After 10 years of spurring development of new medical devices, a Boston nonprofit consortium of clinicians and engineers is exporting its business model to the United Kingdom.
The Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, known as CIMIT, says that it has formed its first international affiliate with a British sister organization called Manchester: Integrating Medicine and Innovative Technology, or MIMIT. The new group aims to do in Manchester, England, what CIMIT has done in Boston: encourage physicians and engineers from area institutions to tackle medical problems with a healthy dose of technology.
The Boston group has already provided grants and support to promising efforts to provide better technology to patients, such as the "operating room of the future." And the Mancunian affiliate will try to generate breakthroughs in medicine through a similar organizational model.
The members of CIMIT include such leading research hospitals as Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both in Boston, as well as the area's premier engineering institutions, like the MIT and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge. The member organizations contribute talent and technology to solve health-care problems with medical technology.
While MIMIT is just getting launched, CIMIT says it has been working with professionals there since 2006. Manchester, indeed, has some medical and engineering prowess of its own. MIMIT's membership features the University of Manchester, as well as leading hospitals in the northwestern England city such as Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, according to CIMIT.
CIMIT grants $2.1M to endoscope
Speaking of CIMIT-supported innovations, the group says that last month it made its largest-ever grant of $2.1 million for a national effort to perfect what is known as natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery, or simply NOTES.
The NOTES initiative studies the use of flexible endoscopes designed to enter the body through major orifices to assist in minimally invasive surgery. The grant from CIMIT is intended to be awarded over three years and would bring its total spending on the project to $3 million, according to the organization.
Some of the biggest names in medical devices have also pitched in to back NOTES, including Natick-based Boston Scientific Corp. and Covidien Ltd. (formerly Tyco Healthcare) of Mansfield, the latter of which has plugged $500,000 into the effort, CIMIT says.
Artisan partner wins Japanese drug OK
On the therapeutics front, Waltham biotech Artisan Pharma Inc. sees new opportunities with the market acceptance of its anti-clotting treatment in Japan -- even though Artisan wasn't the company to garner the approval.
Japanese drug firm Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp., which has licensed the protein drug to Artisan for outside of major Asian markets, won market approval of the drug for sales in Japan in January, according to Artisan. And while the other firm's big win lends credibility to the treatment in the United States, where Artisan seeks approval of the drug, CEO Jeffrey Wager said the clearance may bring his company some early revenue.
Wager said there are countries considered "secondary" markets, such as Israel, that accept drug approval from Japan without additional studies. Though Artisan won't seek such approvals alone, he said, it would be happy to sublicense the drug to companies in exchange for nondilutive investments and cash. He declined to reveal details on his discussions with potential sublicensees, however.
For now, Artisan is focusing its resources on a Phase 2 clinical trial involving 800 patients with a condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, which describes the rampant clotting that occurs in people with an inflammatory disease called sepsis.
In fact, Wager said, the biotech plans to add four workers to its lean staff of 16 people in the coming months to help support its large clinical trial, which he expects to wrap up in the first half of 2009. He had no estimate on when the firm would get final U.S. approval of the treatment.