$550K available for prototype development through new MedTech Launch Fund

Wright State Applied Research Corporation program seeks to make it easier for medical technology research to develop into local companies

Applications are open for the MedTech Launch Fund, which aims to pump $550,000 into medtech startups across the Dayton region.

The MedTech Launch Fund will accelerate the development of medical technology opportunities in the Dayton region by funding alpha prototype development to validate and advance a technology’s commercial viability and move it toward commercialization through a startup company.

The MedTech Launch Fund is part of a new collaborative effort to align the Dayton region’s healthcare specialization, defense research assets and entrepreneurial ecosystem to spin out new medical technologies faster. The Launch Dayton partner organization of WSARC was awarded a $200,000 Technology Validation and Startup Fund grant from Ohio Third Frontier in July to launch this new initiative. The effort is also backed by $330,000 from the Economic Development Administration’s i6 program. WSARC’s Launch Dayton efforts are also supported by the Entrepreneurial Services Provider program, administered locally by The Entrepreneurs Center.

“WSARC is thrilled to create the region’s newest startup fund to push the region’s innovation to market,” said Dennis Andersh, WSARC CEO.

The time to market for medical technology is longer than other industries because it can take years to complete the necessary testing to meet regulatory standards. While the Dayton region is rich in R&D institutions, entrepreneurs who want to get those technologies out of the labs and into the healthcare system often lack necessary resources to build and test prototypes. The MedTech Launch Fund will provide gap funding to help regional medtech entrepreneurs build the prototypes they need to seek angel and pre-seed investment.

“We are thrilled to have a pre-seed financing vehicle of this size and flexibility to deploy,” said Andrew Cothrel, chair of the MedTech Launch Fund Selection Committee. “The Selection Committee is looking forward to this first round of applications at the beginning of the next chapter in Dayton’s rapidly developing medtech startup scene. This kind of pre-seed money is a scarce resource that can make a real difference to an entrepreneur and, some day, to the patients that benefit from their startup.”

Through the MedTech Launch Fund, up to $550,000 in grants will be competitively awarded to projects to perform validation activities such as prototyping, demonstration and assessment of critical failure points in subsequent development, scale-up and commercialization in order to generate proof of viability needed to move technologies into the hands of Ohio startup companies to take to market.

“MedTech” is defined broadly to include medical devices, diagnostics, imaging, patient monitoring, surgical tools, implants, therapies, supplements and medical foods, wellness, performance optimization, prevention, hygiene, life science research tools, therapeutic methods, health data mining and application of AI, healthcare delivery cost reduction and workflow / efficiency improvement, patient safety and all other aspects of technologies intended to protect, improve or otherwise optimize human health.

The fund will source technologies from two tracks:

  1. Technologies originating in the Air Force Research Laboratory, University of Dayton or Wright State University will be eligible for up to $400,000 in total awards. These technologies must have moved beyond basic research and already have intellectual property protections in place, such as a provisional or full patent application submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and / or trade secret protections in place. The technologies cannot already be licensed to a commercial partner. Each project is eligible for up to $75,000.
  2. Technologies originating outside of the three institutions and which are geographically located in or have significant ties to the eight-county greater Dayton region (Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Champaign, Preble, Shelby and Darke counties) will be eligible for up to $150,000 in total awards. Some level of intellectual property protection must be in place, and the concepts must be beyond basic research. Each project is eligible for up to $75,000.

Want a piece of the MedTech Launch Fund for your startup? Apply for the first round of funding at https://gust.com/programs/medtech-launch-fund by Sept. 30, 2020. Projects that fit the program will be invited to pitch to the selection committee in November. Notifications of acceptance into fund and project kickoff will be in December. Questions about the program can be directed to John Own, Launch Dayton program manager at john.owen@wright-research.org.

The MedTech Launch Fund is supported by Launch Dayton partner organizations, which includes WSARC. Launch Dayton is a collaborative effort to connect entrepreneurs to peers, resources and supporters, and to tell the stories of our region’s thriving startup community. Launch Dayton partners believe everyone, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to determine their own economic prosperity.

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