2 targets an important one ߝ the medical devices industry.”
      “MassMEDIC strongly supports this new M2D2 initiative,” said Thomas Sommer, President of MassMEDIC, the industry trade association, in a statement. “We look forward to partnering more fully with M2D2 to maintain a thriving medical device industry in the state.”
      Representatives of the medical device industry, area legislators, and UMass Worcester officials participated in the announcement.  M2D2 is a UMass Worcester-UMass Lowell partnership. Sheila Noone, director of clinical research at Worcester, helps direct the center.
      The University is seeking additional funds from the Life Sciences board later this month to renovate UMass Lowell’s IPI building in Lowell’s Northern Canal area, transforming it into an Innovation Center for Life Sciences. The Patrick Administration has indicated support for the capital project by proposing funding for the building in its higher education bond bill.
      UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.

      THE JOHN ADAMS INNOVATION INSTITUTE, the economic development division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is entrusted with management of two public purpose funds. These funds make targeted, strategic investments to strengthen industry clusters, support the research enterprise, and grow the Massachusetts Innovation Economy.