Cleveland Clinic to take bigger bets on building out tech innovations

Cleveland Clinic's Innovations arm recently took a several hundred thousand-dollar bet on turning a physician's idea into a marketable product. Such a move is rare, but hesitation to invest in innovation build outs may be a thing of the past for the health system, Crain's Cleveland Business reports.

This is due in large part to Cleveland Clinic's efforts to remove the risk that accompanies carrying an idea from inception to funding to production, which for new technologies struggling to gain a foothold is sometimes referred to as the valley of death, according to Crain's Cleveland Business.

Cleveland Clinic used the development of a product based on a 2014 joint patent with Japan-based manufacturer Yokowo as an opportunity to experiment with making tech innovations more reliably scalable and marketable.

That patent entailed a coronary guidewire that was more flexible and had better torque, among other features, than comparable technologies on the market at that time. By targeting the FDA's medical device approval process, helped along by Cleveland Clinic Innvation's senior director of product development, Kelly Emerton, who had previous experience carrying products from development to FDA approval, Innovations was able to develop and test its guidewire more efficiently.

Both Yokowo and Cleveland Clinic spent a combined $1.5 million on the "Whitlow Wire" final product, named for the physician who invented it, interest from medical device manufacturers will likely make it a worthwhile investment, Peter O'Neill, interim director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, told Cleveland Business.

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