A new kind of focused accelerator has joined the Atlanta startup scene. The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a comprehensive medical device innovation center, is launching a new medtech accelerator. In partnership with medtech company Becton, Dickinson and Company, the accelerator will be a significant addition to the city’s growing medtech industry, especially with nearby allies like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Emory University.
“[The reason] why GCMI was founded was to address a gap in the Southeast — to help innovation happening here,” says Tiffany Wilson, CEO of GCMI and its preclinical testing and training arm T3 Labs. “The first step was to establish a physical presence and infrastructure to help med-tech innovators and entrepreneurs, design, build, test their devices in the region. Then bring together the ecosystem around to help them, recognizing that it really does take a village to get something from concept through to the bedside.”
The Southeast led the country in medtech employment from 2012–2014. While overall U.S. employment in the medtech industry fell by 0.1 percent, employment in the Southeast grew by 5.1 percent, adding 2,874 jobs, according to the Southeastern Medical Device Association.
However, medtech startups still continue to fail due to lack of seed funding or the right guidance on how to commercialize their product in time to attract more funding, says Wilson.”The medical device industry is faced with a gap in the innovation pipeline for new products and technology.”
The new GCMI accelerator will create an important funding resource for those startups and help them scale while driving the Southeast medtech ecosystem forward.
“Early stage venture capital has essentially gone away over the last ten years because of uncertainties related to regulatory issues and healthcare reform,” says Wilson. “So they’re investing in things that have a faster exit and less uncertainty. If large companies aren’t investing at early stages anymore and venture capitalist are not investing at an early stage anymore, there’s significant gap between sources of grant dollars and then later stage gross equity financing.”
The first startup joining the rolling program is Linear Health Sciences, a medtech startup working on new safety release valve technology for medical tubing. Its Orchid valve will help reduce central lines, provide more efficient IV setups, and decrease risk of dislodgment — saving hospitals money and time by avoiding additional procedures.
“Our acceptance into the Medtech Accelerator program is tremendously validating for the progress we have made to date,” said Ryan Dennis, MD, the CEO and co-founder of Linear Health Sciences. “It demonstrates the excitement among clinicians and the investment community about the Orchid SRV and our approach to solving a widely recognized problem in nursing and vascular access care.
During their time at the GCMI accelerator, startups will receive mentoring from partnering companies in key areas, including IP protection, preclinical studies, introduction to potential clients, and FDA 510(k) submission. The selected startups will stay on board up to a year, depending on the milestones discussed during admission.