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Two Ohio groups team up to accelerate development of future medical devices

By: Tim Magaw
CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS

April 22, 2014

The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron and Cleveland-based design specialists Nottingham Spirk announced a strategic partnership that the two organizations say will accelerate the rate of commercialization of biomedical devices and products.

As part of the arrangement, ABIA will provide its team of medical device, regulatory and biomaterials experts to help test the usability of Nottingham Spirk-designed products, and to help guide those products through the complex federal approval process.

“I see a great potential for synergy between our two organizations, leveraging our individual capabilities to ultimately create great products that make a substantial impact on patient care and its delivery,” said John Spirk, co-founder of Nottingham Spirk, in a news release. “Together, we can enhance business competitiveness, quality, cost-effectiveness, and productivity, while expanding offerings to new markets.”

Nottingham Spirk has worked on a series of medical device projects, ranging from large scale radiation therapy machines to bedside urine collection systems.

ABIA recently announced a new strategy centered on offering its services medical device and advance materials companies, health care systems, companies interested in entering medical markets, individual inventors and entrepreneurs, as well as colleges and universities.

In addition, two of ABIA’s founding members — Akron General Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University — recently pulled out of the partnership but said they would continue to work on individual projects on a fee-for-service basis. The University of Akron, Summa Health System and Akron Children’s Hospital remain heavy funders.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation fueled the launch of the institute with a seven-year, $20 million grant in 2008, but that funding expires this year. The organization is in discussions with the foundation about future support.

Stephen Fening and Rob Ngungu of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron will cover medical device development acceleration as part of their panel discussion at Plastics in Medical Devices, coming up May 6-8 at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland. Register now at www.plasticsnews.com/pmd2014