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Clinician Innovation Program and Therix Medical Off to a Good Start
LEXINGTON, KY (June 23, 2010) — Clinician commercialization projects for medical devices and diagnostics are well under way with provisional and utility patents filed, graduate students hired and working prototypes in hand. The new commercialization initiative and Therix Medical, a new company that will develop clinician's ideas, was announced last August at the 1st annual UK Clinician Innovation Day.
Since then, Dean Harvey and Jessica Williams in CED's Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship have reviewed more than 20 clinician disclosures, the first step toward the possible development of a new medical device or diagnostic. "In the past, the university did not have a process or program to help our clinicians who had ideas but were not doing sponsored research," said Harvey, executive director of the Von Allmen center.
Harvey, Jessica Williams, and UK cardiologist John Gurley spent a year looking at similar programs at Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic. And they developed a customized disclosure process designed to fit the hectic schedule of UK's healthcare providers. Now, after clinicians disclose their idea to the university, they can work with a partner of their own choosing, or partner with UK's new, privately funded company Therix Medical.
"Our interests are UK's interests and the interests of UK's clinicians," said Therix Medical CEO and Lexington native Jim Clifton, a 23-year veteran in new business development, who was hired by the Therix board from BridgePoint Medical, a healthcare company for patients with orthotic and prosthetic needs. "We partner with UK through Dean and Jessica who are doing very detailed commercial assessments and we form a business partnership with the clinicians."
Harvey and Williams have recommended three potential innovations from Claire Sanger, D.O., Division of Plastic Surgery, and John Gurley, M.D., Division of Cardiology, to Clifton.
Clifton has filed three provisional patents and a utility patent and developed working prototypes of Sanger's idea for a pediatric positional sleep garment and one of Gurley's ideas for a cardiac diagnostic. Therix handles the intellectual property protection strategy for its clients in addition to product feasibility and regulatory assessment, development and business plans.
According to Clifton, the majority of Therix projects will probably be sublicensed to industry, while the remainder will become the inspiration for start-up companies that will take their products to market. He expects it will take six months to a year and an investment of $50,000 to $250,000 before Therix can sublicense to industry. If the decision is made to form a start-up company, Therix could work from nine months to two years and invest $200,000 to $500,000 before the startup takes off.
"We have created a unique opportunity for our clinicians in the six colleges of UK's healthcare enterprise to be involved in the development of their ideas without a substantial investment of their time or resources," said Len Heller, Commercialization & Economic Development vice president and president of Kentucky Technology Inc., the majority founder of Therix Medical.
Clifton is currently in discussion with several potential industry partners on two projects, and has hired three graduate students in engineering and biomedical engineering for product rapid prototype development.