CMTI Seminar Series: Greg Gdowski, Ph.D.
Innovation Deconstructed: Recipes for Incubating Academic Technologies into Commercialization
Research Fellow, Blue Highway, Syracuse
The worldâs first business incubator, The Batavia Industrial Center (BIC), recently celebrated 50 years of business development and job creation in Upstate NY. Given that the fundamental concepts and process of incubation have evolved over 50 years, a primary question is how to establish an incubator that can survive and succeed in todayâs economy? The question becomes even more critical in incubating medical technologies that must endure the completion of clinical trials and acquisition of FDA approval. For new incubators, it is no longer sufficient to implement a typical process of translation. In Rochester, the highest likelihood of success implements a strategy that optimally ties the unique academic environment at the University of Rochester with the diverse scope of corporate biotechnology in Upstate NY.
Innovation desconstruction is a term that I coined for the process by which I evaluated my collective experiences in the academic and corporate communities to create a vision and strategy for a new incubator in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. In 2010, I left the University of Rochester to join Blue Highway, a medical device incubator located on the campus at Syracuse University. What sets Blue Highway apart from its peers is its relationship to Welch Allyn, a leading manufacturer of front-line care diagnostic tools. The strategy is straight forward. Identify, pursue, and develop novel break-through and disruptive medical devices conceived in the academic environment that can be delivered through the product pipeline of Welch Allyn. While at Blue Highway I have had the opportunity to execute this mission in several areas including: early detection methods for Alzheimerâs Disease, noninvasive methods for evaluating blood glucose levels, novel OCT applications in otoscopy and ophthalmology, and novel antimicrobial polymers. In this presentation, I will discuss successes and failures during the process of translating concepts conceived in the academic environment into the product pipeline of large biotechnically-oriented companies. These collective experiences have been used to create a novel recipe for incubating academic technologies into commercialization that is specifically tailored to the University of Rochester and the Medical Device and Biotechnology corporate community in Upstate NY.