What the MedTech Accelerator does for academics
As with many things, successful translation of medical technologies is straightforward, but it is not easy. What is required is a focused approach that takes into account not just the technical issues, but also the many other factors – clinical, regulatory, business, and the like – any one of which may derail a project if it is not handled properly. The MedTech Accelerator is designed to provide UCL academics with help in this process, by pointing them in the right direction, and assisting wherever possible.
An example of this is a cohort of seven Flagship Projects that are currently passing through the MedTech Accelerator under the aegis of the Yale-UCL Medical Technologies Collaborative (MTC). This is a funded programme where a series of workshops – on the themes of imaging & sensing, biomaterials & drug delivery, and vascular engineering – were held in London and New Haven, at which six principal investigators from each institution participated in show- and-tell and brain-storming sessions. The MTC programme is now supporting the flagship projects via bilateral academic staff and researcher exchanges, and access to expert advice (from both internal and external consultants) around matters such as freedom to operate, regulatory pathways and socio-economic impact factors.
While the MTC example is inter- institutional, the MedTech Accelerator is open to home-grown UCL collaborations: in a recent workshop, more than a hundred researchers from the engineering and brain sciences faculties came together for a day to discuss synergies and opportunities.
The objective is clear: to promote academic-led and academic-inspired innovation projects, focused on patient benefit and delivery, with an awareness of the pitfalls and a readiness to meet them.