Commerce Department’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship director visits GCMI

 Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, learns about the 3D printing capabilities during a recent tour of the Global Center for Medical Innovation, a Georgia Tech affiliate. She holds a skull made via 3D printing at the facility..

Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, learns about the 3D printing capabilities at the Global Center for Medical Innovation during a recent tour of the Georgia Tech affiliate. She holds a skull made at the facility via 3D printing.

By Péralte C. Paul

The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) recently hosted U.S. Department of Commerce officials, who visited the facility for a better understanding of its best practices in iatric commercialization.

GCMI, which launched in 2012, is the Southeast’s first comprehensive medical device innovation center. An affiliate of Georgia Tech, GCMI’s core mission is to accelerate the development and commercialization of next-generation medical devices and technology.

The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration arm awarded a $1 million i6 Challenge grant to GCMI in 2010 toward its launch.

“I want to come see what it is the federal government is investing in and how it’s impacting people,” said Julie Lenzer Kirk, director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Being one of our original i6 winners, GCMI also offers some insight as we continue to evolve the program.”

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson (left) shares his insights on medical device innovation with Julie Lenzer Kirk (center), the director of U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and GCMI Executive Director Tiffany Wilson Karp (right). GCMI is a Georgia Tech affiliate.

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson (left) shares his insights on medical device innovation with Julie Lenzer Kirk (center), the director of U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and GCMI Executive Director Tiffany Wilson Karp (right). GCMI is a Georgia Tech affiliate.

While touring the facility with Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson and GCMI Executive Director Tiffany Wilson Karp, Kirk saw its design, engineering, and prototyping capabilities as well as its cleanroom space. She also learned about GCMI’s relationships with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and West Tennessee Healthcare, as well as a number of medical device-related organizations.

“We have been working to bring together the rich medical device ecosystem in the Southeast around our prototyping expertise and infrastructure to help medtech startups accelerate commercialization,” Karp said. “Our mission is to help these early-stage companies bring those solutions to market and make a difference in the quality of patients’ lives.”

GCMI’s focus on that core mission and doing so from an entrepreneurial viewpoint is impressive, Kirk said, adding that she will be looking at its best practices and lessons learned in formulating criteria for future i6 Challenges.

“It’s just been really great to see the impact that they’re having at the university, in the technology community, and ultimately right to the patient — and that’s why we do what we do,” Kirk said following the Jan. 15 tour. “It is a place for entrepreneurs and innovation, and that’s part of the message: that it takes an entrepreneurial mindset to get this kind of thing done.”

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