Consortium Led by UMD and Children's National Health System Awards $250K for Pediatric Medical Devices

The National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation, led by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System and the University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering, has announced plans to award $250,000 to individuals and companies seeking to commercialize medical devices for use in children.

"The biggest challenge is that because the market is so small, pediatric medical devices have not received the same attention as in the adult world," Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD, executive director of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, told Medical Device Daily (MDD).

The Consortium seeks to “address a significant yet unmet need within the pediatric population,” Eskandanian said.

Investors typically shy away from pediatric medical device innovation because of the small market.  The Consortium hopes to change that by offering the award, which is part of the FDA Pediatric Device Consortia grant program. The program is designed to help innovators and entrepreneurs obtain funding to initiate product concepts for commercialization, and not only research.

This is the first year that the Consortium is announcing the funding opportunity as it only recently joined the FDA Pediatric Device Consortia. The award will give up to five projects $50,000 each to bring their technology to life.

“We are also working hard to build the device-related ecosystem within our Capital region by linking stakeholders, including engineers in the Clark School of Engineering and many other regional academic institutions, with physicians and researchers in clinical environments. This program promises to have a significant impact,” said co-principal investigator William Bentley, Chair of the University of Maryland’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering.

“This is just a start,” Eskandanian. “We are in this infancy stage, where we are really trying hard to demonstrate the importance of pediatric medical devices to improve the health of children.”

The FDA Pediatric Device Consortia program is seeking proposals from inventors in medical institutions, private practices, the business community, and academic researchers who have medical device concepts or ideas for use with pediatric patients.

The program places special emphasis on helping bridge the gap that often follows the prototyping phase, as the promising medical device must also be manufactured, cleared by the FDA, marketed, and sold.

“If not for the FDA’s pediatric device consortia initiative, even this small seed funding would not have been available,” Eskandanian said.

“Although it’s not a requirement, FDA prefers to fund projects that are in the later stages of development,” Eskandanian. “The ultimate goal for FDA and the pediatric device consortia is to bring a product to market. That’s the ultimate objective and goal, so therefore it becomes more important to fund projects that are in the later stages of development.”

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Published January 16, 2014