The Center for MedTech Excellence is ready to build the next generation of medical devices and medical technologies within the City of Atlanta.
Housed in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, the 16-week mentoring and training program just announced its inaugural class of 17 early-stage startups looking to bring their ideas to a commercial market.
Behind the MedTech Center and the accelerator is Nakia Melecio, Senior Research Faculty at Georgia Tech. He recognized a gap in ecosystem support for founders in the medical device and life sciences space.
“There’s activity around the ecosystem at Georgia Tech and Emory. But what I was seeing is that the programming wasn’t really tailored to really helping them grow,” Melecio told Hypepotamus. “I saw all these startups leave our ecosystem to go to other places like IndieBio on the West Coast and MassChallenge on the East Coast. But I knew there was no reason why they couldn’t build and innovate here.”
He spent two years exploring what a MedTech-specific accelerator might look like before designing a program from scratch. The Center was created out of a $2.6 Economic Development Administration Build to Scale grant.
Early-stage founders from across the ecosystem make up the inaugural cohort. The 17 startups in the first cohort are tackling problems in the medical device, biomanufacturing, remote patient monitoring, and drug discovery spaces.
It is about helping more startups move from “from lab to market,” added Melecio. That means helping selected startups design commercialization plans alongside providing access to the R&D tools and regulatory pathways they need.
Building The Atlanta MedTech Community
On top of selected startups in the first cohort, the MedTech Center also has a three-week “research-to-market” program for scientists, engineering, inventors, and faculty in the early stages of testing an idea.
It is all about helping more BioTech and MedTech startups grow locally, since they typically face an uphill battle when it comes to getting an idea off the ground. Most typically have a long R&D runway as they move towards commercialization. These startups face a difficult regulatory climate, a complicated grant writing process, and a high bar for institutional funding.
The Center and its new accelerator are the latest additions to the city’s medical technology scene. Atlanta is known as the home to CDC, the American Cancer Society, several world-class medical schools, and one of the top university biomedical engineering programs in the country.
Students at Georgia Tech and Emory have access to the Biolocity program. Life science startups across the city will soon have an 18-acre physical gathering spot at Science Square, which broke ground this summer.