What are the top three components needed to build a best-in-breed medical technology innovation and investment ecosystem? According to Chair of the T3 Labs Advisory Board and Executive Director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) Tiffany Wilson, Atlanta has all three and then some.
1. Technical Talent – Atlanta is swarming with it.
As one of the largest centers of higher education in the country, Atlanta is swarming with engineering and tech talent. Atlanta is home to Georgia Tech, Southern Poly, GSU and more than 10 other institutions of higher ed. The remarkable people studying, researching and teaching at these institutions are highly skilled engineers who provide not only the technical solutions need to build game changing medical technology innovation, they are in many cases the ideators and innovators themselves.
2. Clinicians (and patients) – Atlanta has plenty of those, too.
Home to more than 20 hospitals (thanks in part to the sadly persistent unhealthy lifestyle of many southerners), Atlanta provides access to more than enough clinicians and patients needed to support the multiple stages of medical technology innovation and development. The engineering expertise described above plus a leading medical school like Emory University’s creates a powerful combination.
Medtech innovation is born from collaborations between engineers and the clinical community who have first hand knowledge and pain points that affect hospital efficiency and patient outcomes.
3. The connectors and collaborators – Atlanta excels at tying people and resources together.
The Atlanta Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech has historically been an entrepreneurial resource enabling academics at Georgia Tech and area clinicians to collaborate. CardioMEMS, a company that did their preclinical testing with T3 Labs, was acquired by St. Jude Medical for a reported sum of more than $450 million. Cardiomems came out of a lab at ATDC in collaboration with doctors from Piedmont Healthcare.
As Atlanta demonstrates efficient medical product development and leverages available resources to get the tech into clinics with commercial validation, we will start to attract more investors creating a larger medtech industry ecosystem.
What we have now is an evolution of that where ATDC handles many industries. GCMI and ATDC collaborate closely on medtech to leverage our collective experiences and networks in the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem and move them into the medtech innovation.
Atlanta has as much, if not more, ability on the front end of collaborative effort and infrastructure required to support efficient “concept to first-in-man studies” as any medtech ecosystem in the United States. When you add in the regional resources that SEMDA brings between Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham, Greensville, Memphis and beyond, the academic resources, healthcare systems, deal flow, unique assets and personal connection, we are more able to know and regularly support each other. Other cities are much more isolated and less prone to collaboration beyond their city limits.
The short of it: Atlanta excels at tying people and resources together. The goal: increasing the speed to market for medical device innovators and investors.
4. Lifestyle – connectivity, collaboration and the #2 city in the country for millennials.
Boston, San Diego, the Bay Area and other locales where medical technology innovation currently thrives is due in large part to a hefty pool of investors. While Atlanta has some work to do to catch up in capital investments in medtech outside of health IT (where Atlanta leads), the volume of investors and the quantity of dollars being invested in medtech companies is growing and is likely to continue to do so.
When you add a non-siloed, congenial, collaborative business environment along with superior access to the rest of the world via Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and other factors that make Atlanta the #2 city in the country for millennials according to money.com, Atlanta is a hidden gem for medical technology innovation and investment.
Talk to T3 Labs about your preclinical medical device testing and training needs.