Immunology and innovation

I have always loved science. As a kid, I collected bugs. As a college student, I shadowed doctors and studied autoimmune disease in the lab.

My difficulty in separating emotion from the practical side of medicine eventually compelled me to pivot away from the bedside to the bench and pursue a Ph.D. in immunology. The interdisciplinary nature of immunology had always intrigued me. The immune system plays a key role in human health, including cancer, wound healing, respiratory, gut health, or allergies. It’s connectivity to so many disciplines facilitates translation of discovery to the bedside.

While training as a post-doctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute, I was intrigued by the process of taking academic discovery to market. I was fortunate to secure hands-on exposure through an internship in the office responsible for commercializing Scripps’ discovery. Soon thereafter, I made the permanent jump from the bench to a position at City of Hope National Medical Center, in the Office of Technology Licensing. My colleagues and I were responsible for commercializing therapeutic, diagnostic, medical device and health care IT technologies developed by City of Hope’s clinicians and researchers from concept to market.

I was eventually presented with the opportunity to join the Cleveland Clinic Innovations group in support of their strategic alliance with Innovation Lab, a subsidiary of The Innovation Institute, which was building a technology incubator for community healthcare professionals. Innovation Lab is focused on launching new products and services that improve the health of the people in our communities and around the globe.

We source opportunities from innovators, including clinical and non-clinical staff, across six major health systems to bring transformative medical products to market. After spending years working in the academic technology transfer setting, I was intrigued by the opportunity to build a commercialization platform and ecosystem to support community healthcare professionals.

Today, I serve as the General Manager of Innovation Lab. In this role, I work with a great team to apply rigorous scientific method and discipline to drive health care innovation. I also use my understanding of the immune system to facilitate deployment of preventative care tools that can help people take better care of themselves.

Academia is filled with researchers trained in how to ask questions. Community health care is filled with thousands of intelligent, creative professionals who no longer accept the status quo. In the era of extreme cost sensitivity in health care, they are encouraged to ask, “Is there a better way?” This environment, where talented practitioners are facing the most pressing of health care’s unmet needs in delivering patient care, is ripe for truly disruptive innovation. We provide a venue for these innovators to bring their ideas and solutions they feel would work based on their practical bedside or operational experience.

Our job is to shepherd innovators through the gauntlet of turning their ideas into tangible solutions. This takes sound scientific, medical, and business acumen and a strong team. Innovation Lab’s team--of relationship managers, analysts, designers, engineers, intellectual property and commercialization professionals--works together and with our innovators in their quest to create and launch the next breakthroughs across the health care industry.

At Innovation Lab, we’re committed to providing a safe space for innovators to bring their ideas and collaborate with them to advance impactful products to market and improve health care.

About Ryan Kelly
Ryan Kelly, Ph.D., M.B.A., brings technical, intellectual property and licensing experience to the team, serving as General Manager of the Innovation Lab. Prior to joining the team, he worked as a Senior Manager in City of Hope’s Office of Technology Licensing, responsible for commercializing therapeutic, diagnostic, medical device and healthcare IT innovations developed by City of Hope’s clinicians and researchers, with a particular interest in start-up ventures and healthcare IT. Prior to City of Hope, Ryan worked in The Scripps Research Institute’s Office of Technology Development while training as a postdoctoral fellow in immunology. At Scripps, he was primarily responsible for performing due diligence and market assessments for select technologies in the portfolio. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, his Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Minnesota, and his B.S. in biochemistry from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Ryan actively participates in a number of national and regional industry groups as an invited speaker and mentor. He enjoys shepherding innovation from concept to commercialization in an effort to maximize delivery of high quality health care for all.

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