Scientists spend long years in postgraduate education and labs, so they can conduct research in their specialized area. However, bioscience education doesn’t include instructions on how to take a compelling idea and transform it into a successful biomedical product launch.

This gap, along with the drive to grow the biotech ecosystem in San Antonio, inspired The Health Cell to develop a pilot workshop series named Developing and Clinically Introducing Medical Technologies. The four-part series, which includes dinner, will take place from 6-10 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2016, Nov. 21, 2016, Jan. 16, 2017, and Feb. 13, 2017.

The workshops will be held at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at 7703 Floyd Curl Dr. The cost for the complete series of four workshops is $150 and space will be limited to 40.

To register, fill out The Health Cell Workshop Series application form here by Aug. 31, 2016. Participants will be notified by Sept. 15.

About The Health Cell

Dr. Diana Henderson, chief medical officer at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital was the first president of The Health Cell. She and her three co-founders, CEO and President of Bluegrass Vascular Technologies Dr. Gabriele Niederauer, Provenir CEO Brigitta Glick, and Beth Eby of Eby Financial, established the The Health Cell in 2013. The nonprofit organization aims to promote professional development in and collaboration among members of San Antonio’s medical, biotech, military, and academic fields.

As the organizer of the series, The Health Cell serves as a point of connection for the various participants in San Antonio’s biotech ecosystem, namely health insurance agents, health care providers, developers, researchers, marketing professionals, regulatory community members, clinical researchers, business executives, and startup entrepreneurs.

About the Workshops

The workshops will include lectures as well as experienced panelists and speakers leading interactive team-based learning sessions on how to take a medical technology practice or device from idea to manufacturing to market. Participants will be required to complete reading and homework assignments and will receive a certificate upon completing all four workshops.

Faculty for The Health Cell workshop series includes Dr. Pratap Khanwilkar, vice president of product development at InCube Labs; Dr. Kris Kieswetter, senior director for research and technology at Acelity; and Dr. Teresa Evans, director of career development at the Graduate School of Biomedical Science, UT Health Science Center.

The need to educate bioscience professionals spurred the creation of this workshop series. Participants will learn how to develop a medical technology or medtech device from concept, where patient needs are identified and a market is selected, to product development, testing, and manufacturing, all the way to clinical trials and market introduction.

“Since coming to town only about a year and a half ago, we have tried to hire locals (at InCube Labs),” Khanwilkar said, “but we found that qualified candidates are very few and far between. We have seen how prospective candidates are experts in their own area, but have very limited knowledge of what it takes overall to take a successful medtech venture from A to Z.

“If these potential mid-career and junior level candidates only knew about this, they would be so much (more) valuable (to) and productive (at) a small company like InCube,” Khanwilkar stressed.

The Heath Cell seeks to fill this gap for San Antonio’s bioscience community.

“There is a need for targeted training programs to support the growing biomedical enterprise of San Antonio,” Evans said. “As a board member of The Health Cell, I have been very excited to take part in this novel knowledge base program that will provide targeted education about medical technology development to a broad spectrum of attendees.”

The workshop is open not only to science and industry professionals: medical technology intellectual property lawyers who prepare and file patents, recruiters working in the medtech space, as well as entrepreneurs are welcome to attend the workshops.

“The program will engage attendees who are currently in the medical technology industry as well as those who wish to become a part of the industry,” Evans added. “In this way we hope to build the community’ excitement and understanding of the medical technology industry that is within our city.”

Each workshop introduces foundational content for the next one in the series:

Oct. 17, 2016 Workshop: Dr. Khanwilkar and Dr. Kieswetter: Course introduction and development and commercialization process for medical technology; Identifying and validating unmet clinical need and target market.

Nov. 21, 2016 Workshop: Dr. Kieswetter: Reimbursement and other financial considerations; Regulatory pathways and clinical trials.

Jan. 16, 2017 Workshop: Dr. Kieswetter and Dr. Khanwilkar: Research, product development, and manufacturing,verification and validation.

Feb. 13, 2017 Workshop: Dr. Khanwilkar, Dr. Kieswetter, and Dr. Evans: Financing the pathway; Project presentations and awards.

“I hope we will see participants sign up for this workshop series who are in roles beyond engineering and science,” Kieswetter said. “Not all of our employees (at Acelity) directly interact with patients and customers. Still, it is critical that every single department, be it finance, legal, manufacturing, research and technology, or some other function, understand how their role supports achieving our vision, including introducing new, innovative products to the market.”

Sponsors for The Health Cell workshop series include BioMedSA, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDC), Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF), San Antonio Medical Foundation, San Antonio Life Sciences Institute, InCubeLabs, Acelity, and UT Health Science Center.

“We look forward to continuing to support The Health Cell’s value proposition by providing innovative monthly programs that embrace each sector of the health care industry and that serve our participants by developing programs that elevate knowledge for professional and personal growth,” The Health Cell President Lori Haglund said.

Top image:  An example of a medical technology devices using interscatter communication for power-limited devices such as smart credit cards (left), implanted medical devices (middle), and smart contact lenses (right) to achieve Internet connectivity. Photo courtesy of Mark Stone, University of Washington.


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Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science and veteran affairs.