Georgia Tech, hospital invest $20M in pediatric devices and treatments

Two major players in Atlanta's academic and healthcare communities are upping their collective investment toward developing new medical devices and treatments specifically for children.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle writes about their effort--a new $20 million research partnership between Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Institute of Technology, with plans calling for developing medical devices specific for pediatric care. The money actually helps pay for new researchers, who will focus on the device area, as well as regenerative medicine and nanomedical research, according to the story.

Collaborations like this can take years to produce results, but there is a need for new pediatric devices. Earlier this year, U.S. Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) introduced a bill that would reauthorize a 2007 law they co-authored, establishing a grant program to encourage the quicker development of pediatric devices, plus med device products that help children with rare conditions.

The medical device industry hasn't disagreed with the need, but it has opposed the way regulators have tried to address it. In 2010, for example, the FDA established a rule that would mandate companies to include pediatric information in certain premarket applications, even if the device is only intended for adults. Regulators pulled the rule after an industry uproar, which said the regulatory process stymied companies that want to develop devices for pediatric use by not recognizing the challenges involved in making devices for "widely dispersed and small pediatric populations."

Children's Healthcare will put in $10 million for the partnership, and Georgia Tech will match the funds, the story notes. Importantly, the deal is part of a larger three-way partnership between Children's, Georgia Tech and Emory University, focused on developing medical devices, technology, new drugs and treatments surrounding cardiovascular disease, oncology and neuroscience.

- read the Atlanta Business Chronicle story