April 24, 2013

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Austen BioInnovation form strategic partnership

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) have formed a strategic innovation partnership intended to create an innovation-oriented pathway for surgeons to explore and commercialize new ideas and solutions. Working closely with a select group of surgeons at the hospital, the ABIA partnership will provide St. Vincent with engineering and technology development resources necessary to develop medical devices and solutions that have clinical and commercial potential.

The ABIA-St. Vincent partnership will focus initially on the area of orthopedics. To facilitate the first phase of this technology development initiative, ABIA’s biomedical engineers will spend time on-site at St. Vincent in partnered-innovation sessions. The sessions involve working directly with surgeons in the operating room to identify unmet clinical needs and problems that might lead to products and solutions. The collaborative process then allows for ABIA to further the commercialization path through market and intellectual property analysis, regulatory strategy, engineering design, prototype development and testing of new advances.

“As a biomedical engineer, now surgeon I am aware of the innovation that takes place daily in the operating room,” said Dr. David F. Perse, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “We have been in a multiyear process to find a collaborator to further explore and test these concepts. ABIA was immediately engaged as an energetic partner. It is our desire through this partnership to engage independent, entrepreneurially minded surgeons to test and develop their innovations for the benefit of patients and the community at large.”

“Our relationship with St. Vincent reinforces the ABIA partnership’s commitment to work with innovators everywhere to explore novel and pioneering ways to provide better care for patients,” said Dr. Frank L. Douglas, ABIA president and CEO. “Through this cooperative program, we are able to help St. Vincent and other organizations maintain a strong, engaged relationship with skilled physicians and employees by providing them with a pathway to explore advancement that may lead to an improved level of treatment and economic growth.”

The history of modern medicine shows that innovation is often generated outside of university or governmental constructs, according to Perse. “With the evolving bureaucratic nature of medicine and the difficulty for innovative, independent physicians to test their concepts due to the challenges of time and resources, the ability to engage with a proven bioengineering entity like ABIA creates enormous opportunities,” he said.

Participation in the ABIA Strategic Innovation Partnership is open to industry, health and educational systems and is meant to enhance the pace of invention across a wide range of organizations. Through the ABIA partnership, member organizations gain access to the tools and expertise needed to increase patient-centered innovation, product development and commercialization efforts in the high-growth life sciences sector.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Read more about the strategic partnership in an April 22 article in the Akron Beacon Journal an on Ohio.com.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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