M2D2 helps great ideas become commercial products UMass medical device collaboration eases the journey from inventor to entrepreneur
By Sandra GrayUMass Medical School Communications
UMass and M2D2 leaders convened at the recent M2D2 Open House in Lowell. Pictured left to right are Steven Tello, EdD, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at UMass Lowell; Kurt Barringhaus, MD; UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, JD; University of Massachusetts President Robert L. Caret, PhD; Sheila Noone, PhD; and Stephen McCarthy, PhD.
“Our successful collaborations have yielded important products,” said Sheila Noone, PhD, assistant vice provost for clinical research at UMass Medical School who, along with Stephen McCarthy, PhD, professor of plastics engineering at UMass Lowell, is co-director of M2D2. “M2D2 connects people with the right UMass resources for development of their idea—and is sometimes a necessary reality check for them as they learn about the regulatory and clinical pathways.”
Inventions whose journeys from concept to market are being assisted by M2D2 include a miniature blood pressure sensor for invasive cardiovascular monitoring, improved ergonomic scalpel designs, innovation in automated assessment of microbiopsies, and new technology to determine rates of fracture healing.
UMMS faculty member Raymond Dunn, MD, (right) and business partner Anthony Raymond launched 5G Medical to develop and market Dr. Dunn’s patented ergonomic scalpel design with assistance from M2D2.
One of the start-up companies benefiting from M2D2 resources is 5G Medical, founded by Raymond Dunn, MD, professor of surgery and chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at UMass Memorial, and business partner Anthony Raymond. Started with a $54,000 seed grant from M2D2 to produce a prototype ergonomic scalpel based on Dr. Dunn’s already-patented design, 5G Medical is now developing a business plan and seeking additional grant funding with further assistance from M2D2’s marketing experts and two summer interns funded by the MLSC. “M2D2 is an innovative entity that has filled a critical link in the process,” said Dunn.
While M2D2 welcomes any medical device entrepreneur, its success as a conduit between campuses has spawned collaborations between UMass faculty inventors with overlapping interests. In one example, UMMS cardiologist Kurt Barringhaus, MD, and Xingwei Wang, PhD, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMass Lowell teamed up to create a miniature intra-arterial blood pressure sensor that will help avoid unnecessary angioplasties, with the goal of cutting costs while improving cardiac care. Other UMMS faculty and clinicians involved with M2D2 include John J. Wixted, MD, assistant professor of orthopedics & physical rehabilitation; Andrew Fischer, MD, professor of pathology and cell biology; Babs Soller, PhD, professor of anesthesiology and surgery; Joyoni Dey, PhD, assistant professor of radiology; and Matthew Gounis, PhD, assistant professor of radiology.
In May, M2D2 welcomed visitors to an open house held at its newly renovated incubator facility in Lowell. Occupying 9,000 square feet, the new facility offers six wet laboratory suites, two office suites, large office spaces, a board room and reception area as well as a break room and open space.
Like the companies it has helped, the new space is concrete evidence of the past success and future promise of M2D2. Noone, who believes that M2D2 helped UMMS win its five-year, $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health, also points to the upcoming CTSA-funded infrastructure improvements at UMMS as yet another resource for M2D2 participants.
“Federal and state government want to foster a culture of innovation between the basic and clinical sciences via interdisciplinary work across UMass campuses,” said Noone. “We are demonstrating that we can grow biomedical companies and jobs in Massachusetts.”
UMass awards technology development grants Newsmaker: Guiding cardiac diagnoses Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) CTSA News Archive