For Immediate Release: October 17, 2013

Partners HealthCare and its founding hospitals, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will form the Boston-Biomedical Innovation Center with a $12 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The seven-year grant will help accelerate the process by which scientific discoveries are translated into commercially viable products that can improve patient care and advance public health. The grant -- one of only three of its kind in the entire nation -- will also enable Harvard Medical School (HMS) to educate researchers throughout the region on best practices in the field of medical commercialization.

“This grant represents a unique collaboration between government, academic medical centers, venture capital and industry,” said Anne Klibanski, MD, Chief Academic Officer at Partners HealthCare. “This effort will ensure that many of the most compelling scientific advances at Mass General and Brigham and Women’s will rapidly lead to new drugs, devices, and diagnostic tools that can help improve – and even save – the lives of patients everywhere.”

The grants are intended to fund the creation of NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAIs), funded by the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The initial NCAIs will target technologies to improve the diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders and diseases. Cleveland Clinic and the University of California were the only other centers in the nation to receive grant funding.

“The NCAIs will foster a transformational change in the way basic science discoveries move from the laboratory into commercial products,” said Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of NHLBI. “These centers essentially will offer a one-stop shop to accelerate the translation of early-stage technologies for further development by the private sector and ultimate commercialization. As a result, the public will gain access sooner to new biomedical products that improve human health while also benefiting from the economic growth associated with the creation of new companies and the expansion of existing ones.”

NCAIs will provide an integrated, systematic, and comprehensive approach to navigating the translation of early stage biomedical innovations from the research laboratory to commercial development and successful deployment to patients. Each center will be a consortium of academic, government, non-profit, and private sector organizations that will provide funding for feasibility studies; regulatory, legal, and business development expertise; and entrepreneurial training and mentorship.

Partners HealthCare’s Research, Ventures and Licensing (RVL), the organization's corporate venturing arm, will provide leadership to the consortium and coordinate all of the commercialization efforts as part of the new initiative.

“As clinicians and researchers, innovation is at the core of what we do,” said Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the Boston-based NCAI and chairman of the Department of Medicine at BWH. “Through the Boston-Biomedical Innovation Center, we will bring together some of the brightest and most creative minds in the area to harness the power of our community and push forward the life-giving breakthroughs and technologies that empower our clinicians to deliver compassionate and high-quality care to our patients and their families.”

"The development of a more robust translational research program and forging closer collaborations with industry and nearby academic institutions are cornerstones of the emerging strategic plan we are developing for research at MGH,” said Harry W. Orf, PhD Senior Vice President for Research at MGH. “ The opportunity to participate in this new innovation center will facilitate the realization of our strategic objectives and foster relationships that will dramatically reduce the time it takes for scientific discovery to impact the practice of medicine."

In addition to BWH, MGH and HMS, other consortium participants include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Boston University, Draper Laboratory, Northeastern University, and the Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare System.

“NIH and NHLBI have long been committed to supporting resources that enable pre-clinical studies,” said Dr. Jodi Black, deputy director of the Division of Extramural Research Activities, NHLBI. “This landmark program will help NHLBI derive maximum benefit from its existing research and development investments and ensure that the resulting breakthrough innovations move rapidly and effectively into available products that reduce the health burden of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders and diseases.”

According to NHLBI’s Fact Book for the 2012 fiscal year, in 2009, the estimated economic cost for cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases was $424 billion—23 percent of the total economic costs of illness, injuries, and death in the United States. In addition, cardiovascular and lung diseases accounted for three of the four leading causes of death in the United States and four of the 10 leading causes of infant death.