Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech Launches Center for MedTech Excellence

Center to provide expertise in concept-to-commercialization of medical device technologies that can compete globally and improve the human condition

ATLANTA — The Center for MedTech Excellence, created to support and address the unique needs of early-stage medical device technologies, launched today with its first cohort of early-stage biotech companies.

Housed in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and funded by a federal grant, the Center will provide expertise in product realization, technology, medical device manufacturing, biotechnology, life science, and therapeutic innovations to early-stage entrepreneurs.

It is a collaborative effort of two Enterprise Innovation Institute programs — the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) — and the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a Georgia Tech affiliate.

Nakia Melecio, founding director of the Center for MedTech Excellence

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the life science, medical device, therapeutic space, and what I saw was great programming,” said the Center’s Founding Director Nakia Melecio. “But there wasn’t any programming focused on taking companies from idea all the way to commercialization and including everything in between. There are a lot of accelerators and incubators, but none are focused, like we are, solely on developing, growing, and building life science companies.”

With its home in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, it was natural to partner with ATDC, GaMEP, and GCMI, says Melecio. “Georgia MEP, with its focus on manufacturing, can help companies navigate manufacturing strategy. GCMI’s expertise in the medical technology industry can help on the clinical side. While ATDC will be home to ScaleUp Lab, MedTech’s incubator.”

Georgia boasts a robust and growing medical technology and health ecosystem with metro Atlanta being a national leader in health information technology, vaccine research, clinical trials, and medical device development.

The state is also home to the CDC, the American Cancer Society, the Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, and the Medical College of Georgia.

The Center, joining that network of resources, will support the sector’s continued expansion and job growth in the state, Melecio said.

“The MedTech Center supports and empowers innovators across a broad life-sciences and healthcare range to produce and accelerate the delivery of life-saving health and wellness solutions to people worldwide.”

The Center’s mission, he noted, is aligned with Georgia Tech’s goal to “develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.”

Supported by a $3 million Economic Development Administration Build to Scale grant, the Center will provide services at no cost to clients, who must be developing medical devices for human or animal use. They must be located in Georgia and intending to grow their employment in the state.

During the 16-week program, the Center will provide services to the cohort companies, including coaching/mentoring, capital raising, financial literacy, networking, site selection, cybersecurity, production scaling, product design, and development processes. There are 17 companies in the inaugural cohort.

The Center also includes Scaleup Lab, an incubator for developing and startup companies to catalyze growth and enhance research and development by introducing companies to industry leaders, delivering entrepreneurial programs, and providing a capital-efficient, flexible stage to convert today’s scientific discoveries into tomorrow’s breakthrough healthcare solutions. The accelerator classes will include eight to 12 companies that have been recruited, qualified, and advised by the Center’s expert network.

A second program, MedTech Center Health Innovation Hub: Life Science MedTech, is designed for science and healthcare companies seeking growth funding and connections to experts and strategic partners for product development and expansion. Through this program, select Scaleup Lab companies are matched with a personal team tasked with advising on the company’s next growth stage. The year-long, virtual program features presentations from advisors and investors on topics such as biotechnology, healthcare, and hospital systems; medical devices and diagnostics; therapeutics; pharmaceuticals; rare diseases; and consumer healthcare.

“I see the MedTech Center as a support and addition to the current life sciences and entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Melecio said. “It’s a place for businesses to get everything from customized program content to grant and investor support, all geared specifically toward life science companies.”

About the Enterprise Innovation Institute
The Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development unit, serves all of Georgia through a variety of services and programs that build and scale startups, grow business enterprises, and energize ecosystem builders. As the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based economic development organization, the Institute’s expertise and reach are global; its innovation, entrepreneurship, and ecosystem development programs serve governments, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations worldwide. In 2021, the Enterprise Innovation Institute served more than 15,500 businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs. Those clients reported startup investment capital exceeding $1.1 billion and creating or saving more than 11,300 jobs. The Enterprise Innovation Institute’s total 2021 financial impact exceeded $2.9 billion. Learn more at innovate.gatech.edu.

About ATDC
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, whose purpose is to enhance global competitiveness for Georgia manufacturers. Each year, GaMEP offers coaching and training to more than 700 manufacturers across the state to help increase top-line growth, reduce bottom-line costs, and boost the economic well-being of Georgia. To learn more, visit gamep.org.

About the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI)
GCMI’s mission is to bring new medical technologies to market that improve quality-based outcomes and delivery of care for patients worldwide. To learn more, visit gcmiatl.com.

For media inquiries, contact:
Péralte C. Paul
404.316.1210
peralte.paul@comm.gatech.edu

For information about the Center for MedTech Excellence, contact:
Nakia Melecio
678.478.2422
nakia.melecio@innovate.gatech.edu

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.”