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U.S. Biomedical Leaders Present Leaders on Capitol Hill with New National Strategy for Innovation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leaders within the U.S. biomedical device industry outlined a new strategy for global competitiveness, innovation and improved health care during a briefing today sponsored by the House Medical Technology Caucus.

Dr. Frank Douglas, president and CEO of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA), led a group of leaders from the corporate, academic and biomedical research sectors in describing "Value-driven Engineering" (VdE), an approach designed to enhance the development of devices that offer strong clinical utility, quality and cost efficiency for the entire healthcare system, and reduced complexity for the end user.  

"Value-driven Engineering will become a key component of the nation's drive to bolster its 'bioinnovation economy,' maintain global competitiveness within the $350 billion medical device industry and ensure access to device innovation that improves human health," Dr. Douglas told the audience that consisted of Congressional staff, healthcare representatives and thought leaders.

He was joined by Dr. Carl Schramm, president and CEO of The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Dr. Uday N. Kumar, founder of iRhythm Technologies Inc. and fellowship director of Global Biodesign at Stanford University; Mike Hess, vice president of Innovation Excellence at Medtronic; and Dr. Martha Gray, professor of Medical and Electrical Engineering, Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Congressional members hosting the briefing included caucus co-chairs Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Cal., and Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., as well as Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio.

In his remarks, Dr. Douglas referenced a white paper his group issued in June that introduced a unique blueprint to create medical devices that are simple in design and cost effective. The blueprint, "Platform to Advance Value-driven Engineering" (PAVE), was created to guide the nation's funding mechanisms, regulatory incentives, public-private collaboration and educational leadership to incorporate VdE principles into the U.S. biomedical device industry.

"We believe PAVE has the promise to marry American ingenuity and innovation to meet a great challenge of our generation: to create a dynamic new device industry strategy that leads to better, yet less expensive health care," Dr. Douglas said.

Dr. Schramm urged Congress to support "an extremely important effort to spur national innovation."

"The need to improve innovation outcomes is more important than ever given the state of the U.S. economy," he said. "We believe that this will be a tool to stimulate the bioinnovation economy, encouraging start ups and investments that will be fundamental to America's future economic growth."

Dr. Douglas and his colleagues initiated the effort around VdE in March, when they convened a national Safe Haven Summit in Washington, D.C. Industry-leading organizations including the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Orthopaedic Research Laboratories, Stanford University and The University of Akron participated.

To determine how best to implement the VdE approach nationwide, biomedical sector leaders will hold an industry summit in Akron, Ohio, in April. Hundreds of executives and researchers in the biomedical device sector are expected to attend to discuss VdE and how to apply it using the PAVE blueprint.

"To remain competitive, biomedical companies in the United States must begin to adopt Value-driven Engineering principles throughout their innovation processes," Dr. Kumar said during the briefing. "This will be one of the main ways for U.S. healthcare companies to continue to be at the forefront of medical device innovation, to maintain America's status of being a major net exporter of medical technologies, and to create jobs in various sectors, including engineering and manufacturing, across the United States."

Medtronic's Hess also spoke in favor of a new approach to biomedical innovation.

"I have seen the barriers to bringing new medical devices to market and witnessed the life-changing moment when a new therapy, once commercialized, is introduced to a patient in need and changes the way a disease is treated," Hess said. "PAVE integrates the best of American ingenuity and innovation."

Dr. Gray supported the role VdE could play in the nation's biomedical field.

"America is the leader in biotech innovation, and our graduates look forward to productive and lifelong careers in this industry," she said. "To maintain that leadership and opportunity, American engineers need to become world leaders in Value-driven Engineering."

(The white paper can be found at

About the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron

Based in Akron, Ohio, the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron – a unique collaboration of Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Summa Health System, The University of Akron and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – is focused on patient-centered innovation and commercialization at the intersection of biomaterials and medicine. The institute is focused on being a global leader in discovering, developing and commercializing biomaterial solutions for patients with orthopaedic and wound healing problems, nationally distinct in improving health outcomes of the medically underserved, and recognized for the use of simulation technologies to improve the education of the healthcare team. To learn more about the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, please visit

Media Contact:
Scott Rainone
ABIA Director of Communications

SOURCE Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron
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