PhotoniCare Wins CRAASH Prize For Excellence In Innovation
On April 8, 2016, CIMIT hosted 9 project teams during the closeout session for the winter session of its CRAASH course. Teams took to the podium to present final pitches; the culmination of 10 weeks of intensive work to accelerate their healthtech innovations out of the lab toward commercialization and clinical practice, with PhotoniCare standing out as a leader among the strong teams who participated.
PhotoniCare, a company that has developed a handheld imaging tool that sees through the eardrum to give a more accurate view of the middle ear, took home CIMIT’s top award for excellence based on feedback from course mentors and fellow classmates. Currently, the frequent misdiagnosis (~50%) of ear infections in children leads to inefficient or harmful treatment choices. PhotoniCare hopes their solution will enable quick, easy, and accurate diagnosis to elicit fundamental changes to the way ear infections are managed, from the first patient visit.
“Over the course of the CRAASH program, we really grew to better understand the pain points physicians have when diagnosing and managing ear infections”, said Ryan Nolan, PhotoniCare’s Director of Clinical Development & Co-founder and CRAASH Entrepreneurial Lead. “Through our customer interviews, we learned a lot about not only our customer, but also their workplace ecosystems and the market opportunity as a whole. This program and the invaluable 1:1 mentor relationship helped us accelerate our efforts in a very real way.”
“I really enjoyed mentoring PhotoniCare during this CRAASH session”, said Joel Weinstein, CIMIT Accelerator Executive. “It was clear to me from the start that PhotoniCare's ClearView™ was a promising technology that addressed a compelling clinical need and was being developed by an energetic, enthusiastic, team who were also good listeners.”
Other projects during the winter session included a point-of-care solution for routine diagnostics, a patch blood pressure monitoring system, a novel platform for trans-cardiac, direct-vision, beating-heart surgery, a solution to ensure patients at risk of anaphylaxis have an epinephrine auto-injector with them at all times, a device which can selectively remove cytokines in critically ill patients, a wearable device to improve sleep without drugs, a microfluidic chip to extract, amplify and detect HPV, and a smartphone device to help read TB tests remotely.
“The CRAASH course, through hard work, commitment, and expert mentorship, helps teams to refine the thinking around their healthtech projects”, said Mike Dempsey, CIMIT’s Entrepreneur in Residence and Accelerator Program Leader. “At the end of this 10-week session, I could clearly see each team had made measured progress in moving their projects forward along the path to commercialization.”
The journey from identifying and articulating an important unmet medical need to developing an innovative solution which becomes the standard of care is long and challenging, with most teams failing somewhere along the way. The odds of successfully navigating the journey significantly increase if teams have the experience and skills needed to anticipate and address challenges along the way. We believes that innovation in HealthTech is a learnable process. We have created a roadmap to help budding entrepreneurs successfully navigate the journey by learning from and building on the experiences of others.
In today’s environment, even promising healthech innovations fail to get investments from financially motivated investors. As a result, solutions do not survive the so-called Valley of Death. There are numerous good reasons why investors choose not to invest. In many cases, it is because the innovator did not anticipate and prepare a response to a question about a particular risk. This can be traced back to the fact that innovators often fail to put themselves in an investor’s shoes. Doing so is critical to understanding why they may not invest in their solution—the “deal killers”.
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Point-of-Care Technology Research Network
This paper describes the POCTRN and the three currently funded Centers as examples of academic-based organizations that support collaborations across disciplines, institutions, and geographic regions to successfully drive innovative solutions from concept to patient care.
Healthcare commercialization programs (HCPs) are described and proposed as an option that institutions can add to their portfolio to improve translational research. In helping teams translate specifc healthcare innovations into practice, HCPs expand the skillset of investigators and enhance an institution's innovation capacity. Lessons learned are shared from configuring and delivering HCPs, which build on the fundamentals of the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps program, to address the unique challenges in supporting healthcare innovations and innovators.
This is an ongoing, work-in-process update of CIMIT’s Clinical Impact Study (CIS). First conducted in 2009, the CIS is a self-assessment by CIMIT faculty and investigators of its project portfolio and Accelerator Program and now includes projects initiated between 1998 and 2012. The innovation portfolio, an important subset of the ways in which CIMIT helps speed innovations into patient care, represents an investment of almost $70M over 14 years. It also represents a rather unique longitudinal set of experiences from which to learn.
If ever an industry was in need of both incremental and disruptive innovation it is today's health care industry. Realizing the full potential of innovation across the spectrum of health care environments is critical to address the well-documented, emerging global crisis generated by the aging of the population, the obligation to increase access for all to the best standard of care, and the societal imperative to contain costs.
Would a carpenter be asked to manage building a new housing development? Probably not. More likely a real estate developer with the skills, experience and knowledge of the local market and trades, including carpentry, would manage such an undertaking. Good developers anticipate and address the challenges of building and selling homes. Delivering attractive appropriately priced homes on time and on budget requires that developers use their knowledge, experience, and judgment to make numerous decisions that engage the right talent at the right time to balance development risks and costs.
The Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation & Technology (CIMIT) was established in 1998 by four leading academic medical centers and universities in the greater Boston area to leverage the value of a consortium to improve patient care through Deep Innovation using medical technology to solve pressing unmet medical needs.